In the notes to the three Rough Guides he recently assembled for World Music Network Pablo Yglesias said that he was looking for innovations. In this compilation dedicated to the work of salsa pianist Wayne Gorbea and his band, Yglesias is looking for something older, steadier, “pure, uncut… unblemished… classic.” Gorbea has been around as a musician since the 1970s. He and his Salsa Picante band play firm salsa dura with much cowbell, trumpet, trombone, percussion, and the piano proudly ramping up and down. The brass squeals (in “Djame Un Lado”), or is soft and rousing (in “Pa’Puerto Rico”), or lazy and scorching (in “Para La Rumba”). Gorbea’s piano plays a supporting role for much of Introducing, occasionally getting a chance to come into its own, most notably in the album’s tickly, enticing opening. The majority of the compilation is occupied by studio tracks taken from four different albums (the oldest from the late ‘70s, the most recent released in 2006), while two long live tracks at the end were borrowed from the group’s 2004 release Live from New York. Salsa is the focus but there are also excursions into rumba and mambo. This is strong music, flair without flash.
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// Notes from the Road
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