Salsa de la Bahia
Salsa music originated and arose in “El Barrio” (Spanish Harlem) of New York City in 1960’s. Legendary artists like Willie Colon, Hector Lavoe, Celia Cruz, Ray Baretto, Orestes Vilató and Tito Puente had a major impact on mainstream music in the United States and its feverish explosion throughout the world. During the 1980’s salsa dancing surged in popularity fueled by the growth of dance clubs, dance instructors and DJ’s. Latin jazz was enjoying a resurgence of popularity in Cuba, the Caribbean and the United States led by artists like Danilo Perez, Grupo Irakere and Gonzalo Rubalcaba. Important Cuban dance bands, Los Van Van, NG La Banda and bassist and composer Israel “Cachao” Lopez were enormous international hits that helped revitalize couple dancing and Latin jazz. These elements fueled a greater attention to Latin music styles and helped to reaffirm their importance and influence world wide.
Salsa De La Bahia – is the musical companion to The Last Mambo and showcases some great unsung hits heard only on local radio and in nightclubs. These pieces are sterling reflections of the state-of-the art Salsa music that artists in the Bay Area have culled. “Rita and I chose the songs with the idea of this CD being a dance record that showed the musical diversity of what the Bay Area scene has to offer,” comments Wayne.
There is no better person for the task of producing the soundtrack for The Last Mambo than Wayne Wallace. From playing to the pen, Doctor Wayne, a title bequeathed to him by the great Pete Escovedo, is a student of Cuban music with impressive salsa and Latin jazz credentials. They include being musical director of the Pete Escovedo Orchestra, John Santos & The Machete Ensemble, and Conjunto Cespedes as well as sideman gigs with luminaries like Tito Puente and Manny Oquendo & Libre.
The musical spectrum of Salsa De La Bahia shows the kaleidoscope of Afro-Latin musical colors seen and heard around the San Francisco Bay Area. Complimenting this rich collection are three original pieces recorded at an all-star session in 2012. “Everyone understood that this was an opportunity to make a collective musical and artistic statement about the music we have played for years,” explains Wayne. “We spoke of the lineage of Cal Tjader, Carlos Federico and the many musicians who helped create this music.”
Salsa De La Bahia vol 1 and vol 2 truly honors those who have dedicated their careers to playing and advancing Salsa and its Afro-Caribbean off shoots as well as the people that surround the scene to dance, listen and cheer their hometown heroes. It pays due to a scene now recognized internationally for the caliber of its musicians and dancers but that is still largely ignored for its artistic merit by the mainstream media.
The San Francisco Bay Area music community has long been an active contributor to the salsa and Latin jazz scene. Anchored by great musicians such as Cal Tjader, Armando Peraza, Carlos Federico, the Escovedo Brothers, John Santos, Roger Glenn and many others, it continues to grow and stimulate musical ideas for the genre. Salsa de la Bahia Vol. 1 covered the decade of the new millennium in the San Francisco Bay Area, Salsa de la Bahia Vol. 2, Hoy Y Ayer documents its greater history and its ongoing love affair with salsa, Latin jazz and música tropical.