Lucid Culture

JAZZ, CLASSICAL MUSIC AND THE ARTS IN NEW YORK CITY

CD Review: Spanglish Fly – Latin Soul y Bugalú

This is what Spanish Harlem was rocking to forty years ago. What Sharon Jones did for oldschool soul, what Antibalas did for Afrobeat and what Chicha Libre is doing for chicha, Spanglish Fly is doing for bugalu. It’s what happened when Cuban son melodies collided with Stax/Volt and Motown, with fiery horns and a fat midtempo groove over a latin beat. It was a Nuyorican phenomenon and very popular back in the day. If you know Bang Bang by Joe Cuba, this is the same kind of thing. It’s about time somebody brought this stuff back and it’s a good thing it’s this band because they have authentic sabor with a 5-piece horn section, three percussionists, piano and a rhythm section plus Erica Ramos’ casually alluring, soulful voice soaring over it when there’s room. As dance music, it’s irresistible (at a live show, the group will often offer a free dance lesson for anglos or newschoolers who didn’t have the good fortune to grow up with this).

The cd’s opening track, Think (Pensamiento) is typical of what the old bugalú bands would do, a brand-new latin version of the old James Brown hit with fat low end, tight horns and a suspenseful intensity where the band theatens to completely rip it apart at the end but just manage to keep it together. An original, Latin Soul Stew was obviously made to be played live, with soaring trumpet over an ominous piano groove, the horns coming back in full force after a little vocal break. Another original, by one of the band’s trumpeters Jonny Semi-Colón a/k/a Jonathan Goldman sounds like ska but with a slinkier groove. Like a lot of bugalu hits, it’s a series of trick endings where the intensity builds every time the song comes back, with a gospel-inspired break toward the end. There’s also a joyously rattling cover of the big Ray Barretto crossover hit New York Soul. 

The band is an inspired collection of veteran New York jazzcats: besides Ramos and Goldman, they have Martin Wallace on piano, Mick Santurio on congas, Charly Rodriguez on timbales, Gabo Tomasini on bongos, Atsushi Tsumura on trumpet, Dimitri Moderbacher on bass, Rose Imperato on tenor sax, Jonathan Flothow on bari sax and Sebastian Isler on trombone. Spanglish Fly’s next dance party is April 2 at Camaradas El Barrio, First Ave. and 115th St. at 10 PM; the cd release show is on April 23 at Rose Bar.

Advertisements

March 18, 2010 - Posted by | Music, music, concert, review, Reviews, world music | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

6 Comments »

  1. I saw them at the Shrine. They tore it up, oldschool style.

    Comment by Gianni | March 18, 2010 | Reply

  2. Great review. I saw Spanglish Fly in Williamsburg at Rose Live last month, and they blew the roof off the place. The club was packed and sweaty. This is an AMAZING band to see live. Catch them while they’re still playing small clubs.

    Comment by Mark Sigmund | March 18, 2010 | Reply

  3. I have seen this band numerous times and they ALWAYS rock! So much fun and fantastic music!

    Comment by JB | March 20, 2010 | Reply

  4. I’ve been a huge fan of Spanglish Fly since seeing them for the first time at Camaradas this summer. Can’t wait to see them March 31st at R-Bar! | http://bit.ly/9gm19M

    Comment by Brendan Young | March 24, 2010 | Reply

  5. They’re actually a bit more eclectic than most revivalist bands, and that’s a good thing.

    Comment by Arthur | March 25, 2010 | Reply

  6. Right on! These guys have sabor!

    Comment by arturo | March 28, 2010 | Reply


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s