Sunday, August 3, 2008

Louie Bellson & Walfredo Los Reyes - "Ecué Ritmos Cubanos" (1978)

Originally posted by Bacoso at "Orgy In Rhythm", May 2006

Bacoso says :

One of my all time top 5. Recorded in 1978 with a totally banging rhythm section, this LP is the best thing Bellson ever did. Completely on the case, Bellson gathered the finest percussionists with the greatest afro cuban bass player Cachao and committed this fantastic LP to wax. No more needs to be said - just download it ! Vinyl rip @ 320.

Simon says :

I'll disobey and add more :)
First, thanks for the re-up Bacoso!

Powerhouse drummer Louie Bellson is best known for both straight-ahead jazz sessions and in particular for big band dates like "Note Smoking", featuring at various times most of the personnel of the previously posted Frank Strazzeri album, with saxaphonist Don Menza being something of a mainstay. Cheeba's also posted the Bellson albums "Dynamite!"; "Louie Bellson Jam" and "The Louie Bellson Explosion" here.

Bellson's move to Pablo Records seems to have prompted a few experiments, one being something of a "drum-off" with Billy Cobham on "Matterhorn", and the other being this fantastic latin workout.

There's a second drummer, Alejandro "Alex" Acuna, who at the time was the drummer for Weather Report on albums like "Black Market" and "Heavy Weather" - though we're a long way from "Birdland", Dorothy, this is more Funky Chickenland.

On various basses and occasional fender rhodes we've got cuban legend Cachao - a seminal figure in the development of both the mambo and descarga, who passed away earlier this year. 2nd bassist John B. Williams Jr. had been working with Bellson's big bands over the preceding few years.

Main man on the fender rhodes is Clare Fischer, who around this time was recording a series of his own albums on MPS Records; leaving a rhodes mark on albums like Cal Tjader's "Guarabe" and Hubert Laws' "Then There Was Light"; and on the soul-funk side was doing some memorable string arrangements and orchestrations on the Jackson's "Destiny", and also the Chaka Khan and Rufus album "Ask Rufus" (his arrangements on the earlier "Rags to Rufus" and "Rufusized" are also inspired).

On woodwinds there's Lew Tabackin, whose flute featured prominently in Donald Byrd's post-Bitches Brew shift from hard bop to electrification on the albums "Fancy Free", notably "Kofi" (check his work on the first two tracks) and then "Electric Byrd", on which he also played tenor sax.

On trumpets, there's another Cuban legend Alejandro "El Negro" Vivar, who had played with both de los Reyes and Cachao since the 1950s on classic albums like Cachao's "Cuban Jam Sessions in Miniature", and also Duke Ellington veteran Cat Anderson, described by AMG's Scott Yanow as "arguably the greatest high-note trumpeter of all time", and heard on several tracks of Quincy Jones' "You've Got it Bad Girl".

But of course it all comes down to the percussion here. Legendary Cuban percussionist Walfredo de los Reyes Sr. assembles a crack team of percussionists whose obvious joy at playing together here spills over so strongly that you expect them to start bashing the microphones with mallets. It's an early appearance for his son Walfredo Jr, the third generation of this musical family, and the other percussionists were people strongly involved in some of the more interesting crossovers of the time

The amazing Francisco Aguabella (also comped on "Latin Rhodes 2" ) sits perfectly in this session, continuing his 70s involvement in merging latin forms, funk and jazz on albums like Joe Henderson's "Canyon Lady". Jorge Santana's Malo albums, Eddie Palmieri's great "Lucumi, Macumba, Voodoo" and his own fantastic album"Hitting Hard". Dizzy Gillespie once described Aguabella as "the John Coltrane of the conga drums".

Veteran of literally hundreds of studio dates, vibes and cuica man Emil Richards contributed an array of percussion instruments and background vocals to Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get it On", and played marimba on the George Duke albums "I Love the Blues, She Heard My Cry" and "Liberated Fantasies".

Around this time, conga player Luis Conte was contributing to the Caldera albums "Time and Chance" and "Dreamer", and later went on to the first two (and best) Me'Shell Ndegeocello albums "Plantation Lullabies" and "Peace Beyond Passion". He had a resurgence of interest in his career as a bandleader when broader public interest in Cuban music increased after the "Buena Vista Social Club" phenomenon. I'm now also officially after his 1978 album "Black Forest" on Denon, particularly as it's described by Yanow as "of lesser interest since it is funky". The horror .....

