by José Calderón

My hat off to the women in this musical industry!  To battle through the many inequities inherent in a male-dominated enterprise, with talent taking precedence, is subject to respect and admiration.  Many women who come to mind, but I’ll limit it to just one in my review…for the moment!


I was merely a toddler when in my hands I held two of the many collaborative recordings this sincere woman left her mark on.  Resonating with an instrument that to my ears (many will agree) soared into the skies with strength and clarity and left me with a thunderous desire to listen over and over again (with my grandmother’s approval —she  also expressed her heartfelt veneration).  Do you know who I’m referring to?  None other than Ms. ANDREA BRACHFELD!


Known as the First Lady of Charanga, she was the first recognized female to play flute in such a band as well, in the United States. Having traveled the world extensively, and being the recipient of numerous awards and recognitions, she has definitely led the path for many of her flutist colleagues, such as Karen Joseph and Connie Grossman, among others.

I was intrigued to discover her work—it was in the early 90s that my luck was fulfilled!

Released in 1978 on Latina Records produced by Vicente Bareira (proprietor of Casa Latina) and arranged by José Madera, Brachfeld’s debut album featured incredible musicians in top form, playing with legends Eddie Drennon, Barry Rogers, Lewis Kahn, Bobby Rodriguez, Joe Santiago, Luis Bauzó, Mike Martinez, Cachete Maldonado, Johnny Almendra, and Johnny Vasquez…topped with original salsa/charanga tunes to enjoy!  Highlights are El Guapo, Aqui Estoy Yo, and Como El Cariño No Hay Na.




Como El Cariño No Hay Na

Aqui Estoy Yo

Comba Cuyuye

El Guapo

Tu Na Mas



Si Se Acaba El Mundo

No Me Abandone


Andrea Brachfeld:  Flauta

Eddie Drennon, Lewis Kahn, Carl Ector:  Violines

Enrique Orengo:  Chelo

Pat Rosseau: T rompeta

Barry Rogers:  Trombón

Mike Rios:  Piano

Joe Santiago,Bobby Rodriguez:  Bajo

John Andrews:  Timbales

Luis Bauzo:  Congas

Cachete:  Bongo

Mike Martinez:  Güiro

Bateria:  Paul Kimbarrow

Raymond Perez y Gregory Sanchez:  Vocales


It might be difficult to find this piece of work, but regardless,  no one puts in doubt the uncanny talent of this wonderful musician.   Dedicated to developing Latin Jazz, with a return to the studios after a fifteen year hiatus, we continue to enjoy her music and her recordings.


She returned again in 2003 with an sensational new recording titled Son Charanga - Back With Sweet Passion, that fulfills the time she definitely made us yearn passionately for her.

With an all-star cast, Andrea Brachfeld nails it immediately with incredible classics that one truly will not tire of listening to with the passing of time.  Legendary musicians we know well—Oscar Hernandez, Alfredo De La Fé, Jorge Maldonado, Jerry and José Madera, “Chico” Álvarez, “Papo” Pepin, and “Chembo” Corniel—demonstrate how musical standards are modernized and beautifully executed under the prowess of Brachfeld’s magical instrument.  Her new material dazzles, as well.  From my perspective, her signature tune,  La Flauta De Andrea, Pare Cochero and Tres Lindas Cubanas are what set my soul on fire—and my feet!


Let us not forget the collaboration she made with master percussionist Wilson “Chembo” Corniel on Beyond Standards in 2006.  This well-paired duo demonstrate their versatility as multi-instrumentalists, making it enjoyable as they mesh jazzy rhythms with the Latin essence. This also marks one of the last recordings by Hilton Ruiz before his unexpected death.


Dedicated to developing Latin Jazz, with a return to the studios after a fifteen year hiatus, we continue to enjoy her music and her recordings.  She is definitely included in the history and development of our wonderful salsa music in New York City, and the world!  LONG LIVE ANDREA Y SU FLAUTA!  ◊◊◊








Click and scroll down to read Tomas Peña’s review of Andrea Brachfeld’s Lady of The Island on our Latin Jazz Under The Radar page


José Calderón, better known as “DJ José," has been playing independently for over twenty years in New York City. Born in Harlem of Cuban parents, he inherited a deep sense of cultural pride which only intensified as he listened to the music he heard consistently at home. Celia Cruz, La Sonora Matancera, Johnny Pacheco, Orquesta Aragon and Pete “El Conde” Rodriguez are just a few of the artists who influenced his style of playing, which he describes as “a strong mix of Cuban and Puerto Rican conjunto style, saturated with New York flavor.” His pride is evident when spinnng. He states, “I've been given the honor and opportunity to play for a select crowd, and I vow to never disappoint them.”


An avid listener of Vicki Sola’s show, DJ José has played at many well-known venues such as Side Street, Tropicana, Iguana’s, Windows over Harlem, Leather Lounge, and Salsa Wednesdays at Julia DeBurgos. Currently, he plays alternate Fridays at Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, selected Wednesday’s at Jimmy Delgado’s Taino Towers, and he emcees the annual Quenepa dance in Long Island, playing alongside many of the renowned bands of yesterday and today, as well as collaborating with many personalities. Supporting worthy causes has also been an important mission for him. He has joined forces with the Sanchez sisters’ Celebration of Life, and The Latinas Hat Society and their events. He maintains a bi-weekly email trail, informing Latin music aficionados of his own activities as well as those of his many colleagues throughout the city.

DJ José is a founding member of Salsa Warriors Radio;  indeed it was his on air "Que Viva La Música" birthday party at WFDU-FM that inspired the formation of this unique twenty-four hour Internet radio station that features some of the New York metro area’s best DJs. His show “Boleros Con Soul” can be heard Sunday mornings at 8 a.m. ET and his program “Salsa……Y Algo Más” can be heard Monday evenings at 7 p.m ET on





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