"Salsero Bravo":  Vinyl Trax Revisited

May/June 2013

Collecting Latin music on vinyl for twenty-seven years, historian Leo Osorio, aka “Salsero Bravo,” is serious about his music. Born in Colombia and raised in New Jersey, his interest in Latin music was sparked at age eleven, as he listened to records his father played at home and during family parties. Two in particular stood out for Osorio – Ricardo Ray’s from Puerto Rico and Los Blanco’s from Venezuela. As a result of hearing those two recordings, a lifelong passion was born. While other kids his age were collecting baseballs cards and action figures, Osorio took his father's only two salsa LPs and began his own collection.


As Osorio’s collection grew, so did his commitment to keep the music and its traditions alive and strong. Today, he owns over 8,000 records and continues to methodically research, catalogue, and acquire salsa albums from all over the globe, representing different eras and diverse styles. He began deejaying in the early 90s, something which compelled him to explore other Latin music genres, such as merengue and cumbia.


Osorio prides himself on learning every day, and continues to fill in the gaps with those rare, hard-to-find records—he’s always on the hunt for underground salsa. He made his on air debut on with Vicki Solá in 2012, co-producing an “All-Vinyl Show” for WFDU-FM’s Que Viva La Música. He also appears at all-vinyl conventions and congresses, where collectors showcase and play select vinyl albums.

LATIN TEMPO (INTERNATIONAL 00422)

 

ALBUM REVIEW BY CONTRIBUTING WRITER

“SALSERO BRAVO” LEO OSORIO

 

For my second review, one group came to mind…Latin Tempo. From Puerto Rico, they arrived on the scene in the very early 70s. Those who know Latin Tempo may not realize that one of the creative forces behind this phenomenal group was co-leader, arranger and musician Louis García.  

 

Their first recording was released on the Fania International label and mixed by Larry Harlow. It included a combination of guaguanco and montuno, plus two boleros featuring a full band that included fellow music school peers Juan J. Gutierrez on timbales, co-leader Luis Quevedo on piano and vocals by Cele Delgado and Jose Anibal Iglesias.

 

The drive behind the sound of Latin Tempo was Louis García, who studied music at La Escuela Libre de Música de Puerto Rico and was inspired by some of his favorites—Orchestra Harlow and Bobby Valentín. Valentín’s arrangements, in particular, had a significant influence on García, helping him develop his own style.

 

This made it possible for him to create classic hits “Alejate Viento de Agua,” “La Humanidad,” “La Rumba Llego,” and the well known “Papa Boco” by Domincan composer Manuel Sánchez Acosta. García’s arranging prowess extended to his boleros “Menos Que Nada” and “De Que Valen”

 

Latin Tempo released an additional two albums “Latin Tempo – 2” (1973) and “Sangre Nueva” (1977). These recordings they have become true classics, way ahead of their time, with unique and modern arrangements. Amongst collectors of vinyl records, they are considered rare underground collectables.

 

For García, it marked the beginning of a long musical career—he has become a well respected arranger, producer and musician, responsible for monster classic hits including: “El Rey de la Puntualidad,” made famous by Hector Lavoe’s vocals for the Fania All Stars, “Encantigo,” with vocals by Celia Cruz and Pete “El Conde” Rodriguez, “Remembranza” for Sonora Ponceña….and the list goes on.

 

García also created arrangements for Cortijo, Roberto Roena, Ismael Miranda, El Gran Combo, Rubby Haddock, Gilberto Santa Rosa, Lalo Rodriguez, and he has had a long association with Conjunto Canayon and Cheo Feliciano. As a musician, García has dominated in terms of playing both trombone and guitar.

 

In the late 80s, he joined forces with his brother Darvel García and released two salsa albums under the group name “Garcia.” Darvel is a renowned and respected sonero in his own right who has enjoyed success with Descarga Boricua and has done back up vocals for some of the most famous bands coming out of Puerto Rico. Today he is with La Sonora Ponceña. ◊◊◊


"Salsero Bravo":  Vinyl Trax Revisited March/April 2013

JOHNNY BRONCO (INCA 1048, 1975)



ALBUM REVIEW BY CONTRIBUTING WRITER

“SALSERO BRAVO” LEO OSORIO

 

I had a hard time selecting one album out of literally thousands for this, my first review. After I finally chose one, I met another obstacle: finding words to do justice describing the production: this 1975 recording by Johnny "Bronco" Sierra. It's simply an excellent example of “Hard Salsa,” an album that includes montuno plus two boleros.


Another element that makes this recording unique is the debut of vocalist Jorge Maldonado, who was virtually unknown at the time. Maldonado has gone on to record with top bands, including Sonora Matancera, Manny Oquendo & Libre, and Charanga America. Most recently he recorded with the New York-based Boricua Legends, an all-star band that released a first CD in 2012.


In this Larry Harlow production, which features arrangements by José Lebron (of the Lebron Brothers), Maldonado is backed up on chorus by Junior González, Pete "El Conde" Rodriguez and Julio Castro. Some of the musicians featured on this production include Ray Maldonado (trumpet), Louis Kahn (trombone) and Harry Viggiano (tres). You’ll hear them on classics like “Personajes,” “Los Santos” and “Teco Ladron,” where you’ll hear Mario Marrero's monster piano solo. Don't forget the montuno, “Flores Secas,” which features a smooth yet swinging trombone solo by Kahn.


And who can forget the classic cover art by Ron Levine, who created some of the best and most memorable Latin record covers of the 70s and 80s? Overall, this recording is a true classic, from start to finish, in my personal opinion. Not only are the arrangements excellent, but it's one hot album for dancing! Definitely one of my top ten favorite albums of all time. ◊◊◊

 

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