Tropicana Nights

Tropicana Nights

by Paquito D'Rivera


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In celebration of the famous Tropicana casino in Havana, Cuba, D'Rivera assembled a 22-piece big band to play many of the famous tunes that the "most beautiful nightclub in the world" was known for in the '50s. The band is a killer, rising up to the vaunted musicianship of D'Rivera, including trumpeters Mike Ponella and Diego Urcola, trombonists Jimmy Bosch and William Cepeda, saxophonists Andres Boiarsky, Oscar Feldman and Manuel Valera, bassist Joe Santiago, timbales player Ralph Irizarry, drummer Mark Walker and percussionist Milton Cardona, among others. The first tune, "Mambo A La Kenton," sets an apropos tone in that it was composed by Armando Romeu, who led the Tropicana Orchestra. Staccato horns and cha cha lines not only suggest Stan Kenton's fascination with this music, but reflect the influence of Machito as well. The cha cha romp "Old Miami Sax" has the sax section trading fours and twos, then joining in counterpointed frenzy. Brass and reeds mix up melodies interactively on D'Rivera's fabulous jazzy chart for the title cut, while the leader's tribute to old partner "Chucho" (Valdes) was done many years ago in a smaller context, but is recapitulated on this happily expanded, mambo-ized version. There are such familiar tunes as Mario Bauza's classic "Mambo Inn," with Paquito's clarinet and extra horn inserts in the melody, and Chico O'Farrill's "El Coronel Y Marina," which has more mambo/cha cha-informed, leaping staccato lines. There are three compositions by Ernesto Duarte, all slower tunes. Ballad "Cicuta Tibia," with vocalist Brenda Feliciano, doubles and then halves the time, while Lucrecia sings on "Como Fue." He also penned the slower instrumental cha cha "Sustancia." The lone non-big-band cut is the well-known "Peanut Vendor," with acoustic guitarist David Oquendo's strumming inspiring a five-piece vocal chorus in straight clave beat; Paquito's clarinet is the lone, heartsick wolf. Of the many ensembles D'Rivera has fronted, this is the one that not only hits closest to home, but evokes a shared passion for the Tropicana, which was the impetus for the Latin jazz movement itself. His extraordinarily informative liner notes about the history of the Tropicana is worth the price of the CD alone. Highly recommended, thoroughly enjoyable, and perhaps his magnum opus.

Product Details

Release Date: 09/28/1999
Label: Chesky Records
UPC: 0090368018625
catalogNumber: 186
Rank: 68484

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Paquito D'Rivera   Primary Artist,Clarinet,Alto Saxophone,Soprano Saxophone,Choir, Chorus
Luis Bonilla   Trombone
Lucrecia   Vocals
Milton Cardona   Conga
Gustavo Bergalli   Trumpet
Andres Boiarsky   Tenor Saxophone
William Cepeda   Trombone
Dario Eskenazi   Piano
Brenda Feliciano   Vocals,Choir, Chorus
Joe Gonzalez   Bongos
Ralph Irizarry   Timbales
Marshall McDonald   Baritone Saxophone
Mike Ponella   Trumpet
Diego Urcola   Trumpet
Mark Walker   Drums
Jimmy Bosch   Trombone
Joe Santiago   Bass
David Oquendo   Guitar,Choir, Chorus
Manuel Valera   Alto Saxophone
Oriente Lopez   Piano,Choir, Chorus
Noah Bless   Trombone
Adalberto Oré Lara   Trumpet
Alejandro Odio   Trumpet
Oscar Feldman   Tenor Saxophone

Technical Credits

David Chesky   Producer
Paquito D'Rivera   Arranger,Producer,Liner Notes
Edgar Sampson   Composer
Norman Chesky   Executive Producer
Ernesto Duarte   Arranger
Dario Eskenazi   Arranger
Chico O'Farrill   Arranger
Sandy Palmer Grassi   Engineer
Aldo Sampieri   Art Direction
Moisés Simóns   Composer
David Oquendo   Arranger
Barry Wolifson   Engineer
Armando Romeu   Arranger

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