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Azucar y Candela featured review: TITO RODRIGUEZ

FANIA is back! After the transfer of the classic salsa catalog to Código Music* in 2009, the future of the remastering begun by Emusica in 2006 was in limbo. Never fear: Código, in conjunction with Wax Poetics, picks up where Emusic left off with Tito Rodríguez: "El Inolvidable," their first addition to the "A Man and His Music" 2-CD compilation series. READ MORE>>>

An original "Mambo King," Tito Rodríguez often receives shorter schrift than mambo pioneer Machito and showman Tito Puente, but back in the day, dancers at the Palladium ballroom repeatedly chose Tito Rodríguez--over Puente--in their infamous bandstand battles. Born in Santurce, Puerto Rico, of Puerto Rican and Cuban parentage, Tito was a timbalero, but primarily made his mark as a sonero and romantic crooner. Known as a ladies man, he had his own "TR" record label and a TV show in PR in 1968 (some episodes are on YouTube). Music historians Harry Sepulveda and Ned Sublette provide excellent documentation of Tito's early career, starting in the business as a teenager in the 1930s, and blossoming as a dominant vocalist and bandleader in the 40s. This compilation El Inolvidable focusses on Tito's mature production in the 60s, when he commanded one of the best Latin bands ever known, with musicians such as Cuban bassist Cachao, pianist Rene Hernandez, saxophonists Mario Rivera and Bobby Porcelli. Timbalero, Miguel Collazo, a legend of the classic salsa era, recently passed away on March 3, 2010, but you can hear him here in one of the greatest bands of all time.


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*From the FANIA website:

"In the last year, Código Music has acquired both the West Side Latino and Fania catalogs, giving it the greatest repertoire in Tropical Music, comprising more than four thousand albums by the masters of the genre.  Today Fania is home to more than 200 of the top artists’ catalogs in Tropical music.  These artists mixed a cornucopia of styles that transcended the boundaries of traditional Latin music and set the path for the genres of Latin Big Band, Afro-Cuban Jazz, Boogaloo, Salsa and Latin R&B.  They include Beny Moré, Sonora Matancera, Orquesta Aragón, Celia Cruz, La Lupe, Tito Rodrguez, Ray Barretto, Cortijo, Hector Lavoe, Willie Colon, Johnny Pacheco, Joe Cuba, Larry Harlow and Ruben Blades to mention a few. The more than 4,000 albums from the 1940s through the 1980s have been carefully documented, archived and placed in a special media storage facility for original recorded media. Codigo Music has been working in partnership with New York-based music journal Wax Poetics, it has been carrying out a major archival and databasing project of the musical and non-musical assets from these essential catalogs.  In addition, Fania has been remastering and reissueing these treasures in digital format, original remastered CDs, box sets and vinyl."