Roberto Roena

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Poderoso Review

by José A. Estévez, Jr.

In actuality, this is a reissue of Roberto Roena's first, pre-Apollo Sound foray as a bandleader. Originally recorded in 1967, Roena and trumpet player Elías Lopés (still members of El Gran Combo) reunited with Mario Ortiz, sax players Al Abreus and Rafael "Tata" Palau, bass player Lin Torres, pianist Mario Román and Enrique Avilés, timbalero Francisco "Golé" Fernández, bongo player Daniel "Maninín" Vázquez, and Roena playing congas. They give their all (some of these sidemen would reunite a couple of years later for the Apollo Sound). Standouts include "Si los Rumberos Me Llaman," "Se Pone Duro," "Que Se Fuñan," and "Descarga los Megatones." A rare item, it foretells a good future for bandleader and company. Vocals by Camilo Azuquita.

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