Manny Oquendo

On the Move! (¡Muevete!)

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The strong and powerful influence of African music is hard to miss on this CD, which illustrates the rich cultural heritage of blacks in Bahia and Northeastern Brazil (a region that has produced many musical greats). Legends like Tito Puente, Tito Rodriguez, and Machito were on the scene, so aspiring young salseros assumed they had no choice but to give 200 percent. The percussionist and his longtime partner Andy Gonzales bring that unwavering work ethic to On the Move! (¡Muevete!), an outstanding live date recorded at Bimbo's 365 Club in San Francisco. When a 65-year-old Oquendo and his band Libre tear into Bobby Capo's familiar cha-cha "Piel Canela" and infectious originals like "No Cuentes," "Chaquilla Ideal," "Oquendo Y Libre" (a celebration of New York's salsa scene), and the descarga (Afro-Cuban jam) "Muevete un Poco," it's clear that a genuine master of salsa is very hard at work. Though salsa dominates this set, Oquendo triumphantly switches to Latin jazz for an engaging version of the Lester Young standard "Lester Leaps In."

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