March 4, 2013
Orquesta El Macabeo | Salsa Bestial
TITLE: Salsa Bestial
Hey, here’s Puerto Rico’s answer to Bio Ritmo. A 12-piece band of musicians with backgrounds in rock, punk and reggae, Orquesta El Macabeo plays classic NYC-style salsa dura with an imaginative, progressive edge that sets them apart from your standard salsa romantica and pa’l bailador combos. This band, by way of contrast with those two poles, is filled with new ideas and unexpected juxtapositions. For example tracks 2 and 6, neither any longer than a pop single, drive the clave at exhilarating punk rock tempos. 4 starts out languid, shifts into a classic salsa midtempo with some precise contrapuntal vocals, and somehow ends up echoing Mexican banda. The seriously groovy 5 is a tour-de-force of woozy keyboards (a la Bio Ritmo’s Marlysse Simmons), in-the-pocket trombone, and soulful alto sax and trumpet. And 7 features a Fender Rhodes soundalike keyboard, a horn arrangement right out of 1940s bebop, and a phase shifter. The future of salsa, with bands like La Excelencia, Bio Ritmo and these guys, is starting to sound like it’s going to have the sophistication of jazz with twice the swing and three times the sabor – I’ll sign up for that.
TOP TRACKS: 2 4 5 6 7
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