02 SABOR A MI
03 LO QUE DICE TUSTI
04 LAMENTO DEL MUSICO
07 CONTIGO NO
(b 22 Oct. '50, Manhattan, NYC, of Puerto Rican parentage) Salsa
bandleader, pianist, percussionist, producer, arranger, composer, label
boss. Started studying violin and orchestration at high school '65; soon
switched to trumpet; played conga in street rumbones (rumba percussion and
vocal jam sessions); did amateur gigs. Became disillusioned with school;
joined US Army '69-71; taught himself piano by copying Charlie and Eddie
Palmieri and Richie Ray; learnt to read music while serving in Korea;
after discharge married Korean girlfriend Myong '71. Returned to NYC,
there organised short lived Orquesta Cuda; changed to conga and founded
band La Nueva Comparsa; switched back to piano and formed Conjunto Salsa
'73 (with lineup of two trombones, trumpet and Latin rhythm section),
making album debut withSalsa Boricua on SMC. "The album was recorded on a
hot summer day in June 1974 in Gabriel Oller's studio in Queens, off
Woodhaven Boulevard," recalls Wayne. "It was about 90 degrees outside and
at least 10 degrees hotter in the studio with only fans to cool us off.
The band had just finished playing four gigs and hadn't had any sleep. We
started at 9:00 a.m., but were gung ho and eager to record!"
Besides producing and co-arranging, he wrote most of La Salsa del Conjunto
Salsa con Wayne Gorbea '78 on Disco International incl. the dark, brooding
"Los Rumberos"; the lineup comprised two trombones, one trumpet and
rhythm. Follow-up on that label La Salsa y Charanga c '79 introduced a
charanga flavour by adding flute and violin to two trombones, trumpet and
rhythm. Issued 12 inch single "Ariñañara" (composed by Chano Pozo)/ "The
Night Is Still Young" '80, his first release on his own Wayne Go label.
Dedicated Sigan Bailando '86 on Wayne Go to Myong; future Libre member and
Los Soneros del Barrio co-leader Frankie Vázquez provided lead vocals and
played güiro. Album incl. a remake of Justi Barreto's composition "Lo Que
Dice Justi" (previously recorded on Salsa Boricua ), arr. by Wayne's
longtime collaborator: arranger, composer, percussionist and coro singer
Ramón "Ray" Rosado (b26 Nov. '51, NYC, of Puerto Rican Parentage). "I was
travelling once with Grupo Niche from Colombia," recalls Frankie. "When
their vocalist Charlie Cardona found out I was the singer onSigan Bailando
, he sang the whole of 'Lo Que Dice Justi.' all the soneos and everything.
My hairs were sticking out, because I couldn't believe that this kid knew
all the song. The timbalero came up to me and tells me: 'You know that it
is like an icon in Colombia. All the bands that start. 'Lo Que Dice Justi'
is a song that they all study. It's like what you have in New York:
'Bilongo.' For us it's 'Lo Que Dice Justi' in Colombia. All those young
trombone bands, they're doing that tune. You can't find a band that
doesn't do that tune." (excerpt from Frankly Frankie, The Reluctant Sonero
Del Barrio by John Child and David Barton, Descarga website, 26 Dec. '99)
Conjunto Salsa's mus. dir. and bassist Harry Justiniano departed '87 (also
taking along his brother, conguero Angel Justiniano, and Vásquez) to
become mus. dir. of the Bronx-based charanga Charanson led by pianist/
prod./ composer Héctor Serrano. For the next couple of years mus. dir.
duties were shared by trombonist/ arrangers Dave Chamberlain and Rick
Davies (b 9 Mar. '51, Albuquerque, New Mexico; a Gorbea sideman since '85;
became full-fledged mus. dir. '89 following Chamberlain's move to Cruz
Control; leader of Jazzismo and college professor). Gorbea opted for a
three trombone frontline for Conjunto Salsa on El Condimento '88 on
Martínez Records; Orlando Avilés sang lead vocals, played güiro and wrote
three tunes incl. the title track (Avilés had contributed compositions to
Gorbea's earlier albums and sang on Salsa Boricua ). One of the album's
highlights was Chamberlain's tough and funky arrangement of the '48
Arsenio Rodríguez classic "Tumba Palo Cucuye."
