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Viva Batuka

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batuka_cover_small.jpg armando_cover.jpg

Tito Puente : Batuka
taken from the album “Para Los Rumberos” on Tico (1972)

Armando Peraza : Viva Peraza
taken from the album album “Wild Thing” on Skye (1968)

I was guest hosting the Friday night dance music spot on 89.1 this past Friday, and I had a happy listener write to me wanting to link up after enjoying the set (which I’ll put up in MP3 segments under Loose Tape real soon). Turns out this listener is a sick DJ in his own right, hosting a classic latin and broken beat night at the Williamsburg hotspot Bembe. DJ Busquelo has a bunch of nice mixes on his website– check out the one with Martin Perna (of Antibalas and Ocote) playing flute on top. The “Soulnado” mix will also be a treat for anyone who digs funky broken beat. So, tonight I’m going to the Zap Mama show @ S.O.B.s, but tomorrow I’ll definitely be heading to check the vibes provided by Busquelo. In light of that, a couple of latin jammers for ya.

I first picked up “Para Los Rumberos” on cassette tape last summer, which as we all know, can be as painful as it is rewarding. The whole album is classic material, but I downright flipped when I heard “Batuka” for the first time. Of course, any time I wanted to play it for someone I had to search the whole tape- FF, REW, wait, ahhhhh. As much as I wanted to sample the heckfire out of the ridiculous repeating break, I knew deep down that an inescapable hiss would interfere. So I was thanking the gods when it turned up in its original vinyl form at a local record spot. I’m not about to try and tell you much about Tito, there’s no shortage of coverage on this guy, but I will say that I saw him perform live (with Cachao and Poncho Sanchez) in the last year of his life and it still stands as one of the top 5 musical performances I’ve ever experienced. I know this track has been remixed by several folks (including Masters at Work) inna house style. Makes perfect sense, the form of the tune, with repeating gradual build-ups and drop-outs, is really similar to a lot of house music. Climax and false stops always makes a dancefloor happy… it’s like playing a game.

Armando Peraza is a highly respected conga/bongo player with only one album title to his name; that kinda makes this piece of wax special. That also made me feel lucky when I was walking away from the fleamarket with it under my arm this past weekend. Coming outta Havana, Peraza worked with legends like Mongo and Patato before moving to Cali. Stateside he hooked up with Cal Tjader, Gabor Szabo and a buch of other cats in the worlds of jazz, latin and beyond. Backed here by giants like Johnny Pacheco, Sadao Watanabe and Chick Corea, this album also features the boogaloo bomb “Red Onions” that can be found on this highly recommended compilation. The track that I’ve picked for you has been compiled on this great collection from the groovy folks at HiTop. Gotta keep on dancin’.