Johnny Colon / Johnny Colon & Orchestra

Boogaloo Blues

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Johnny Colon found a big hit within the Latin community during 1966-1967 with his blending of the burgeoning boogaloo craze and the earthier, subdued tones of the blues. A trombone player first and foremost, Colon also handled the vocals (with a straining tenor) and plinked out a few piano lines as well. Despite the initial success, however, Colon never found lasting fame, and his first record (Boogaloo Blues) shows why. The title single had a halting tempo and featured skeletal playing from a band that was strong but never virtuosic. Colon, meanwhile, vamped over the band with his vocals, but never anchored the song. The rest of the record focused on Colon's new arrangements of forms both traditional ("Guantanamera") and modernized ("Descarga"). It's an interesting period piece, but doesn't compete with the fiery work of his contemporaries: Willie Colón, Ray Barretto, Larry Harlow.

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