Those house-rockin’ guys with the “New York attitude” – those “La Peluca” guys,” Dave Santiago & Latin Affair – are back and keepin’ it real with their long-awaited, outrageously-fresh and more-heavy-duty-than-ever second production! (I’m not kidding you – as I sit here writing while listening to this CD, I find I’m typing in clave!)
“Rumbeando En El Solar”delivers hard-driving authenticity, sparkling musicianship and dazzling originality throughout. Seven of its nine tracks were penned by Dave Santiago, Sr. and members of Latin Affair, and all arrangements -- including those of two refreshingly-presented standards -- plus the release’s recording, artwork, and production, are “in-house. Made in NYC”.
Core members onboard with founding bandleader, lead vocalist and percussionist Dave, Sr. are his son, flutist, arranger and now, Latin Affair’s musical director, Dave, Jr. – a prodigy who’s matured artistically before our eyes -- plus mega-talented bassist Willie Rodriguez (son of the late Roberto Rodriguez, Sr.), amazing pianist Amy Millan, conguero, Rolando “takin- it-to-the-next level” Ramos, and original member, timbalero/bongocero Danny Morales, trombonist, arranger-extraordinaire and “main staple,” Rick Faulkner, stellar Grammy award winner and nominee trumpeter Ray Vega, original member and composer, tres, cuatro and guitar maestro Luis “Carrasceao” Rodriguez, inimitable lead vocalist Pete Pagan (the-guy-whose-energy-rivals-that-TV commercial-rabbit’s), and talented newcomer, singer/composer Chuito Dejesus.
Add dynamic trumpeter Vicente Cantu, bongocero Jose “Pee wee” Quintana, and invited guests conguero Tito Roque, guitarist John Campos, trombonist Dave Chamberlain, pianist Edwin Sanchez , violinist Ali Bello, and voice overs by Evelyn Rojas to the mix, and the result is a must-have production that inspires, energizes and heals -- physically, emotionally and spiritually.
“Rumbeando En El Solar” elegantly bridges the past, present and future, as well as generational divides. Showcasing Luis Rodriguez’s and John Campo’s eloquent Cuatro and Guitar artisty is the touching “Don Aquilino,” composed by Dave Santiago, Sr., a goose bump-rendering number not only paying tribute to his father, who passed away before the recording was completed, but also, in Santiago’s words, “to our Jibaro heritage, and those who paved the way for us here in the U.S.”
“And after all is said and done,” concludes the bandleader, “Dave Santiago & Latin Affair never forgets its Bronx roots, and represents that Latin music with a New York attitude, everywhere they go!” And they just keep getting better and better!
Vicki Sola’, 89.1 WFDU-FM radio host/producer of “Que Viva La Musica,”
and columnist, Latin Beat Magazine