Released 2000

Leopard Music 001

Produced by Rafael "Ray" Martinez

Available at Descarga

1. Cinco A Diez 5:57 (J. M. Martinez)
2. This Moment 5:54 (J. M. Martinez)
3. Luna Cha-Cha 4:01 (C. Chooljian)
4. Simplemente Complicada 5:51 (R. Martinez)
5. Surrender 5:19 (J. Holiday)
6. Montuno Street 5:05 (R. Martinez)
7. Batman And Spiderman 7:05 (J. M. Martinez)
8. Besitos De Coco 6:53 (J. M. Martinez)
9. Thanks For The Mambo 3:20 (C. Chooljian)

Arrangements by P. Lyons (1,2,4), C. Chooljian (3,9), J. Holiday (5), J. Melendez (6), Azabache (7), J. Alford and P. Lyons (8).

Among other things, this album is notable for a brand new Salsa band releasing their material without a backing of established recording company behind it. This practice is now quite common but not back in 2000, and one can say that this album left quite an impact and a lasting impression. As far as I can tell, this is the only album ever released by this band (from the San Francisco Bay area led by the two Martinez brothers) or the record label.

Four songs made list - Cinco A Diez, This Moment, Montuno Street and Besitos De Coco.


Rafael "Ray" Martinez / Conga, Bongos, Timbales, Bells, Chorus
Jose "Manny" Martinez / Lead Vocals, Chorus
Cherie "Leopard" Chooljian / Keyboards, Lead Vocals on "Surrender"
Joe Holiday / Bass, Keyboard solo on "Surrender"
Abel Figueroa / Trombones
Roberto Quintana / Timbales on "Luna Cha-Cha", Bongos on "Surrender"
Roman "Ito" Carillo / Bongo solo on "Montuno Street", Guiro and Pandera on "Batman and Spiderman"

The Har-You Percussion Group

Original Release 1969

Digital Restoration from original pressings 1995

Cubop CBCD 0002

Produced by Montego Joe

Available at Ubiquity Records, Descarga, Amazon, etc

1. Feed Me Good 2:35 (Nick Kirksey)
2. Barrets Bag 4:46 (David Edmead)
3. Ngoma 6:02 (Montego Joe)
4. Oua-Train 5:28 (Montego Joe, Nelson Sanamiago)
5. Welcome To The Party 4:03 (Nick Kirksey)
6. Santa Cruz 5:58 (Dennis Tait, Antonio Santa Cruz)
7. Tico 7:31 (David Edmead)

This one has an interesting history. A government-planned program called "Harlem Youth Opportunities Unlimited" led to a Conga player Montego Joe to teach Afro-Jazz percussion to a group of black youth of Harlem. After 3-4 years of training, they decided to record an album with the young musicians in this program - aged 16 to 19 years at the time of the recording.

In the Salsa dance community, this group is well-known in large part thanks to Frankie Martinez's choreography to songs in this album. Welcome To The Party is by far the best known song and is anthologized in a number of Jazz compilations. Somewhat less known is that other songs, such as Barrets Bag and Oua-Train have been incorporated into Abakua shows by Frankie Martinez.

My favorite song of the album is Tico, which is played at Cha Cha speed. Most other songs with danceable beat are of ultra fast category.


Myles Matthews / Bongos, Timbales
Gordon "Spider" Jones / Timbales
Samuel "Seguito" Turner / Conga, Timbales
Billy King / Conga
Antonio Santa Cruz / Cowbell, Vocals
Andre Strobert / Drums
John Moody / Electric Bass
Dennis Tait / Guitar
David "Mousie" Edmead / Piano
Nick Kirksey / Piano, Vocals
Joseph Jimenez / Clave
Nelson Sanamiago / Alto Sax
Stafford Osborne Jr / Trumpet
Joffre Marchand / Trumpet
Allen Ray / Flute

Grupo Caribe - Somos Caribenos

Released 2007

CMS 0056

Produced by Louis Bauzo

Available at CDBaby, Descarga

1. Saludando 4:32 (Juan "Paye" Rodriguez)
2. El Rey 4:34 (Juan "Paye" Rodriguez)
3. Homenaje A Los Bailadores 4:26 (Juan "Paye" Rodriguez)
4. Somos Caribenos 5:57 (Alfredo "Male" Torres)
5. Bobby Capo 5:11 (Juan "Paye" Rodriguez)
6. Tambo La Rumba 4:19 (Lino Iglesia)
7. Negro De Sociedad 5:46 (D.R.)
8. Bongo 4:20 (Chino "Melao" De Jesus)
9. A La Buena De Dios 6:06 (Chino "Melao" De Jesus & Pablo Canti)
10. La Comparsa De Los Rumberos 5:06 (Juan "Paye" Rodriguez)

Arrangements by Sergio Rivera (1), Jose Madera (2,7), Ray Santos (3,5,10), David Forestier (4), Oscar Hernandez (6), Jose Febles (8), Gil Lopez (9).

