Even though the Estrada Brothers have been making music since the 1950’s, the band never had the opportunity to record. In 1989, I produced and released our debut recording simply entitled, "The Estrada Brothers".
After being out of print for a few years, here again is the auspicious debut, digitally remastered for you to enjoy.
– Raul Rico, Jr.
"The Estrada Brothers" - Salsa is served in hot and mild flavors by this Oxnard-based band, represented by a diverse set on their release. The brothers Estrada – Henry on saxes, Ruben on vibes, piano and congas, and second generation “brother” Ruben “Cougar”,” Jr. on drums and percussion – have led the small but feisty salsa/Latin jazz scene in the area. The band’s percussionist Raul Rico, Jr., aside from being a hot player, has done his part in spreading the gospel over the airwaves, hosting his long-standing “Onda Latina,” every Sunday night at 8 on KCSB. Bassist Malcolm Ian Peters and guitarist Charlie Wisuri fill out the ranks, and there are featured guest shots by trumpeter, Jeff Elliot, saxist Gary Lefevre, percussionist Ramon Banda, and pianist Joe Rotondi, Jr.
On this album, the material ranges from salsafied jams like “Celaya” and “Descarga Estrada” to a reading of the Billy Ocean pop hit “Suddenly” (arranged by Elliot), a spicy variation on Mel Torme’s “The Christmas Song” and a Ruben Estrada original called, fittingly, “For Cal Tjader.” If the late vibist Tjader popularized the merger of Latin and jazz temperaments, the Estrada Brothers carry the torch of that tradition proudly.
- Josef Woodard for The Santa Barbara Independent, August 16, 1990
The Estrada Brothers is Ventura County’s most respected and well-known Latin-jazz band. For many years fans demanded some kind of recording from their local stars and it’s finally available. It’s simply entitled The Estrada Brothers. For the most part, following in the Cal Tjader tradition, the band is primarily assembled around the very talented vibraphonist Ruben Estrada. In fact, whenever Cal Tjader played in that area, just north of Los Angeles, Cal would frequently call Ruben up to the bandstand and invite him to sit in on vibes.
The recording also includes the added talents of established local L.A. musicians such as the versitle timbalero Ramon Banda (Poncho Sanchez band), trumpeter Jeff Elliot (Flora Purim/Airto band), pianist Joe Rotondi, Jr. (Alex Acuna, Bongologic) and critically acclaimed saxophonist Gary Lefebvre.
The other band members are brother Henry Estrada (sax), Ian Peters (bass), Charlie Wisuri (guitar), Raul Rico, Jr. (congas/percussion/producer) and 20-year-old son Ruben Estrada Jr. who is an up-and-coming drummer you’ll be more about in years to come. Raul Rico, Jr. is Ventura County’s prime Latin music instigator, especially with his Latin jazz / salsa radio show on KCSB 91.9 FM, Sunday nights 8 to 10 PM “Onda Latina” in Santa Barbara.
My favorite tune on the release is their beautiful rendition of Deodato’s "Amani". Vibist Ruben Estrada is very impressive on his original dedicated to Cal Tjader "For Cal Tjader" while "Descarga Estrada" is a joyous groove that develops into a jam session where everyone gets to show what they can do.
- Jose Rizo for Mambo Express Magazine, July 1990