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Hip Spanic All-Stars: Old School Revolution

Chris M. Slawecki By

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If you think that Old School Revolution sounds both familiar and new, you're right.

In the late 2000s, bassist and singer Happy Sanchez, saxophonist Norbert Stachel (Tower of Power), percussionist Karl Perazzo (a longstanding member of Santana), and drummer Jay Lane (Primus) hooked up, during timeouts from their more regular gigs, in the Mission District surrounding San Francisco with vocalists Shorty Ramos and Vic Castro, and the Hip Spanic All-Stars were born.

"We grew up in the era of the big funk groups, and they all had horns," Sanchez recalls. "A lot of those guys are not Latino but it really resonated with the community. That was where we drew our roots." (Perazzo and Sanchez have also contributed, through their Latin Soul Syndicate collaborative, music to The Sopranos, The Devil Wears Prada and many other shows and films.)

At its heart, Old-School Revolution is a Latin groove record. "Salsero" vaults from the starting blocks into the lively tale of a young man born to play salsa drums, backed up with "Party In The Mission," an abundant overflow of energy and spirit that screams out "The party's over HERE!" "Shake It" tops its guitar hook with a new wave, funk-punk edge, but gets quickly blown out of the water by the ensemble horns' typhoon of joyous Latin dance.

Even so, the diverse backgrounds of all these participants can't help but turn up additional party sounds; these include Cajun zydeco ("Welcome Back"), reggae ("Bacuna Wow Wow Wow"), and several vocal tunes with sweet harmonies and warm, soft textures, including a chunky and funky bop through "Crystal Blue Persuasion" and a shimmering Afro-Cuban-jazz-blues-funk reverie about cruising through the neighborhood "In My '64" classic ride.

"We're bringing back the old sound of harmonizing together, of drums and horns and Chicano grooves and funk," Sanchez happily concludes. "That's the old school revolution. It's an authentic, true sound from the US. These grooves make America great again."

Track Listing: Crystal Blue Persuasion; Salsero; Party In The Mission; In My 64; Shake It; Welcome Back; This World Is Made For Lovers; Bacuna Wow Wow Wow; All Aboard; Funky Cha Cha Cha; La Boa; Conga Radio.

Personnel: Happy Sanchez: vocals, bass; Victor Castro: vocals; Gordon Ramos: vocals; Norbert Stachel: baritone tenor & alto saxophones; Karl Perazzo: congos, timbales; Andrew Stern: guitar; Dave Shul: guitar; Jay Lane: drums; Frank Navarro: bass; Ruben Sandoval: trombone; Phil Adams: trumpet; Bob Crawford: piano, clavinet; Tony Stead: Hammond B3 organ, accordion; Kike Padilla: conga solo; Ricky Encarnacion: bass.

Title: Old School Revolution | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: Hip Spanic Records

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