Monday, May 18, 2015

Miguel Cruz Y La Orquesta Querubin

During the early 1980s, the Chicago Salsa scene was hot. Salsa bands were in abundance, particularly with the younger up and coming bands like Tipica 78, Tipica Leal, la Union, La Justitia, just to name a few. Some of the kids playing at the time flourished to become accomplished musicians and went on to work with the bigger more established names in salsa. Recently, I had occasion to come across one of these musicians. Miguel Cruz, a popular Latin Percussionist at the time, began his musical career in Chicago in a young salsa band. Simply known as ‘Chocolate” at the time he went on to play with some of the early Caribe bands then with guys like Hector Nunez, Charlie Burgos and many of the other young guys coming up at the time. He later worked with and became the percussion director of Chicago’s La Sonora Tropical before leaving to Puerto Rico to continue his musical endeavors. In Puerto Rico he joined Willie Rosario’s band and worked with Willie for several years. He filled in for the Fania All-stars groups on occasion and eventually formed his own band he named Orquesta Queubin. Orquesta Querubin is a Christian themed band that spreads the Lords message thru salsa. After hearing about this I searched Orquesta Querubin and was pleasantly surprised at their hard charging salsa style. These guys are great. Their arrangements and recordings are some of the best I have heard. Besides being a percussionist, Miguel Cruz added vocalist to his list of talents. He is now the featured vocalist on some of the more recent Orquesta Querubin’s albums. Miguel Cruz, during his years away from Chicago, went on to study the music Business, which included the field of music production. Today, Miguel Cruz produces many artists in Puerto Rico. He is someone I am really proud of and he is one of the original Chicago Old School salsa musicians that helped keep it alive. Check them out on Youtube and you will see what I mean.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Rica Obsesion – A Night At The Park

The annual Chicago Summer Dance Events is something we look forward to every summer. Summer nights light up with excitement when dancers from every part of the city show up to demonstrate their latest moves or just go there for a free night out of Salsa. One of the bands called to service this year is Rica Obsesion. The band who, has been around for several years are out of Chicago and is led by brothers Dennis and Byron Calito, who do an outstanding job of bringing together a fusion of old school salsa along with the modern sounds of the day. You can’t help but get on your feet or simply sit back enjoy the free concert when they play – if that’s your thing. Rica Obsesion was up to the task this year and did not disappoint. Playing many cuts out of their album entitled, “Rica Obsesion – Llego Mi Turno,” the band charged the crowd with their synchronized percussion and solid horn rifts. Obviously, they are on our “A” list of top Chicago Salsa Bands. We recommend them highly if you want to hear a band that knows how to bring it home. Be sure and check them out. 

Monday, February 10, 2014

Patrona Divina - Joe "Chocolate" Hurtado Y Sus Estrellas

Today, we feature another album from the 80s that was recorded in Chicago. The band was making some noise here back in the day until it's leader, Joe "Chocolate" Hurtado returned to Colombia, where he continued to promote his album. On this recording are: Jaime Ramirez - Bass, Jose Armigo, Tito Torres & Marcus Persiani - Piano, Jose M. Perez - Congas, Eriberto Perez - Bongo, Ray soto - Timbales, Elmer Brown, Humberto Tuero - trumpets, Joe Hurtado - Lead vocals, Mike Maldonado, Joe Hurtado, Junior Toledo - Coros

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Oveja Perdida by Rafael "Junior" Collazo

Junior Collazo - A Chicago salsa veteran

I recently came across a CD entitled, "Gracias Te Doy" by Rafael "Junior" Collazo. For those of you that were around the Chicago Salsa set back in the 70s,80s and 90s, you should remember him. Everyone knew him simply as "Junior - El Cantante." Junior was a vocalist at large for many of the salsa groups that played the clubs and dances. When he was not gigging with other groups he ran his own band. "Junior," as we all knew him, played piano and was quick to sit in on jam sessions. His band had a nice swing. Junior was a regular fixture in the Humboldt Park area and was always a cool guy to hang with. Now "Junior" has followed his calling and recorded the "Gracias Te Doy" CD. The musicians on the recording are:

Rafael "Junior Collazo" - Vocal
Felix Romero - Trombone
Orlando Otero - Bass
Alexandra Perez - Coros
Jose Francisco Montero - Trombone
Michael Swing - Piano

Check it out. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Eddie Palmieri Live at Chicago's Millennium Park

Eddie Palmieri and his salsa orchestra was in rare form this past week when he appeared in Chicago for a concert at the Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium Park. If you like old school salsa you would have really enjoyed this one as Palmieri thrilled us with tunes dating back to the early days of salsa. Tunes like “Muneca” brought us back to the days when salsa dominated the dance scene. Included in this band was Trombonist/ Band Leader Jimmy Bosch, who thrilled us with his fiery trombone solos. Palmieri, as always, infused his special jazz influence to the Son Montuno giving us an incredible show. Opening the concert was Plena Libre, who was brought in from Puerto Rico and did an outstanding job in teaching everyone the simple “Plena” dance step. The entire audience (non-Latinos included) caught on quickly and danced the plena in the aisles as the band played on. A great time was had by all.   

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Flashback to the 70's - El Mirador

Here is a picture someone sent me recently of the house band at El Mirador on North Avenue during the 70's. Menique is the leader. If you remember form a prior post, El Mirador was the exclusive Latin Night Club that featured Tito Puente during that time. Menique and this group took over the house band duties after Puente moved on. How many of these musicians do you recognize? (Hint - some are still around).