This album is a strong candidate for the best of 2007. I think almost all of the material is original composition.

Most of the medium-speed danceable songs have Luisito Ayala (of Direct Latin Influence) at lead vocals - Somos Caribenos, Tambo La Rumba, Negro De Sociedad. Herman Olivera sings the other medium-speed song A La Buena De Dios.


Sergio Rivera / Leader, Piano
Louis Bauzo / Conga, Bongo, Bombo, Cowbell
David Forestier / Timbales
Ruben Rodriguez / Bass
Willie Cintron / Bass
Al Acosta / Tenor Sax and Flute
Pete Miranda / Baritone Sax
Roberto Rodriguez Jr / Trumpet
Raul Navarrette / Trombone
Luisito Ayala, Herman Olivera, Liza Bauzo / Chorus
Luisito Ayala / Lead Vocals (1,4,5,6,7)
Herman Olivera / Lead Vocals (3,5,8,9)
Tito Allen / Lead Vocals (2)

Direct Latin Influence - DLI II

Released 2005

DLI Music

Produced by David Chamberlain

Available at CDBaby, Descarga

1. Pepe Antonio 5:20 (J. Ledo)
2. A Mi Que 3:41 (Jesus Guerra)
3. Tracionera 6:55 (Jose Lado)
4. Besitos De Coco 4:01 (Ismael Rivera)
5. Lagrimas Negras 6:46 (Miguel Matamoros)
6. Bolero Medley 6:14
- Siempre Estas En Mi Corazon (Ernesto Lecuona)
- Abrazame Asi (Mario Clavel)
7. La-La-La 5:46 (Jose Curbelo)
8. La Enganadora 5:19 (Enrique Jorrin)
9. El Negrito Del Batey 3:20 (M. Guzman)
10. Clavelitos 4:08 (Cadenas & Valverde)
11. Tatalibaba 4:42 (F. Santana)

All arrangements by David Chamberlain (except possibly David Chamberlain and Ray Martinez (9))

DLI is an acronym for the first names of trombonist David Chamberlain, vocalist Luisito Ayala and pianist Igor Atalita.

The highlight is the instant classic La-La-La, which made list. Lagrimas Negras may be worthwhile as a dance track with the long intro cut off.


David Chamberlain / Leader, Trombone, Flute, Bass Trumpet
Luisito Ayala / Lead Vocals, Chorus, Guiro, Cua, Maracas
Igor Atalita / Piano
Ray Martinez / Bass, Chorus, Guiro
Walter Reyes / Conga, Bongos, Bomba Drums, Chorus
Edwin Vega / Timbales
Marshall Gilkes / Trombone

Jose Curbelo - Live At The China Doll In New York 1946

plus hits from 1952-1954

Compilation released 1995

Tumbao Cuban Classics

Available at Amazon, Descarga, etc

1. Rumba Gallega 0:44 (Curbelo-Audinot-Puente)
2. Botamos La Pelota 3:35 (Silvio Contreras)
3. Bruca Manigua 3:09 (Arsenio Rodriguez)
4. Esto Es Lo Ultimo 3:57 (J. Blanco Suazo)
5. Summertime 2:30 (George Gershwin)
6. Repica El Timbal 2:33 (Tito Puente)
7. Deuda 3:20 (Luis Marquetti)
8. Babalu 2:34 (Margarita Lecuona)
9. Rumba Gallega 1:10 (Curbelo-Audinot-Puente)
10. La-La-La 2:27 (Jose Curbelo)
11. Poco Pelo 2:31 (Antonio Sanchez)
12. Guaguanco En New York 2:45 (Barreto Sangroni)
13. Rendezvous 2:30 (Santos Colon)
14. Telarana 2:30 (Rosendo Ruiz Jr)
15. Sun Sun Babae 2:17 (R. Martinez)
16. Guayaba 2:18 (E. Ortiz)
17. Que Se Funan 2:59 (Luis Martinez Grinan)
18. Eque Tumbao 2:38 (Jose Moran)
19. Cha Cha Cha In Blue 2:50 (F.P. Lara)
20. La Familia 3:07 (Jose Curbelo Sr)
21. Rico Y Sabroso 2:26 (Felix Reyna)

Arrangements by Jose Curbelo (13,16,19,20), Tito Puente (18).

