Wednesday, July 11, 2012

montenero blues.

Record Mart, an unassuming music store down in the sprawling complex of the Times Square subway station in Manhattan, should be considered one of Latin New York's most important historic musical landmarks. It its heyday, it was not only a place where occult knowledge and cultural legacies were exchanged and passed on from one person to another, but the shop also served as the home base for Montuno Records, a small but important independent label started by proprietor Jesse Moskowitz in the 1970s. The shop and label are inextricably intertwined and constitute a New York Latin institution of sorts. Thankfully, the two entities and its proprietor are alive and well today, keeping the spirit of Subway Salsa alive for old fans and future generations alike. This compilation is an homage, paying tribute to a label that stands out as a plucky cultural beacon from a time when Fania reigned supreme. In Jesse's cramped store one could soak up the sights of Latin album cover art, the tropical sounds blasting over the speakers, and eavesdrop on conversations among the diminutive shop's knowledgeable staff and customers. Just as the New York metropolitan transit system is a crossroads and a means of exchange and travel, so too is its sole surviving cultural tenant Record Mart, an underground urban grotto oasis that despite a period of closure and a dwindling market, seems to hold on as tenaciously as many veteran salsa musicians from the '70s still do to this day in the city. This collection samples the recordings from Montuno's catalog that exemplify danceable Afro-Antillean music, from Nuyorican salsa to Haitian compas, Latin jazz to traditional Cuban genres (including the all-percussion rumba, the flute and violin-flavored charanga, and guitar/trumpet-dominated son), as well as several interesting hybrids incorporating funk, doo-wop and Brazilian sounds. - amazon

when shit gets to be too much between home life & work life, i put this on & soak up the sunshine & let the tropical vibes wash over me. summer forever amirite?

pt. I // pt. II

p.s. upon my fifth listen, this record is some serious fyre amigos. download this or be bummed.