Thursday, October 02, 2008

A Quick (But Soulful) Depature From the Norm!

Tito Puente - Mambo Con Puente

As I discussed in my 2007 Vinyl Record Day post, I've been a fan of Latin music, particularly mambo, since I found an old Machito LP during one of my forays as a teenaged "junkstore cratedigger. " Today I'll take a stylistic departure to dip my toe into the fantastic sounds by one of the real Mambo Kings, the late Tito Puente. I have discussed on this blog before how I feel that there are many artists who, although they are not "soul" artists per se, have soul to spare. All you have to do is look at a video of Tito Puente performing, even late in life, and see him standing there, drumming away, with that giddy smile of his, and you know you're in the presence of soul. His lengthy career resulted in scads of records, but recently Fania has gone back to Puente's first sides as a bandleader, made for George Goldner's Tico concern. The Complete 78s consists of four two-disc sets. The first volume came out in August, and the second is scheduled for November release. The kind folks at Giant Step sent me a review copy (see this press release for more info about the series and for a good bio of Puente) of the first volume, and from it I pull today's selection.

I think one reason why I like mambo music is because, like a good piece of funk, the tunes often were built from the groove up, and as the layers come together the power of the tune is electrifying. On "Mambo Con Puente," the piano sets the groove right away, daring the listener to move their body, and by the time the vocals come in and then the horns start blaring, it's soul time! Get on Down With the Mambo King!

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