Tracks 1-9 by Jose Curbelo and his orchestra (recorded live at the China Doll 1946)
Tracks 10-18 by Jose Curbelo and his orchestra (recorded 1952-1953)
Tracks 19-21 by Jose Curbelo Quintet (recorded 1954)

This is a fun one to listen throughout. The highlights are the bonus recordings from 1952-1954. The live recordings are interesting for historical reasons more than for sonic reasons.

Two songs (Eque Tumbao, La Familia) made list as Salsa. Three songs (Telarana, Guayaba, Cha Cha Cha In Blue) made list as Cha Cha.

Musicians (partial list):

Jose Curbelo / Piano
Alberto "Mazorca" Armenteros / Trumpet solos (10,14,17)
Robertico / Trumpet solos (20)
Conga / Ray Barretto (19,20,21)
Tito Puente / Timbales (1-9)
Tito Rodriguez / Lead Vocals (2-8)
Tony Molina / Lead Vocals (10,11,12,15,16,18)
Santos Colon / Lead Vocals (13,14,17,18)
Mon Rivera / Lead Vocals (20)
Vitin Aviles / Lead Vocals (21)
Yayo "El Indio" / Chorus (14,17)

Rey Reyes - 12 Super Exitos

Compilation of recordings from late 1970s to early 1990s?

Released 1996

Rey Reyes Records

Available at Descarga

1. Pa' Borohol 5:16
2. La Libertad 4:33
3. El Divorcio 7:10
4. Vampira 4:14
5. Ven Mi Mora 7;38
6. Son Malas 5:38
7. No Es Lo Mismo 6:38
8. Patios Batelles Y Callejones 5:44
9. Llevare Candela 4:56
10. Dulcinea 4:21
11. Los Santos De Macoris 4:30
12. Morena 6:43

Songs 1,2,4,9 composed by Rey Reyes (pending accuracy of my translation).

There is not much information on Rey Reyes to be found in the internet at this point, and the liner notes in Spanish is only mildly helpful since I'm not fluent in Spanish. What I can gather is that Rey Reyes with his orchestra released his first album in 1976. The material compiled in this album seems to be from six albums. Two of the albums were collaboration with well-known Tres player Charlie Rodriguez - titled simply Charlie Rodriguez Y Su Orquesta (canta: Rey Reyes) and Charlie Rodriguez y Rey Reyes. The other four albums are solo efforts - titled Vampira, El Rey, El Clavo, and La Libertad. My best guess is that all of these albums were released prior to 1994.

Six songs in this compilation made list. These are Pa' Borohol, La Libertad, Vampira, Son Malas, Los Santos De Macoris and Morena. I never had the opportunity to dance to any of these songs since I'm the only one around who seems to have and play these songs, and I think these songs are fine - aside from Los Santos De Macoris, which I think might be problematic.

Jose Alberto "El Canario" - Herido (Heartbreak)

Released 1999


Produced by Jose Alberto "El Canario"

Available at Amazon, Descarga, etc

1. Me Dejo Picao 4:41 (Amaury Gutierres, Raul De Sol)
2. Clavado En Un Bar 4:47 (Jose Fernando Olivera Sierra)
3. Vete Y Pregona 4:45 (Tite Curet Alonso)
4. Adonde Vayas 4:40 (Marco Antonio Solis)
5. Enamorado De Mi Pais 3:34 (Fahed Mitre, Miguel Figueroa)
6. Amor Improvisado 4:02 (Jose Virgilio Pena Suazo)
7. La Ultima Palabra 4:51 (Eleazar Lopez)
8. Usted No Me Conoce 4:24 (Reynaldo Hierrezuelo)
9. Dejate Querer 5:14 (Jose Manuel)
10. La Flor De La Caneja 5:35 (Isabel Grande Larco)

Arrangements by Ricky Gonzalez (1,2), Nelson Hernandez (3,7), Isidro Infante (4,8,9), Alex Mansilla (5), Ramon Sanchez (6), Lucho Cueto (10).

Two songs made list - Vete Y Pregona and Dejate Querer, the latter is the highlight of this album.


