Pérez Prado

A Proper Introduction to Perez Prado: The Mambo King

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The Proper label's Proper Introduction to Pérez Prado presents two dozen of his most popular recordings, largely drawn from the RCA-Victor catalog of the 1950s. Everything one would need to learn about Prado is here: the mambos, the high-velocity tempos, the punchy trumpet section, and Prado's patented grunts and hollers of encouragement. In addition to a tribute to Cuban conga master Chano Pozo, there is a mambo inspired by Stan Kenton's orchestra and a nutty opus patterned after the work of bandleader Billy May, which is equipped with a recurring quote from Harold Arlen's "Over the Rainbow." Comparable Prado collections are Rhino's Mondo Mambo, Columbia River Entertainment's Cocktail Hour, and RCA's Best of Pérez Prado: The Original Mambo No. 5. Each of these albums covers more or less the same ground. Proper's Prado disc is the musical equivalent of a strong cup of coffee and may be introduced into any set of circumstances where an enlivening agent is deemed necessary. That includes late-night driving, rigorous housework, and especially any party or gathering centered upon food preparation and convivial consumption of preferred beverages. For best results, Prado should be taken in combination with vintage recordings by Machito, Tito Puente, Xavier Cugat, Desi Arnaz, and Edmundo Ros.

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