Pete Rodriguez & His Orchestra / Pete Rodriguez

Right On! Ahi Na' Ma!

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Pete Rodriguez was a couple years removed from "Pete's Boogaloo" in 1971, when he recorded Right On! Ahi Na' Ma!, and the album found him readily embracing the freewheeling descargas and guaguancos of salsa. Although he had lost a couple members of his long-standing band (which had been active in Spanish Harlem since the early '60s), the replacements acquitted themselves well, and the group's vocalists -- Alberto Gonzales along with his brothers Manny and Richie Rodriguez -- formed just the anchor needed for a good salsa LP. "Aprende a Bailar" is a torrid opener, with excellent work from all quarters: Pete's piano, heavy-weight brass, and intricate percussion. There were no real crossovers to mainstream material here, as Pete had done in the past, no cover of "Here Comes the Judge" or something similar. Still, the band modernizes in different (and no less interesting) ways, pitting brass against electric guitar and bass in "Algun Dia" for an interesting effect.

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