New York's mid-'60s Latin music craze produced some fantastic bandleaders, many of whom are below the top layer of name-brand artists like Puente, Machito, and Rodriguez. Orlando Marin was among these lesser-known wonders. His second album, Que Chevere, Vol. II, released on the Alegre label, proves beyond doubt that though he wasn't a household name, Marin led one of the finest orchestras of his day. With a band sound so tight it's hard to believe it was a product of the "one take" era, along with clever, suave arrangements, Que Chevere deserves a place in history alongside Puente's Carnaval en Harlem or Rodriguez's Latin Twist as the finest mambo records of the mid-'60s. In "El Timbalero," Marin boastfully states, "soy el timbalero mayor" (I'm the best timbale player there is), before backing up his claim with a solo that should cause most to agree. Other highlights include scat-oriented vocal soloing on "Rico Melao" that is typical of the vocal excellence throughout -- taking leads throughout the LP were heavyweights Chivirico Davila, Cheo Feliciano, and Willie Torres -- before the band bursts into a churning bembe section, a rhythm many bandleaders shy away from for its folkloric depth. Had Marin recorded more, there is no doubt he would have enjoyed many more years in the spotlight.
AllMusic Review by Evan C. Gutierrez