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Estamos Gozando!
     

Estamos Gozando!

by Plena Libre
 
Puerto Rico's contributions to Cuban music (not to mention Spanish-language rap and rock) have often overshadowed the indigenous rhythms of the island. But throughout the history of modern Puerto Rican music, genius musicians have turned their expansive visions to the bomba and plena. These related forms, developed on the northern and southern coasts, respectively,

Overview

Puerto Rico's contributions to Cuban music (not to mention Spanish-language rap and rock) have often overshadowed the indigenous rhythms of the island. But throughout the history of modern Puerto Rican music, genius musicians have turned their expansive visions to the bomba and plena. These related forms, developed on the northern and southern coasts, respectively, follow a 2/4 time that's similar to merengue, on whose rhythmic foundation bandleaders such as Rafael Cortijo and Mon Rivera built a sophisticated dance music in the '50s. Those are just two of the musicians that Gary Nuñez's Plena Libre celebrate on ¡Estamos Gozando!. Plena Libre have picked up the torch once carried by Cortijo, who sought to make his country's music into mainstream pop. The sound of Gozando is reminiscent of tight, contemporary salsa -- unlike their countrymen Truco y Zaperoko, Plena Libre have less interest in jazzy exploration. Which doesn't mean that Gozando lacks for virtuosity. The trick ending of "Juan José," for example, is dynamic enough to inspire a double take. But the pumping, trombone-led band is best at raising a spirited party vibe, with big, multi-voiced harmony choruses and driving beats pounded out on the music's typical frame drums. The song selection presents something of a Plena greatest hits, including a medley of Cortijo numbers, songs by Mon Rivera, Cesar Concepción and Canario, all deities in the music's history. For traditional Puerto Rican music given a contemporary swing, Plena Libre is matchless.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Chris Nickson
As their name implies, Puerto Rico's Plena Libre have made their country's native plena rhythm their musical focus. Over the ten years of their existence, they've become one of the country's top bands, and to celebrate their anniversary, they've released this album of covers, their acknowledgement of some of the great composers of the genre. Yet while there's plenty of respect shown their forbears, they make the music very much their own. Leader Gary Nuñez has dedicated his life to plena, and his bass playing underpins the whole ensemble. But it's just one part of the brilliance. The crisp, elaborate layers of percussion move the music along, while the horns and vocals intertwine in careful arrangements that remain full of passion and abandonment. While most of the tracks are short and punchy, they do take the time to work up a fever on the seven minutes of "Tributo a Rafael Cortijo y Su Combo." There's plenty of sophistication on this album, an object lesson in the possibilities of the plena. But more than that, it's a disc that's full of pleasures.

Product Details

Release Date:
06/08/2004
Label:
Times Square Records
UPC:
0738572903923
catalogNumber:
9039

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Plena Libre   Primary Artist
Charlie Sepulveda   Trumpet,Guest Appearance
Alfredo de la Fe   Violin,Guest Appearance
William Cepeda   Trombone,Guest Appearance
Sammy Garcia   Conga,Guest Appearance
Josue Rosado   Vocals,Guest Appearance
Wichy Camacho   Vocals,Guest Appearance
Jorge Diaz   Trombone,Soloist
Hector Perez   Maracas,Guiro,Chequere,Guest Appearance
Yanira Torres   Vocals,Guest Appearance
Víctor Muñiz   Vocals,Punteo
Héctor Calderón   Maracas,Guest Appearance
Gary Nuñez   Bass
Gina Villanueva   Conga,Vocals
Candido Reyes   Guiro,Guest Appearance
Juan Castillo   Accordion,Guest Appearance
Carlos "Kalie" Villanueva   Percussion,Vocals
Luisito Marín   Piano

Technical Credits

Gilberto Santa Rosa   Liner Notes,Executive Producer
Jimmy Diaz   Engineer
A. Rodríguez   Composer
Gary Nuñez   Arranger,Producer,Adaptation,Musical Director

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