CD (Arod 52096), Released 2011;
Oomph! What a pristine and heavily swinging vibes-based based salsa, mambo and jazzy boogaloo project. This one brings to mind the best of the Joe Cuba / Jimmy Sabater / Cheo Feliciano collaborations of the '60s and '70s. A modern take on the classic sounds of the golden age of Latin dance music. Vocalistas con estilo George Luis Balmaseda, Johnny Crespo and Victor Muñiz are backed by some heavy hitters like bassist Rene Camacho (who has worked with Jack Costanzo, Bobby Matos, Jazz on the Latin Side All Stars, Susie Hansen...) pianist Joe Rotundi (Bongo Logic, Caravana Cubana, Pete Escovedo) and percussionist Angelo Rodriguez (Chino Espinoza) and others. This is the kind of project we wait for here at elWatusi. Take a listen to the groove on Por Falta De Compresion ...the essence of sabor. On Chata Kun Kun Victor Muñiz gives props to dozens of iconic influences. After hearing Chapter 1 we predict that future bands will be giving their props to Lucky 7 Mambo.
So, don't just sit there... buy this gem right now! Very Highly Recommended. (BP, 2011-05-08)
Inspired by the multi-ethnic music-fusion of 1950s and 60s’ Spanish Harlem, Lucky 7 brings to the west coast the high energy sounds of the classic mambo. The band features the haunting harmonies of the vibraphone, an unlikely instrument now as much as it was in the 50s and 60s. Featuring some of the hardest-working musicians in LA, the band is inspired by old-school greats like Jimmy Sabater, Cheo Feliciano, and Joe Cuba. This uniquely American-made style draws the best of the Cuban son, African-American jazz and Puerto Rican soul. It incorporates both English and Spanish lyrics flowing in and out of the same tune and offers up not just a swingin’ dance beat, but a thoughtful account of love lost, Latin pride, and clever double-entendres. Lucky 7 band members, united by their love of mambo, bring to the stage the flavor of the past with the intensity of the present.
George Balmaseda, vocals
George has sung and toured worldwide with many of the greats, including Tito Puente, Celia Cruz, La Lupe, Oscar de Leon, Ruben Blades, Tito Nieves, Jose "El Canario" Alberto, Rey de la Paz, Ismael Quintana, Ismael Miranda, Camilo Azuquita, Tony Vega and Ray Sepulveda. George's voice has been utilized in many TV and radio commercials.
Rene Camacho, bass
Rene has many production and arranging credits, and has performed for musical theater and television. He has worked with such outstanding national acts and local artists as Celia Cruz, Dizzy Gillespie, the Pointer Sisters, Marylin McCoo, Poncho Sanchez, Luis Conte, Buddy Collette, Francisco Aguabella, Bobby Matos, Conte Condoli, Bob Mintzer, Jose Rizo's Jazz on the Latin Side All-Stars, Warren Vache, Lew Tabacken and Billy Davis, Jr., Ray Sepulveda, and the Tucson Symphony.
Joey De Leon, Jr., percussion
Percussionist JOEY DE LEON, JR graduated from the Manhattan School of Music, where he received a B.M. in classical percussion and the George Shick Award for outstanding musicianship. Joey has performed with Dave Valentin, Tito Puente, Sheila E., Orquesta Broadway, Roland Vazquez, Francisco Aguabella, Tupac Shakur, Giovanni Hidalgo, Jose Luis "Changuito" Quintana, Raphael, Luis Conte, Rudy Regalado, Marcos Loya, the Estrada Brothers, Jose Mangual, and many others.
Kevin Ricard, percussion
Kevin, a native of Santa Monica, California has been one of Los Angeles’ most in demand percussionists for many years. His resume is a virtual “who’s who” of the music business, having played in every genre and every field in LA’s diverse music scene. You have seen him performing with artists such as Stevie Wonder, Kenny Loggins, Steve Winwood, Lionel Richie, Sergio Mendes, Celia Cruz, Patti LaBelle, Chaka Khan, Bette Midler, The Temptations, Dianne Reeves and many others. You’ve heard him on recordings from Take 6, Joe Zawinul, Sintesis, Queen Latifah, Marc Anthony, Wayne Shoter, Natalie Cole, Jill Scott, Kenny Loggins, Enrique Iglesias, Kirk Whalum, Christina Aguilera and many more. You have heard him on film scores for films such as The Hangover, The Hangover 2, The Pink Panther 1 & 2, The Great Debaters, Speed, A Bug’s Life, Woman on Top, The Adam’s Family Values, and many more. Kevin is perhaps best known for his constant presence on television. He was the percussionist on “American Idol” for eight seasons. He was also in the orchestra for “Dancing with the Stars” for the first three seasons. He was on “America’s Got Talent” for two seasons. He’s appears on many annual shows such as The Grammy Awards, The Image Awards, The TV Land Awards, An Evening of Stars, A Home for the Holidays and VH-1 Divas.
Currently, he can be seen every weeknight on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
Angel Rodriguez, percussion
Angelo Rodriguez was born on July 16, 1974 in Downey, California, to Puerto Rican parents Maria and Angel Rodriguez Sr.. Angelo started performing at the age of nine at a local church where his family attended. The first band Angelo had the chance to perform with was New Creation, directed Andrew Crouchs’ musical director, Alberto Salas. At the age of 16 Angelo began his early career as a musician performing at all the local nightclub in Los Angeles. He attended rehearsals and performed five nights a week while attending High School. From then on Angelo has performed with the following artist: Joan Sabastian (Currently touring Mexico and the U.S.), Britney Spears (In the Zone promotional tour), Nelly Furtado (Area 1 Tour 2001), Jagged Edge (Jay Leno Tonight Show), Jennifer Lopez , Celia Cruz, Barry Manilow, The Long Beach Symphony, The Modesto Symphony, California State University in Long Beach Steel Drum Orchestra, The Ricky Minor Band, Tribute to Donny Hathaway, The Temptations, Ozomatli, Obie Bermudez, Tito Nieves, and Pete Conde Rodriguez.
Joe Rotundi, piano
Joe has performed and recorded with many Latin Jazz greats in his musical career, including Herb Alpert, Pete Escovedo, Tolu, Vikki Carr, Linda Ronstadt, Arturo Sandoval, Doc Severinson, Alex Acuna, Justo Almario, the Estrada Brothers, Rudy Regalado and Chevere, Bongo Logic, John Pisano and Candi Sosa. Joe was featured on the recent Latin Jazz release of Herb Alpert, and the current Milestone CD of the Estrada Brothers. He was the pianist on the Paul Rodriguez's TV show, and played on the "Dirty Dancing" and "Mambo Kings" soundtracks.
Craig Fundyga, Vibraphone
There was never a time when percussionist Craig Fundyga did
not know exactly what he wanted to do.
Self-taught since the age of 5, he immersed himself into learning the
rhythmic, and harmonic aspects of
music. Being from a small Pennsylvania town, he felt the need to expand
into a bigger city. He moved to Los
Angeles in 1984,and honed his skills at the Grove School of Music. Since
then he has performed in many live
concerts and recorded music for the hit FOX television show Malcom
in the Middle, the NBC prime-time show Friends and also
many major theatrical releases including Die Hard, Wedding Crashers,
Labor Pains and Swingers among others...Craig has performed for
many celebrities including Barbara Streisand, Elizabeth Taylor, Quincy
Jones, and numerous others. He has also recorded with such noteworthy
legends as Plas Johnson, Micky Dolenz, and Jim Gentry. Craig is
fluent in all styles of music.