16 November 2008
AGUABELLA - HITTING HARD!!
Francisco Aguabella for Epsilon from 1977.
Super tough latin business featuring the 500mph destruction of Edu Lobo's "Casa Fuerte" - murder!!!
Review half inched from Latin Beat:
As a sworn "olu batá" drummer, Francisco Aguabella is revered asa Santería drum priest, a master of tradition. But in the '60s he was also Peggy Lee's favorite conga drummer and toured the country with her band. Since coming to the U.S. in 1957, the Matanzas-born Cuban drummer has been a pivotal force, incorporating traditional Afro-Cuban folkloric sounds into American pop and jazz.
A former member of the Latin rock band Malo, Aguabella is in his prime on this reissue of his 1977 Epsilon Records album (his second asa leader). Hitting Hard is street-style rare groove fusing Brazilian, salsa, Latin jazz, and funk flavors with a cast that includes San Francisco vibist Nerio De Gracia, the dynamic Cedric Deon Bi on vocals, and percussion great Armando Peraza.
Ramón's Desire kicks it off featuring the rich voice of Deon Bi, whose expressive articulation and soulful delivery are impressive throughout.
Afro-Nue, co-written by Aguabella and Peraza, is a traditional piece that has Francisco chanting, asa lone flute plays over drums and marimba in an intriguing kaleidoscopic counterpoint. The Edu Lobo composition, Casa Fuerte, is awe-inspiring due to Aguabella's drumming virtuosity, but Anna Maria is a dancehall reminder of his salsa days with César's Latin All-Stars in the Mission District.
Aguabella's been with everybody - Gillespie, Palmieri, Puente, Sinatra, Peggy Lee, Santana, Cal Tjader, Mongo, Katherine Dunham, and Malo. Les Blank produced a film on his life, Sworn To The Drum, but this reissue projects his creative side at a fruitful point in his career. Thanks to the British jazz dance scene and fans like Japanese DJ and Latin Jazz aficionado Raphael Sebbag, of the United Future Organisation, there's an Aguabella revival underway and it's "Hitting Hard!" (JV)