Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Tico All-Stars: Descargas Vol. 3, 1966
This is the third and last Descargas album, part of a live recording of a concert organized by New York salsa DJ Symphony Sid that featured many of the great Tico Records musicians. The concert went on for hours, and this volume captures songs from late in the night, when the band was deep into the jams. The sound quality is less than perfect, probably because there were so many musicians and not a lot of time to set up the mics, but the music has an energy that cuts through the roughness of the recording.
On the back cover, Tico president Morris Levy included a note of thanks to the DJ. Levy would go on to lead a much-criticized career in the music industry. He ventured into jazz and rock, famously engaged in a series of lawsuits with John Lennon and a few major labels, and died after being convicted of extortion. It was not Levy's career specifically that interested me so much as the breadth of the music that he managed to involve himself in. It got me thinking about the way that music fans go about finding music.
People interested in exploring the world of recorded music learn to dig for new recordings by chasing what I call threads. These threads can be almost anything: they are typically musicians, but they can include producers, arrangers, recording engineers, labels, genres, countries of origin, record cover aesthetics, and so on. Morris Levy's career is a perfect example of how erratically these threads can zigzag and connect in unexpected ways, visibly intersecting on records.
Sometimes these threads lead us astray and frustrate us; just today, I picked out what I thought was a samba record to find that it was closer to disco. Just as often, it is also the unpredictable pathways of these threads that make the hunt for new music magical, because they lead us through oblique channels to amazing recordings that we could have otherwise missed. The more threads we follow, the more we realize the vastness of the entire body of recorded music and how impossible it is to listen to more than an insignificant fraction of it. At the same time, though, we also get a sense of the interconnection between artists and genres that we would consider unrelated if we didn't know better.
Saxes: Alfred Abreu and Robert Porcelli
Trumpets: Pedro Boulong, Vincent Frisaura, Victor Paz, Alfredo Armenteros
Trombones: Jose Rodrigues, Barry Rogers
Flute: Johnny Pacheco
Piano: Eddie Palmieri, Richard Maldonado, Charlie Palmieri
Bass: Bobby Rodriguez, Israel Lopez
Congas: Joe Cuba, Candido Camero, Ray Barretto
Timbales: Tito Puente, Jimmy Sabater
Vibes: Tito Puente
Cow bell: Chino Pozo, John Rodriguez
Bongo: John Rodriguez
Vocals: Santos Colon, Rafael Davila, Jose Feliciano, Ramon Sardiñas
Descarga Pompo by Easy Jams