David "Piro" Rodriguez / Trumpet
Luis "Khaki" Ruiz / Trumpet
Pablo Santella / Trombone
Nelson Hernandez / Saxophone
Rafael "Papo" Cadena / Saxophone
Isidro Infante / Piano, Keyboards
Ricky Gonzalez / Piano, Keyboards
Lucho Cueto / Piano
Freddy Valdez / Piano
Jose Tavares / Bass
Carlos Henriquez / Bass
Freddy Valdez / Bass
Alex Mansilla / Bass, Keyboards, Guitar
Pablo "Chino" Nunes / Timbales
Luis Quintero / Timbales
Eric Velez / Conga
Juan "Chocolate" de la Cruz / Conga, Bongos, Tambora
Ray Colon / Bongos
Rafael "Yayo" German / Guiro
Roberto Bolano & Friends / Cajones/Box
Francisco "Poncho" Navarro / Guitar
Carlos Hayre / Guitar
Martinez De Leon / Guitar
Jose Alberto, Jerry Medina, Darvel Garcia, Alex Mansilla, Jose Veras, Agustin Heredia / Chorus
Jose Alberto "El Canario" / Lead Vocals, Maracas, Guiro, Percussion

Ismael Miranda - Asi Se Compone Un Son

Released 1973

Re-mastered 2006
Fania / E-Musica

Produced by Johnny Pacheco

Available at Amazon, Descarga, etc

1. Asi Se Compone Un Son 5:33 (Ismael Miranda)
2. Nicolas 5:24 (D.R.)
3. Salvame 3:48 (Atilio Bruni, Lambertucci Roberto)
4. Mulence 5:20 (Arsenio Rodriguez Scull)
5. Me Voy Pa Colombia 4:50 (Ismael Miranda)
6. Cuidate Bien 5:21 (Isaac Fernandez)
7. Ahora Si 5:33 (Ismael Miranda)
8. Las Cuarentas 4:29 (Roberto Grela, F. Govindo)
9. Sonerito 3:56 (C. Curet Alonso)
10. Ahora Que Estoy Sabroso 5:21 (Kalaff Luis)

This one got better after repeated listening for me. Two songs (Asi Se Compone Un Son, Ahora Si) made list. At over 45 minutes, this is an unusually long album by the standard of 70s Fania recordings.


Ismael Miranda / Musical Director, Lead Vocals, Chorus, Guiro, Maracas
Oscar Hernandez / Piano
Jose Raul Santiago / Bass
Nelson Gonzalez / Tres, Chorus
Nicky Marrero / Bongo, Timbales
Frankie Rodriguez / Conga
Carlos de Leon / Trumpet
Mariano Rodriguez / Trumpet
Miguel Colon / Trombone

Louie Ramirez - King Of Latin Vibes

Released 1991

Sugar Records

Produced by Sugar Records Inc.

Available at Descarga, Museo Del Disco

1. Good Night My Love 4:32 (Paul Anka)
2. Geisha Girl 3:55 (Louie Ramirez)
3. Suavecito 5:45 (Ignacio Piniero)
4. Baile De Ochun 6:25 (Louie Ramirez)
5. Seduction 6:58 (Louie Ramirez)
6. Bamboleate 5:25 (D.R.)
7. Midnight Sun 5:43 (Lionel Hampton, Sonny Burke, Johnny Mercer)
8. Pare Cochero 4:34 (Marcelino Guerra)

Geisha Girl and Bamboleate were recorded live at the 1988 Montreal Jazz Festival. The other six tracks are studio recordings - presumably from late 1980s or early 1990s.

Arrangements by Ricky Gonzalez (1), Louie Ramirez (2,4,5,6,7), Willie Rodriguez (3,8).

My best guess is that three of the songs here made list - Geisha Girl, Bamboleate, and Pare Cochero (pending typos). It's a nice pleasant sounding album. Geisha Girl and Bamboleate have crowd noise, but they're not too bad. Baile De Ochun is re-working of Sid's Groove - one of several example of Louie Ramirez recycling his old songs.


Louie Ramirez / Vibes & Percussion
Ricky Gonzalez / Piano, Synthesizers, African, Percussion
Piro Rodriguez / Trumpet
Tony Barrero / Trumpet
Roberto Rodriguez / Trumpet
Joyce Toth / Trumpet
Delio Harrigan / Trumpet
Mario Rivera / Tenor & Soprano Sax
Pete Miranda / Baritone Sax
Willie Rodriguez / Bass
Edwin Ortiz / Bongos
Jimmy Delgado / Timbales
Carlos "Patato" Valdes / Conga
Felix Cruz / Conga
Jose Mangual / Percussion
Tito Allen, Adalberto Santiago, Sammy Gonzalez / Chorus
"Eon" Ray Orta, Jay Borrero, Robert Remming, Daniel Anderson / Background Vocals