Oscar D'León

La Formula Original

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Veteran bassist D'Leon's larger band signifies the mambo, clave and danzon rhythms of the Caribbean isles with infectious percussion, multiple horn backdrops, and layered vocal coro behind his own singing and that of Jose Mangual, Jr., Johnny Silva, Humberto Becerra, Samuel Seijas, Raul Agras or Milton Cardona. Oscar Reyes lays down solid piano montuno, and though there isn't much soloing, the collective happiness of the band comes shining through. D'Leon either wrote or arranged all but two of the ten cuts -- the sharp horns and sharper vocals of Moises "Yumuri" Valle's "Mi Mujer Es Una Bomba," and the only slower number for the date, a wistfully flavored look at old folks; "Mi Viejo" has harp, strings and synth tacked onto a near-tango-metered lament. The rest of the program is upbeat, exciting party music, much of it danceable. They don't let up, starting with the "Bomba," leading to the love paean to "Michelle" (with "William Tell" horse romp quotes), the popping staccato group vocals of "Deja Que Te Quiera," a rave-up about a female's spectacular hair-do on "Monta Al Pelo," the proclamatory, more "ah-oh" vocally poppish "El Pregonero," and the interactive "Prestame Tu Piel" with its conversational lead vocal and chorus. Jazz fans will relate to "Esperando Por Ella/Waiting for Ella," and the closer, "No Hay Mujer Mala," quotes "Fascinating Rhythm" several times. The musicianship is consistently solid, hugely conceived and played with puffy-chested pride. After listening to this timeless Latin-jazz amalgam, you definitely want to hear it again and again.

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