Apollo Sound II
Apollo Sound II
Roberto Roena is probably the most famous bongo player in salsa. He has released many records as a leader of his own group, the Apollo Sound, and has been an integral part of the Fania All Stars since Jerry Masucci asked him to join the orchestra in 1971. Cuts such as “Cui Cui” and “Coco Seco” ensure that he will always be remembered as one of the kings of salsa. Fans of the Fania Rare Groove series will find in his early albums an interesting glimpse into Roena's aesthetic - a distinctly Puerto Rican, not Nuyorican, attempt at fusing mainstream American music with a Latin sensibility. Apollo Sound 2 is the rarest of those albums. We are proud to reissue it. Originally a dancer, Roena got his first break as a member of Rafael Cortijo’s group. After Cortijo migrated to New York, Roena joined El Gran Combo and remained with the band until the late '60s. It was at that point that he formed the Apollo Sound. Although he had already made an album as a leader in 1966 for Alegre Records, this was the first time that he had his own working band with a unique sound of its very own. Speaking to Mary Kent, the bongosero explained that his musicians were into rock and Latin music. The peculiar horn section of two trumpets, a trombone and tenor sax was influenced by bands like Chicago and Blood, Sweat & Tears. He also explained that this unusual mix could not remain together for long. While it did, however, it sounded great - particularly within a live context. The album was recorded during February and March of 1970 at Trans Recording Studio in Santurce, Puerto Rico. It found the band taking a step forward from its debut album in terms of the power and confidence of the performances. The Apollo's take on Santana’s “Shades Of Time” is fantastic. “Let It Rain” boasts an amazing R&B groove that sounds ahead of its time both in American and Latino terms, but the whole orchestra is firing on all cylinders with it. “Puerto Rican Blues” has a mighty jazz groove, whereas “Apollo Special” mixes jazz and Latin rhythms to great effect. When it was released, it was clear that the record company felt that the American angle was not the way to go in promoting Roberto and the Apollo Sound. The Latin tracks of the album were selected as its three singles. The first one coupled “Chotorro” with “El Barrio Sin Guapo,” followed by “Te Le Voy A Jurar”/“Yo Soy Candelón” and “Mandigore”/"Tani.” The band was starting to get press attention in Puerto Rico and they gained attention in the U.S. as they started to perform there regularly. Even though non-Latin rhythms would still be employed on subsequent Apollo Sound recordings, the intense fusion of these two sounds would cease after Apollo Sound 2. Not necessarily a bad thing, considering that the salsa that followed was astounding and we can still enjoy the brilliant fusions that make up the band's first two albums. Liner Notes written by Dean Rudland
Fania is pleased to announce the release of HAMMOCK HOUSE: SANTIAGO SESSIONS on August 25, the newest installment in their highly-regarded “Hammock House” remix series, produced and mixed by internationally renowned LA-based producer and DJ, Jose Marquez. The iconic entertainment brand, which has evolved from a legendary NYC-based music label to an innovative and digitally-driven global music, entertainment and lifestyle company, is known worldwide for their work with influential DJs, and one of the best examples is their highly-regarded ‘Hammock House’ series.
Stemming from an idea that originated at the Manana Festival in Santiago de Cuba two years ago, Marquez fuses his love for dynamic Afro-Cuban and Caribbean flavors on SANTIAGO SESSIONS with classic Fania tracks from icons such as Hector Lavoe, Ray Barretto, Tito Puente and Celia Cruz. Standout tracks include “Aguanile,” the iconic song from Fania legends Willie Colon and Hector Lavoe which first appeared on the album El Juicio in 1972, for which Marquez enlisted noted musicians Bobby Wilmore and Lazaro Galarraga, who specialize in Afro-Cuban percussion, to perform on congas and bata drums. Another showstopper on the release is “Herencia Africana,” which was composed by Javier Vazquez and recorded by the legendary Celia Cruz and Sonora Matancera on the album Feliz Encuentro, released in 1982. In the song, Cruz talks about her African Heritage/influence, so Marquez brought in US-based musicians originally from Mali to perform and emphasize the African elements of the song, using a djembe instead of congas and a Balafon which is a traditional African version of a marimba/xylophone.
Fania launched the groundbreaking ‘Hammock House’ series in 2011 with the release of its first acclaimed compilation from the celebrated producer/DJ Joe Claussell entitled ‘Hammock House Africa Caribe.’ With each thematic installment, Fania has teamed up with innovative DJ/producers such as Louie Vega, Toy Selectah and The Whiskey Barons, providing them with access to Fania's treasure vaults and the original multitrack master tapes from recordings by classic artists to create fresh takes on Fania’s musical legacy to introduce to new generations of fans.
1. Celia Cruz - Un Bembe Pa Yemaya (Jose Marquez Remix)
Congas: Bobby Wilmore, Lazaro Galarraga
Bata Drums: Bobby Wilmore, Lazaro Galarraga
2. Ray Barretto - Indestructible (Jose Marquez Remix)
Piano: Claudio Passavanti
Bass: Claudio Passavanti
Congas: Ismel Wignall
Saxophone: Elias Perez
Joaquin "Joe" Claussell
|African Fantasy (Joaquin Joe Claussell Remix)|
|Undeniable Love (Joaquin Joe Claussell Remix)|
|Mambo Mongo (Joaquin Joe Claussell Remix)|
|Chango (Joaquin Joe Claussell Remix)|
|Lucumi (Joaquin Joe Claussell Remix)|
|Exodus (Joaquin Joe Claussell Remix)|
|O Mi Shango (Joaquin Joe Claussell Remix)|
|Mi Congo Te Llama (Joaquin Joe Claussell Remi|
|Me Voy Ahora (Joaquin Joe Claussell Remix)|