Alegre All-Stars

The Alegre All-Stars

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Late in the '50s, Alegre label-head Al Santiago was inspired by the loose, funky sound of the live-in-the-studio Cuban Jam Session LPs on Panart (led by Julio Gutierrez and Nino Rivera), so he organized a similar session with Alegre friends and family, hereafter known as the Alegre All Stars. The music is completely unrestrained charanga and salsa, packed with excellent jamming, infectious singalongs, and, on several tracks, lengthy intros revealing the atmosphere inside the studio (pouring drinks are unsurprisingly the most-often-heard sounds). "Estoy Buscando a Kako" ("I Am Looking for Kako") is a delightful romp; the players repeat a variation of the title preceding each soloist, working their way to the end of the line with Kako himself taking a solo on his timbales. Just this side of anarchic confusion, but with surprisingly few missed notes, The Alegre All Stars is a legendary date -- and certainly one of the few records ever released that credit a bartender.

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