With subtle rhythmic intensity in voice and song, Jose Conde takes his Cuban roots and grafts them onto a dizzying range of Afro-Latin styles. A prolific and inventive singer, songwriter and composer, Conde's debut cd with his band Ola Fresca (It means "Fresh Wave" and also "Hello Fresh"), titled Ay! Que Rico, garnered the group much well deserved attention and respect. Self produced and released in June 2004 on his own PiPiKi Records label, the album has been praised as "innovative, highly danceable, pleasantly cerebral" (Ed Morales-New York Newsday), the band as "superb" (descarga.com), and the songs "sung by Conde with the natural grace of the best soneros with a touch of contemporary elegance" (Miguel Sirgado-El Nuevo Herald) AY! QUE RICO serves up a spirited celebration in rhythm and song which smoothly and subtlely depart from traditional Cuban music at times incorporating contemporary elements such as Funk, Jazz and drum loops and set the stage for Conde's continued foray into Latin fink experimentation with his current 2007 Mr Bongo release (R)Evolucion.
AY! QUE RICO is a tour de force and homage to his dual musical legacies Cuba and the US. While 11 songs include familiar son, mambo and cha cha cha rhythms as well as the island's lesser-known Changüí, there are also 2 new rhythms and a additional bonus track featuring a remix of Conde's Perez Prado-esque mambo "Bolitas de Arroz con Pollo" by DJ Spam of the Spam Allstars.
In Conde's "Goza con Mi Changüí" arranged by Guantanamo native and founder of the legendary group Los Karachi, Ola Fresca Tres player Pablo Moya employs swift trumpet and trombone be-bop lines smoothly to bring the old Cuban form to modern-times. Conde continues the exploration in a song called "El Clasificado" (The Classified Ad), a run on sentence which is a sort of neo-Buddhist quest for love and peace which integrates funk horns over songo rhythms (reminiscent of the late Anikulapo Fela Kuti) while accentuating the dance groove with hints of post-modern New York salsa.
In "Do U Dance On 3?," Conde plays with the idiosyncrasies of the popular Latin dance dichotomy of either dancing on 1 or on 2 and teases connoisseurs to "relax" and dance on 3. For this song, he created a new rhythm he calls funk mambo in 3 featuring drum loops, electric bass, percussion and guest clarinetist Anat Cohen soloing around the male and female vocal chorus. In "El Bombo" a tune about the visa Lottery, Conde creates another rhythmic groove by fusing samba and rumba for the verses before exploding with a post-Fania salsa "coro" section, and then releasing an all out conga and flute descarga.
The music is a very "after the work is done... it's time to ease into a good tasty-time kind of mood," explains Jose Conde about the album. "This popular saying, AY! QUE RICO is a celebration, an affirmation of life-conveniently expressed in four rhythmically even syllables which most closely translate in English to 'Ooh! It's so Good!'"
In recording AY! QUE RICO , the artist/producer Conde, aimed for a live natural sound. Recorded at the renowned LoHo studio in New York City and mixed by multiple Grammy® winner Jon Fausty , Conde utilized varying configurations of Ola Fresca and special guests (ranging from a quartet to an 11-piece orchestra).