Willie Villegas y Entre Amigos: Dancer's Paradise (2003)
Quick and to the Point: Hard charging Salsala Manny Oquendo, Willie Colon, La Perfectaï .
Evolution favors those with better mutative luck and improved capacity for adaptation. Musical matters are no exception. Whereas some musical organisms seek survival in newness, others dig into the familiarity of established repertoires, styles and aesthetics with the same purpose in mind. Dancer's Paradise belongs squarely in the latter category. Even the title of the release seems to be derived from Luis "Perico Ortiz's 1983 "Entre amigos. That, however, is just the launch of this danceable storyï
Willie Villegas y Entre Amigos will not sell you short. Why "Entre Amigos (Among friends)? Because it is. Villegas surrounded himself with his bandmates on this lively date, as well as several special friends. Among them is the world's premiere conga player, Giovanni Hidalgo. Yomo Toro, quite a significant Puerto Rican cuatrista and Salsa's stringed ambassador, is featured too. Yes, there are plenty of strong musical friends gathered 'round Villegas and the friendliness will show in your tapping fingers and lissome rear movement to their playing.
Is it a Dancer's Paradise ? Well, yes, indeed. Villegas is unabashedly committed to the type of New York assertiveness commonly associated with the Salsa flourishing period of the late '70s. Danza, Chï chï chï, danceable Latin jazz, son montuno and a closing guaguancï, are just a dab of the Salsa dash herein. When most heated, as in "Castellano, "Ariïaïara, and "Mayarï, one can hear characteristic swinging cores from the forerunners of a New York product: the trombone-led Salsa ensemble.
The extensive and intensive soloing "" although Johnson Morales on piano would be wise to steer clearer from Hilton Ruiz and Eddie Palmieri "" is pure glee for salseros looking for a driving fix.
Hidalgo, contrary to the liner notes, appears on "Ariïaïara ; and, albeit not included in the credits, former Joe Cuba vibraphonist A. J. Mantas is featured therein, as mentioned somewhere else in the album's notes.
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Track Listing: 1. Castellano 2. Mayar? 3. Moliendo Caf? 4. Dame una tacita de caf? 5. Ari?a?ara (Tribute To Joe Cuba) 6. Dancer's Paradise 7. ?Qu? ser? mi china! 8. I Wish You Love 9. Bajo la sombra de un pino 10. Amadou
Personnel: Gamaliel Bonilla: Trombone & backup vocals. Marcial Caraballo: Bass. Jeff Iglesias: Trombone & backup vocals. Johnson Morales: Piano. Jimmy Popelka: Bongos. Willie ?Timba? Rodr?guez: Congas. Alfredo ?Male? Torres: Lead vocal. Willie Villegas: Timbales, bongo, congas, quinto and minor percussion. Special guests: Giovanni Hidalgo: All main percussion (5). Yomo Toro: Cuatro (1,2). Ivan Renta: Tenor sax (6) & curved soprano sax (9). Enrique Guerrero: Soprano sax (6). Alan ?Battman? Batt: Flute on (7). Augusto ?Gus? Onna: Maracas on 1,2,3, & 8. Ernie Acevedo: Backup vocals & conga on (10), g?iro (4,7), maracas (4,6). David Fern?ndez: Bongo (6). V?ctor ?Vit?n? Rodr?guez: Lead vocals (8). Albert ?AZ? Areizaga: Lead vocals (10). A. J. Mantas: Vibes (5).
Record Label: Entre Amigos