Edwin Bonilla: Edwin y su Son

Javier AQ Ortiz By

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The betting kind would be wise to put their money on the fascinating results of a study of the neurological effects of music such as this. Indeed, captive audiences throughout Europe, Japan, the Americas and Africa have experienced a matchless neural realignment after listening to this album. A French Canadian television special, honoring Benny Moré, featured some of the music of this recording live on the air with Bonilla accompanied by local musicians in Quebec. France also enjoyed this program at the Ville de Dax Toros y Salsa festival.

Armed with meager financial backing, Jesús Pérez "El Niño, and Edwin Bonilla, managed quite a bit in less than three day's worth of recording, and a scant ten hours of mixing! Some of you may know Jesús because of his involvement with Ricardo Lemvo of Makina Loca. "El Niño, however, is no stranger to the music scene in Miami, Canada, New Orleans, Europe, and the West Coast. Since the liner notes were wrong in the first pressing, the following information should prove useful to some: Pérez is the main arranger. He plays tres, piano, and flute. Except for two cuts, he's the bassist. Pérez also sings the street-sounding leads. Six of the eight danceable tunes in this album are either his, or shared with Edwin. Bonilla does not play flute, as stated in said mistaken liner notes from the first pressing, and with the exception of the participation of Gerardo Araujo in Claves in "Las islas del sabor, he played all percussion throughout the album.

Edwin Bonilla has one of the most impressive percussive curriculum vitae in the music industry. There are no noticeable defects in his work for such distinguished and disparate figures as Lenny Kravitz, Frank Sinatra, Shakira, Arturo Sandoval, Madonna, Dave Grusin, Gloria Estefan, Néstor Torres, Ricky Martin, Giovanni Hidalgo, Stevie Wonder, Celine Dion, Israel López "Cachao, or Hansel y Raúl, among a host of others. He has managed to keep himself out of the limelight while improving their work. For lovers of Son, Guaguancó, and Son Montuno, this production should raise the wattage of public attention for a significant, albeit, incomplete part of his talent. Bonilla contributed insight into arrangements, overall production, two co-compositions, and one entirely on his own. Then he added a bongos and congas that few can equal. A few numbers feature his coro and timbale work, as well as maracas and claves.

Bonilla and Pérez, if you must know, are compadres, or related by god-parenthood. Their familial relationship shines through in a production that started pretty much with just piano and conga as a base, deftly adorned with everything and everybody else. "Las islas del sabor, features a brief rootsy trumpet solo by Eduardo Sánchez, who used to play First Trumpet for the Cuban group Son 14. This is yet another witness to the historical, social, and cultural ties between Puerto Rico and Cuba. Composed by Jesús and Edwin, this number is true to the musical orientations that unite, rather than break away, these two geographical entities. These days some thrive on creating, or trying to create, insidious divisiveness between Cuban and Puerto Rican artists, music, culture, and markets. This composition, as well as the entire album, however, solidifies the facts: Puerto Ricans and Cubans are bearers of unique musical traditions and aesthetics, and their relationship cannot be subsumed to the petty sloganistic thinking that one often finds implicit, or explicit, in many recent public and printed statements. Cubans and pro-Cuban factions make most of those monoideistic declarations and insinuations. As stated in this Son, "Esto se pone mejor cuando se juntan las islas del sabor... Cuando se juntan las islas como es (Things improve when the islands of flavor get together... When they get together the way it is).

"Si te vas no me muero, Bonilla's favorite tune in the album, is a Son Montuno that features a tres solo by Pérez, as well as some tasty bongos by Bonilla. The tres, a Cuban guitar-like instrument, utilized in this recording, was wasting away in someone's attic or basement in Canada and the strings were rusted. Witness the resurrection of that tres in this recording! In the end, we are treated to the Cuban flavor of Eduardo Sánchez' trumpet playing.

"Si te busco en el baile, would surely classify as Salsa as trombones add a sexy and aggressive feel reminiscent of the New York style providing a toasty ambiance ideally suited for fast dancing moves. May the Rueda de Casino dancers of the world do a number on this one.

"Consulta en Guanabacoa is this album's contribution to the spread of the santerÃ-a worldview. The lyrics are peppered with various references to popular practices and theological conceptions of the foregoing popular Afro Cuban religion. Catchy mambos, surfing on top of a percussive board, will carry you to the shores of Varadero.

"Carmen la ronca, is a Heny Álvarez composition immortalized by the Grupo Folklórico y Experimental Nuevayorkino. Unfortunately, it was cited by the SAR/Guajiro label as "Pendiente, or "Pending, in the album back cover. Trumpet, tres, and bongos take center stage here. The bongo playing is taut and traditional, making musical sense while avoiding intrusive technical virtuosity, albeit, updated gleanings are expected and enjoyed. This tune is truly a worthy homage to a composition that rose through the ranks of the underground to classic status.

In "Son de mi tierra, we are initially invited to Guaguancó our way into a telling rumba with inspired quinto conga playing by Bonilla. Do pay attention to the lyrics, please. "Honor a quien honor merece, Cuba is the matron of some of the world's most significant musical developments. Such developments, however, stand on their own as part of the legacy of the Americas to the globe. There is no need for ideological last or first names. After skin glee, the mischievous trumpet equals the foregoing drum feast, with an ardent opening for a jamming bridge featuring Bonilla's conga work, ending with another horn treat. In "Mi son, we hear "El Niño's flute industry. Edwin's, percussive work in this solid Son Montuno, show how well he learned the Cuban lessons in Elizabeth, New Jersey. This composition honors the Cuban Son family.

"Si tú no vienes no bailas, is simply an invitation to dance a swinging tune featuring a timbale solo by Edwin Bonilla. This is straight, swift, dense, Salsa, with Niño's flute to boot, and more of Eduardo's trumpet highlights.

Edwin's music is for fun and dancing, backed by gritty straight music "from the heart.

Track Listing: 1. Las islas del sabor 2. Si te vas no me muero 3. Si te busco en el baile 4. Consulta en Guanabacoa 5. Carmen La Ronca 6. Son de mi tierra 7. Mi Son 8. Si t

Personnel: All Percussion, Back up Vocals, Co-producer, Composer and Arrangement Supervision-Edwin Bonilla. Back up Vocals-Alejandro D'Armas. Bass and Back up Vocals-L

Title: Edwin y su Son | Year Released: 2002 | Record Label: SAR/Guajiro


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