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Extended Analysis

Edwin Bonilla: Pa la calle

By Published: July 18, 2004
Edwin Bonilla
Pa' La Calle
SAR/Guajiro
2004



Pa' la calle, as its preceding two productions for the SAR/Guajiro label, was minutely conceived for the international dancing community and those who cater to them. The majority of DJs in dance clubs, from Israel to Hong Kong, will once more enjoy what Arturo Gómez Cruz of Denver's KUVO 89.3 FM calls "happy music for dancing feet. Indeed, that's what they have been doing with Edwin y su Son for the last four years: enjoying great dancing with great music. This recording, however, takes Edwin Bonilla to another level and dancers will have less son montuno and more son, in its salsa. Of course, the unique style, sound and rhythmic impetus of Bonilla are intact, even superseded. This compact disc can resuscitate a corpse and, as put by Cuban musical slang, its music is macho.



Bonilla, whose professional reputation depends on his deep and varied work as a percussionist, should be considered a much more malleable figure. It is imperative to take into account his fiery and innovative musical intuition as a producer. As such, he was able to get the best from the respective careers of each one of his excellent singers. To a certain extent, the same could be said of the arrangers, composers and musicians that supported him in this recording. Showing his evident capacity to write tasty songs such as "Basta ya con tu mentira and "Yo me la llevo, the latter written with his fellow Puerto Rican Juan "CheÃ-to Quiñones, doesn't hurt either.



In "¡Qué cansancio!, for example, the characteristic vocal phrasing of timba is modified by dilating its rhythmic flow. The theme, interpreted by the promising Cuban timbero Nelson Llompart, closes with a blistering solo from Adalberto "Trompetica Lara and dense brass counterpointing riffs in the background. Llompart also shines in the opportune reinterpretation of "Se le ve, that will certainly get the attention of both Cuban musicians and the Puerto Rican followers of Batacumbele. Bonilla incorporated Uruguayan Master violinist Federico Britos in violin, the famed Puerto Rican flutist Néstor Torres and Cuban tresero Carlos Infante in a highly danceable, son-based version. In it, as well as in the rest of the recording, the past, present and future of this type of music is reflected.



"Basta ya con tu mentira begins with a rumba with loads of ibiano, or deep musical blackness. Bonilla makes it sound and feel as if it were live. In truth, he recorded all its parts...with incredible ease and speed"" one afternoon in Miami. When listening to it, one feels obligated to remember the legends of Jesús MarÃ-a, the Havana quarter. The swing, however, becomes frenetic after the rumba and Jesús "El Niño Alejandro Pérez leads the listener through hybrid stylistic margins that hail as much from Miami, as they do from New York, Cuba or Puerto Rico. "Busca quién fue, also interpreted by "El Niño, emphasizes the importance of the background singers in this production...whose vocal strength depends so much upon. Furthermore, listening to the aggressive, street-smart and in-your-face solos of Nicaraguan trombonist Orlando Mesa...both in this song as well as in "Rico mi son ...is a true pleasure. Watch out Jimmy Bosch and Conrad Herwig!



Bonilla, raised in Elizabeth, New Jersey during the Fania era, comes to salsa due in great measure to the music of Ray Barretto. "Ahora sÃ- continues his habit of reinterpreting important works from that period. David López, who used to be Richard Egües pianist, is showcased in this son montuno interpreted by "El Niño. By the time the famed "Cocinando chorus takes over the lead theme, with one of many percussive solos that border on the classic, it's easy to imagine Colombian and New Yorker audiences with wide smiles.



Veteran singer Juan "CheÃ-to Quiñones interprets "Yo me la llevo and "Rico mi son. His tasty countrified-yet-urban Puerto Rican style beautifies the punchy musical drive that characterizes both compositions. As Quiñones says, "...es que con Edwin Bonilla hay que cantar de verdad... (...with Edwin Bonilla you have to sing for real...). Well, the fact of the matter is that this type of music can swallow even the bravest singer. Finally, Antonio Columbie engages a rare descarga-son-changüÃ- where Bonilla plays an authentic changüÃ- set of bongos from Oriente de Cuba given to him by an old changüÃ- musician at the Smithsonian. "La rumba está buena was prepared according to the Cuban conjunto style and tres player Pavel Vitier...from Eastern Cuba himself...just eats it up, just as the tasty Paquito HechavarrÃ-a boosts the cut up with his piano solo and delectable ensemble playing.



One could talk endlessly about Pa' la calle because much can be said about Bonilla's music. This recording has so many details, some more obvious than others that discovering them is both an immense pleasure as it is a true schooling.



Tracks: 1. Busca quién fue* Author: Sergio Cruz. Singer: Jesús "El Niño Alejandro Pérez. 2. Rico mi son**** Author: D.R. Singer: Juan "CheÃ-to Quiñones. 3. ¡Qué cansancio!* Author: Sergio Cruz. Singer: Nelson Llompart. 4. Ahora sÃ- *** Author: Ray Barretto. Singer: Jesús "El Niño Alejandro Pérez. 5. Yo me la llevo** Author: Edwin Bonilla/Juan "CheÃ-to Quiñones. Singer: Juan "CheÃ-to Quiñones. 6. Se le ve* Author: D.R. Singer: Nelson Llompart. 7. Basta ya con tu mentira** Author: Edwin Bonilla. Singer: Jesús "El Niño Alejandro Pérez. 8. La rumba está buena***** Author: Ido Torres. Singer: Antonio Columbie. Arrangements: Sergio Cruz*, Carlos Infante**, Alfredo Pérez***, Oscar Hernández****, Jorge L. Sosa*****



Personnel: Musicians: Edwin Bonilla: Musical producer, congas, timbales, bongó, maracas, clave, güiro, batajón, cajón, quinto, bongó de changüÃ-, chékere, backup vocals. Alfredo Pérez: Trumpet. Solo in "Ahora sÃ- & "La rumba está buena. José Sibaja: Trumpet. Iván Idio: Trumpet. Adalberto "Trompetica Lara: Trumpet solo in "¡Qué cansancio! Orlando Mesa: Trombone. Solo in "Rico mi son & "Busca quién fue. Dave Kotowski: Trombone. Carlos Infante: Piano & tres. Ramsés Colón: Bajo & marÃ-mbula. Eddie "Guagua Rivera: Bass in "Ahora sÃ-. David López: Piano. Solo in "Ahora sÃ-. Pavel Vitier: Tres in "La rumba está buena. Paquito HechavarrÃ-a: Piano in "La rumba está buena. Special Guests: Federico Britos: Violins. Paquito HechavarrÃ-a: Piano. Eddie "Guagua Rivera: Bass. Néstor Torres: Flauta. Singers: Jesús "El Niño Alejandro Pérez, Antonio Columbie, Nelson Llompart, Juan "CheÃ-to Quiñones. Backup vocals: "Felo Barrio, Edwin Bonilla, Carlos Infante, Juan "CheÃ-to Quiñones, Roberto Torres. Recording Engineer: Juan Cristóbal Losada. Recording Studios: Sonic Project Studios & Crescent Moon. Mix: Juan Cristóbal Losada at Sonic Project Studios. Mastering: Miami Tape.



Contact: Edwin Bonilla can be contacted through edwinbonilla@worldnet.att.net.



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