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King Conga

Artist:   Johnny Blas

Style Released Album Tracks Charts
Latin Jazz 1999 15 0
Buy_now

$11.99

© 1999 Ubiquity Recordings. All rights reserved.
Audio album download includes album tracks, liner notes and cover art.
All audio tracks in MP3-VBR format. About LPM album downloads.
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# Name Play Time Info
01  Con Ganas
Alternative text
00:35 1 of 5 bombas de Puerto Rico
02  King Conga
Alternative text
04:53 trombone solo by dan weinstein
03  Mi Madre
Alternative text
05:01 cha-cha dedicated to Johnny's mother Angelina
04  The Sidewinder
Alternative text
05:37 swinging boogaloo
05  The Beat of the Conga
Alternative text
00:19 2 of 5 bombas de Puerto Rico
06  Quien Sabe
Alternative text
04:10 conjunto style son montuno
07  Sobale
Alternative text
04:42 charanga with Johnny's first flute solo
08  Socorro
Alternative text
04:54 from bossa nova to bolero-cha
09  Rican Conga
Alternative text
00:33 3 of 5 bombas de Puerto Rico
10  Inglesas
Alternative text
05:50 another flute solo from Johnny
11  M.J.'s Mambo
Alternative text
05:51 trombone solo by Edwin Blas
12  Little Sunflower
Alternative text
05:03 can't get enough bomba puertoriqueña
13  Our Sound
Alternative text
00:57 4 of 5 bombas de Puerto Rico
14  Debbie's Mambo
Alternative text
08:06 dedicated to Debbie Blas
15  Bomba Dance
Alternative text
00:44 5 of 5 bombas de Puerto Rico
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Pure puerto-rican soul on this latin jazz release from percussionist band-leader Johnny Blas!

This latest release from percussionist/bandleader Johnny Blas, his fourth as a leader, exhibits signs of growth and more depth in his and the group's musical interpretations and compositions. Propelled mainly by the triple threat of Johnny Blas on percussion and flute, Dan Weinstein on trombone and violin, and Mark Gutiérrez on piano and guitar, the group has hammered out their own style and sound, working together for years.

Also present in this recording as in previous releases is the healthy herd of four trombones, deploying monster brass colors, reminiscent of some of the early urban sounds of New York's Latin bands. Aside from the title track King Conga, a Dan Weinstein composition in the traditional Latin jazz genre, the CD also features many other compositions which fuse other Latin rhythms and styles with jazz. Mi Madre is a jazzy chachachá which pianist Mark Gutiérrez takes advantage of. The classic Lee Morgan composition The Sidewinder is transformed here into a boogaloo. Sobale, a Johnny Blas original, is a pachanga borderline descarga where everyone gets off. Another interesting composition is Socorro, composed and arranged by Dan Weinstein in the vein of the bossa nova and the bolero-chá. But my choice track is M.J.'s Mambo. Composed and arranged by Gutiérrez, the selection smokes with mucho sabor and commendable solos by Gutiérrez on piano and tres guitar, Johnny Blas on percussion, and Edwin Blas on the trombone.

Seven years into his career, percussionist Johnny Blas continued to propel the Latin jazz idiom further into the 21st century with some of the most exquisitely arranged, consummately executed music the genre had heard in some time. Not a major departure from his first two albums with Ubiquity's Cubop imprint (1997s Skin & Bones and 1998s Mambo 2000), King Conga nonetheless maintains the standards of those sets. Joining Blas once again are guitarist/pianist Mark Gutierrez and trombonist/violinist Dan Weinstein: linchpins of the percussionist's combo since his 1995 debut, A Night in L.A. In addition to lending their substantial improvisational skills to the date, they combine with Blas to form a formidable writing trio. Percussionist Angelito Rodriguez also makes impressive contributions, sharing credit with Blas on five cuts. It's worth noting that King Conga's eight originals (not counting the tasty percussion interludes sprinkled throughout) are more than capable of holding their own alongside Freddie Hubbard's "Little Sunflower" and Lee Morgan's "The Sidewinder," the second and third cover versions ever recorded by the group. Album highlights include "Sobale," an up-tempo track that adds both flute and violin to an otherwise trombone-heavy mixture; "Socorro," a soft-stepping ballad adorned with a rich string arrangement by Weinstein; and "Debbie's Mambo," a lively eight-minute track presumably dedicated to Blas' wife. The latter features an outstanding arrangement for the band's four trombones and an inspired (and slightly deranged) piano solo from Weinstein. This is Latin jazz (circa 1999) at its very best.

  King Conga - album credits
Mark V. Engineer, Mixing
Dan Weinstein Trombone, Violin, Viola, Producer, Horn (Baritone), Mixing, Musical Director, Coro, Liner Notes
Johnny Blas Flute, Percussion, Arranger, Conga, Choir, Chorus, Campana, Mixing, Coro, Liner Notes, Main Performer, Producer, Bongos
Jeff Bender Photography
Julia Peterson Artwork
Edwin Blas Trombone, Mixing, Choir, Chorus, Coro, Arranger
Terry Delgado Maracas, Coro, Choir, Chorus
Kerry Loeschen Trombone, Arranger, Mixing, Producer
Paul Perez Bass
Angelito Rodriguez Percussion, Bongos, Arranger, Timbales, Guira, Campana, Tambor, Cascara, Guiro, Claves
Humberto Ruiz Trombone
Mark Gutierrez Guitar, Mixing, Tres, Arranger, Piano