Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Orquesta Guarare - Renaissance (Inca, 1979) aka Ray De La Paz - S/T (Fania, 1995)

Orquesta Guarare is one of those excellent groups from what I like to call the "precipitacion radiactiva de Ray Barretto" : the Ray Barretto fallout (for once, something sounds more eloquent in English than in Spanish). Creative differences between Barretto and his band in the late 70s led to a musical fault line. At the risk of oversimplifying, the members wanted to play straight Latin dance music, running contrary to Barretto's Latin jazz and fusion tendencies. Eventually, the Ray Barretto band fired their own leader, and in the wake of this upheaval a number of Ray Barretto bands emerged in a chain reaction the details of which I can never quite get straight. What I do know is that among those bands, two of the best were Tipica 73 (who I will post soon) and the group featured here today. [Anyone who has more detailed information on the Ray Barretto fallout, feel free to add in the comments!]

Renaissance is the second effort from Orquesta Guarare, re-released by Fania as the self-titled Ray De La Paz in 1995, though I'm not quite sure as to the details of the reissue. To my knowledge, their first album has never been released on CD. Guarare originally featured the great Tito Gomez & Ruben Blades duo on vocals, but by their first recording date the singing duties would belong to Ray De La Paz, who you hear on Renaissance. In addition to working with Barretto (most notably on Rican/Struction), De La Paz has also recorded with Louie Ramirez (the Ramirez/De La Paz duo would pioneer "Salsa Romantica" with the Noche Caliente album), and is presently a member of the Spanish Harlem Orchestra. Nicky Marrero protege Jimmy Delgado, who was playing bongos in Willie Colon and Hector Lavoe's band at about the same time, leads on percussion.

Though not as inventive as the man that Orquesta Guarare left, the band plays some seriously solid dance music with tinges of Barretto here and there. Pay attention to the sound of the production, as, in my opinion, this is the beginnings of modern Latin production value (listen to Spanish Harlem Orchestra today to see what I mean). My favorite on here by far is the heavy Maria, exhibiting some of the more poignant lyricism of the album. Oh, that chorus....

Maria, quiero saber, si tu me vas a querer
(Maria, I want to know, if you are ever going to love me)

Guapo is a lot of fun as well, a warning to "Guapo" 's everywhere. It's fairly difficult for me to directly translate this connotation of Guapo, but think of it as a egotistical guy who thinks he has everything. Ten' cuidado, que al guapo le llega lo suyo (Be careful: the guapo gets his). The percussive explosion on the outro of Que Linda Te Ves will have your butt movin'. Renaissance isn't groundbreaking, but an excellent album nonetheless and a great way to see the sheer talent backing up Ray Barretto in the mid-70s.

10 comments:

pepanito said...

This is terrific!

Thanks

csb said...

Chevere!
Thanks!
CSB

csb said...

Chevere!
Thanks!
CSB

csb said...

Sorry for the double thank-you post- meanwhile files downloaded from both locations are reported as corrupt by RAR- any suggestions?
Thanks
CSB

HaevySalsa said...

Julian -- Very insightful comments, man. Gracias. Adding to your comments...Guarare was a great band, featuring some of the baddest cats in the NY salsa scene of the late 70s. The band also featured very heavy arrangements. From what I understand, in addition to the different artistic routes Barretto and some of his band members wanted to take, Ray sometimes had difficulties paying the musicians. This undoubtedly contributed to the various "fallouts" you describe above, which led to the formation of Tipica 73 and of Guarare a couple of years later. This was not uncommon then with Fania top acts...Ismael Miranda's "Orquesta Revelacion" disbanded with most of the musicians joining a band called "La Unica". La Unica featured Junior Cordoba on vocals, Oscar Hernandez on piano, Eladio Perez on congas, Joe Santiago on bass, etc... Bad cats, all of them. In early 75, Pacheco's band left him and formed "Conjunto Candela" with Nestor Sanchez on vocals. All great bands, but when you left a Fania act, you fell out of grace with the “powers that be” at that time (Pacheco, Massuci). BTW, Guarare's first album was titled "Guarare" and it was issued on CD by Pimita Records. You can buy at Descarga.com

csb said...

Just found their first album "guarare" on emusic. No info is given about the band but it matches up with heavysalsa's info. this is a pay subscription site, but the prices are reasonable. And you can get a bunch of downloads free with a trial subscription.
Here's the url:
http://www.emusic.com/album/Guarare-Guarare-MP3-Download/11115324.html
CSB

El Manicero said...

Man this site was so good. I would love to work on a book with the information on this. You rock. And HeavySalsa, you rock as well. Thanks from this Nuyorican.

Julianozain said...

The Sun of the Latin Music is, originally,the title of a 1974musical masterpiece by Eddie Palmieri.So high was its quality that granted him,beside Lucumi,Macumba,Vuddoo and other works, in a row, the very first Grammy music awards as recognition and virtually opened the door for the Latin Grammy music awards as all we know nowaday.
Mantengan viva la flama..

OSCAR CRUZ said...

OK LASTIMA LOS LINK ESTAN ROTOS, PERO DE TODAS FORMAS GRACIAS POR LA INFORMACION, NO SABIA NADA SOBRE DICHA ORQUESTA

francisco said...

SALUDOS DE UN BLANCO CON EL SABOR DE
UN NEGRO AFRICANO,TENGO ESTE LP,UNA JOYA MUSICAL,QUE BUENO SERIA QUE MONTARAS EL LINK PARA TENERLO EN FORMATO DIGITAL.
HASTA PRONTO MUCHACHOS.

ATTE: PAQUIRRI BARRETO.