Ismael Rivera / Kako / Kako y su Orquesta

Lo Último en la Avenida

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During the '50s, Ismael Rivera had been featured in one of the best groups in all of Latin music, Cortijo y Su Combo, but he spent a significant chunk of the '60s behind bars on drug charges. By the dawn of the salsa era, he had refound himself, with a new band that he fronted, Los Cachimbos. Their work is excellent, but 1971's Lo Último en la Avenida is a different type of album, and a superior one at that. Paired with Kako, one of the other best Puerto Rican congueros of the era (beside Cortijo himself), Rivera sounds as energized as he was during the late '50s. The opening "Mi Negrita Me Espera" is equaled only by Rivera's virtuosic vocalizing on "El Cumbanchero," and he's closely followed (at an incredible pace) by Kako and his combo. Lo Último en la Avenida is a one-off that rightly should have been followed up multiple times.

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