Support All About Jazz

All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. Pay $20 and we'll hide those six pesky Google ads that appear on every page, plus this box and the slideout box on the right for a full year! You'll also fund website expansion.


I want to help
8

Bio Ritmo: Puerta del Sur

Chris M. Slawecki By

Sign in to view read count Views
Bio Ritmo: Puerta del Sur Bio Ritmo has kept the salsa flame burning for more than twenty years. "We all share a passion for salsa, a music that encompasses so many different styles and influences," explains producer, composer, pianist and bandleader Marlysse Simmons. "It's rooted in the experimentation of blending rhythms and sounds and this is exactly what we love to do."

"Our mission from day one was to write original music in the classic salsa style," concurs lead composer and vocalist Rei Alvarez, "and experimentation is as much a part of the tradition as the wide-ranging Afro-Cuban genres that it's based on."

Much of Puerta del Sur sounds and feels like you've plugged into a salsa-charged power outlet. "Picaresca" is utterly flawless in design and execution, and bursts open with brilliant musicality from all the piano, trumpet, timbales and trombone blossoming like a salsa hothouse flower. "Motocilengua" sounds a little more languid but no less hot, a dance groove crackling with Latin piano, percussion and vocals.

The big-band ballad "Perdido" elegantly dances, stately yet lively behind its twin, harmonized lead vocals, a traditional salsa sound that serves as the fulcrum for Puerta Del Sur. Bob Miller's trumpet solo scorches the sky while piano, bass, drums and percussion interlock and prance in the finest Latin traditions—classic, contemporary or slightly unconventional.

One barely knows where to begin with "Codeína,"seven minutes that the band describes as "a Latin-bolero meets 1960s Egyptian-classical." Even a quote that colorful doesn't do justice to the ancient yet digital feel of this atmospheric closer, especially while bassist Edward Prendergast slips an icy-cool bolero into its rhythms and the band adorns the arrangement in Arabic percussion and strings. "Codeína" provides one more brilliant example of Bio Ritmo's gift for contemporizing the salsa tradition with bits of other musical traditions and more progressive songwriting and production.

Bio Ritmo produced their 2006 release Salsa System with Jon Fausty, engineer from the legendary Latin label Fania Records, an experience that Alvarez describes as "like going to salsa boot camp." "Puerta del Sur really shows the evolution of Bio Ritmo," says Fausty. "It's the best yet."


Track Listing: Se Les Olvidó; La Vía; Picaresca; Perdido; Motocilengua; Pájaro Pío Pío; Le Dicen Dolor; Codeína.

Personnel: Rei Alvarez: vocals, guiro, maracas, drum set; Marlysse Rose Simmons: piano, Farfisa VIP 600, Nord Electro 3, Juno 106, sound effects; Giustino Riccio: timbales, coro, drum set; Hector "Coco" Barez: congas, doumbek; Edward Prendergast: electric bass; Tobias Whitaker: trombone; Bob Miller: trumpet, coro, synthesizer; Mark Ingraham: cornet; John Lilley: tenor saxophone; Laura Ann Singh: coros; Bryan Vargas: cuatro; Chris Bates: trombone; JC Kuhl: baritone saxophone; Gabo Tomasini: bongos; Mike E. Montañez: bongos; Ellen Cockerham: violin; Treesa Gold: violin; Kim Ryan: viola; Matt Gold: bass.

Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Vampisoul Records


Related Video

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Puerta del Sur
Puerta del Sur
Vampisoul Records
2014
buy
La Verdad
La Verdad
Electric Cowbell Records
2012
buy
[no cover]
Dina's Mambo
Locutor Records
2010
buy
[no cover]
Bionico
Locutor Records
2008
buy
Bio Ritmo
Bio Ritmo
Locutor Records
2004
buy
[no cover]
¡Que Siga La...
Locutor Records
1996
buy
Tito Puente Tito Puente
band/orchestra
Ray Barretto Ray Barretto
congas
Jimmy Bosch Jimmy Bosch
trombone
Spanish Harlem Orchestra Spanish Harlem Orchestra
band/orchestra
Joe Cuba Joe Cuba
composer/conductor
Tito Puente, Jr.
percussion

More Articles

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.