Gorbea and Conjunto Salsa often performed live on Al Angeloro's WBAI radio
show Montuno (started '86; later evolved into his eclectic world-beat show
New York International broadcast on WBAI until '91); Angeloro chose Gorbea
to lead an on-air jam session in honour of the recently deceased Charlie
Palmieri Sept. '88, from which emerged a stunning version of "Tumba Palo
Cucuye" by the Wayne Gorbea All-Stars, the most popular track chart-wise
on the compilationThe Montuno Sessions - Live From Studio 'A' '95 on Mr
Bongo, which also incl. Charanson's "Descarga (Around Midnight)" of Dec.
'87. Gorbea made his UK debut guesting on claves and coro (chorus) with
Libre Mar. '92.
A successful once a week residency for two months at SoHo's González y
González club '96 inspired Gorbea to take his band, re-christened Salsa
Picante by Libre's leader Manny Oquendo and returning to a two
trombone/one trumpet combination, into the studio to make the solid
swinging Cogele El Gusto '97 on Wayne Go. Frank Otero (b 29 Apr. '54, NYC,
of Puerto Rican parentage) sang lead vocals, having replaced Avilés a few
years earlier. (Otero was lead singer on the '70s album Andy Suárez And
His Orchestra on J.R. Melody.) "Their sound oozes with Bronx sassiness,"
wrote Libre's mus. dir. Andy González. The album became an instant hit in
UK Latin clubs. Re-release on Shanachie in late '98 provided wider
distribution. In March '99 Wayne and Salsa Picante provided further
testimony of their UK popularity by completing a sellout national tour.
He followed-up on Shanachie with the cracking Saboreando'00, described by
UK deejay/ columnist Dave Hucker as "the first major Latin release of the
21st century." It contains 10 tunes and every cut swings incl. the sure
fire dance floor filler "El Yoyo," previously done by Cortijo (incl. in
Invites You To Dance/ Los Invita A Bailar on Seeco), and an almost 10
minute killin' remake of Eddie Palmieri and La Perfecta's "Estamos Chao"
(from Mozambique '65 on Tico). "Gorbea's piano solo on this track amply
demonstrates why he has developed into one of the finest piano soloists
currently performing in the Afro-Cuban/ salsa tradition. Eschewing the
technical glibness of many of his fellow keyboardists, Wayne goes straight
to the heart and swing of the matter," writes Salsa Picante's mus. dir.
and first trombonist Rick Davies. Another UK tour is proposed for Oct.
Wayne's recordings have involved regular sideman Rubén Borgas (b 4 Aug.
'49, Puerto Rico) on timbales or bongo (he appears on the reissue CD
Exitos by Paul Ortiz y su Orquesta Son on Ghetto Records); other notable
contributors incl. trombonist/ arrangers Ronnie Williams and Rubén Lebron
and trumpeter/ arr. Junior Vega. Personnel of Wayne Gorbea's Salsa Picante
in 2000 incl. Otero, vocals; Gorbea, piano/leader/coro; Richie Sanquintin
(b 5 Aug. '55, Dominican Republic), bass; Davies (mus. dir.) and Rafi
Malkiel (b 14 Apr. '72, Jerusalem, Israel), trombones; Tomer Levy (b 21
Oct. '72, Tel Aviv, Israel) and Mike Lewis, trumpets; Borgas, timbales;
Juan Rodríguez (b2 Nov. '46, Puerto Rico), bongo/coro; Frank Reyes (b 16
Mar. '45, Puerto Rico), conga (he played on Ray Rodríguez y su Orquesta c
'70 on Cotique); and Rosado, güiro/coro.