El Mensajero (English)

Posted: October 15, 2010

Last Updated: June 16, 2011

Three newly released CDs recommended

Saludos amigos! After a two-month vacation I’m back to the column to keep you up to date on what’s happening in the music scene here in Rochester and also on the national level. In this edition I will review some CDs that came out this summer that I hope you enjoy. All these productions can be found at your favorite record store or at the different Internet CD stores.

Edgard Nevarez & La Tropica -- "Back On The Block"

Edgard Nevarez is one of Puerto Rico’s most talented trumpeters, arrangers and band directors. Nevarez was musical director of Tommy Olivencia’s band until Olivencia’s untimely death in 2006. La Tropica was originally a band Nevarez and another talented musician Tommy Villariny created in Boston while both were studying at the prestigious Berklee School of Music. After a three-album stint, Nevarez decided to move back to Puerto Rico to work as a "jingles man" for radio and TV and a producer/musician for many bands in Puerto Rico. In 2009 he decided to bring back La Tropica and dusted off and modernized the arrangements and this year "Back On The Block" was born. Highly danceable tracks such as "La Cantaleta" and "Aprovechemos El Tiempo" and the bomba-tinged "La Bomba Que Te Traje," all performed by Javi Marrero, who has sang with Puerto Rican Power, Roberto Roena & Apollo Sound, are superbly executed to the clave beat the dancers expect. The band members Tommy Villariny, José Jugo, Quique Doménech, William "Cachiro" Thompson, Edwin Clemente, Charlie Sierra -- who are the cream of the crop of Puerto Rico’s salsa scene -- gave their all. Nevarez has brought to "Back On The Block" lots of swing and sabor, and this production is one of the hottest salsa productions this year. Highly recommended!

Manny Manuel -- "Rayando El Sol"

Manuel, who was a member of the early '90s merengue band Los Sabrosos del Merengue, takes the challenge of recording some of the string of hits that were performed by rock Latino super group Maná and gives them a merengue and bachata twist. There are 10 tracks, from the mambo merengue "Oye Mi Amor" to the bomba merengue title track "Rayando El Sol" and the bachata "Bendita Tu Luz." Recorded with the best studio musicians in Santo Domingo, Manuel successfully makes these songs his. After a brief hiatus from the Dominican genre, performing love songs and whatnot, Manuel takes the reins of his career at a time when merengue is slowly coming back to prominence and bachata is at the top of the playlist in many Latin radio stations. Recommended!

Spanish Harlem Orchestra -- "Viva La Tradicion"

With 10 years under its belt as the torch bearers of old-school salsa, Spanish Harlem throws to the street its fourth production under the direction of Oscar Hernandez and the who's who in New York City salsa. This 12-track behemoth has everything for the most demanding lover of salsa and dancer alike, from hard-core, fast-paced salsa to the one-tile style boleros that will make anyone fall in love. Spanish Harlem picks up where it left off with "United We Swing." Special guest, "El Chevere de la Salsa" Isaac Delgado, passes by with his vocalization of "El Negro Tiene Tumbao." Overall, this production is one of the top 10 productions of 2010 and a highly anticipated one by a group that continues to refresh the old-school rhythms of salsa well into the 21st century. Highly recommended!

Rivera is CEO of Latin Roc Entertainment (www.latinroc.com) and host of Esencia Latina on Jazz90.1 FM/WGMC-FM radio from 6-10 a.m. Saturdays and on www.jazz901.org. Contact him at latinroc@gmail.com.


Edgar Nevarez & La Tropica is a great example on how the good music is always appreciated by Salsa Lovers around the world. Edgar leadership is taking his band to the top of the world, congratulations Edgar and your band for setting the example and steping stones to the future of our Salsa Music. Taino Program Director/Host Brisa Tropical KBZQ 99.5 Lawton, Oklahoma
October 19, 2010, 3:51 PM
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