Also firmly in the latin-funk crossover camp around this time was Puerto Rican percussionist Manolo Badrena, who was also contributing to Airto Moreira's "I'm Fine How Are You?", Weather Report's "Heavy Weather" and "Mr Gone", and George Duke's "Reach For it".

Finally, I was intrigued by the crazy moog synth ring modulation loops in the final track 'Ecué', provided by Francisco "Paquito" Hechavarria, a stalwart of many a Cachao and de los Reyes album, and who also plays a mean rhodes here on the track 'Salsa En Cinco'. Hechavarria contributed piano to many Miami Sound Machine albums in the 80s, released some solo albums, and later retired to piano bar work in Miami.

Intriguingly, Paquito also contributed some "spicy" piano to a (thankfully) instrumental remix of the Spice Girls "Spice Up Your Life" (the "Murk Sugar Cane Dub"), so at the extreme edge of this album's spirit of merging musical forms, let's outro with that!


01. 'Javilla' - (Louie Bellson) - 5:45
02. 'Sentido En Seis' (Six Feeling) - (Emil Richards) - 7:30
03. 'Para Buenos Bailarines' (For Good Dancers) - (Louie Bellson) - 6:35
04. 'Salsa En Cinco' (Salsa In Five) - (Walfredo de los Reyes) - 8:40
05. 'Ecué' - (Israel Lopez) - 11:47


Louis Bellson - drums, moog drum 
Walfredo De Los Reyes, Sr. - conga, timbales, cowbell, clave, percussion
Walfredo De Los Reyes, Jr - pans, drums, maracas, chekere
Alejandro "Alex" Acuña - drums
Francisco Aguabella - batá, conga, quinto, claves
Emil Richards - cuica, vibes, afuche
Manolo Badrena - chekere, cowbell, roto toms, african bells
Luis Conte - conga
John B. Williams, Jr - acoustic and fender bass
Israel "Cachao" Lopez - fender baby bass, acoustic bass, fender rhodes
Clare Fisher - electric piano - (tracks 1-3)
Francisco "Paquito" Hechavarria - electric piano, moog synthesizer - (tracks 4-5)

Lew Tabackin - flute, tenor saxophone 
Alejandro "El Negro" Vivar - trumpet
Cat Anderson - trumpet


Producer - Norman Granz
Engineer - Angel Ballestier
Label: Pablo Records
Catalog#: OJC-632
Recorded Los Angeles, January 21-22, 1977
Released 1978


Vinyl rip by Bacoso

Album blog links in this post go to :

Call it Anything, The Music Jockey, Baixoakidownloads,, Magic Purple Sunshine, My Jazz World, The Sweet Harmonies, djuilson professor groove, Blak’s Lair, Groove Eternal, Rare & Groove Jazz, Soundological Investimigations, Vinyl4giants, My Favourite Sound, Hippy DJ-Kit, Groove With You, Uh Huh!, Good Ole Love. Musica Unica, Jazznfunk, I Think I See the Mothership Coming, Orgy in Rhythm and La Cueva de Bacman.

If you follow the links, please thank and support these bloggers.


kenzo said...


Anonymous said...

what a writeup, i need a kick up the arse this sunday afternoon. sounds like this should do the trick! :)


east wittering? said...

A fabulous album, what a find. Thanks a lot.

Gianni aka Cesare Barbetta said...

great simon!

tubeworms said...

woow, thanks a lot, preview sounds amazing, cant wait..

Anonymous said...

wow, can't wait to dig on this one ... thanks for it!

Jazz-Nekko said...


ever devilish with these re-ups - liked this when i got from bacoso and am pleased to see that you have gone completely bananas with the simon "nexus" approach to blogging, cross-referencing and sharing. . .

keep it up,


Simon666 said...

Thanks for the comments guys.

JN, I hope you found an album in the post that you needed ... with your newfound jazzfunk sensibility we expect you on the dancefloor this weekend :)

avocado kid said...

wow, you are really outdoing yourself with the comprehensiveness of these posts!

I kinda wish I could see these as some cool visualization... like a chart showing how each of these artists is connected to the others, on which recording. Kind of like musical Kevin Bacon.

Art Simon said...

The thing that amazes me is that this got 1 1/2 stars on We'll maybe I'm less amazed now. Thanks, great stuff!

Hanimex 3000 said...

I loooooooove how this week begins.

hugowittorf said...

I've been sort of sleeping on this sort of music for a bit.. Thx for the link on the Me'shell NdegéOcello info!!


IR e L a IXI said...

just want to say, that i totally appreciate for these reups. i discovered orgy in rythm on its second year and these are some of the wonderful albums i missed out on.

thanks Bacoso thanks Simon for the hard work.

much appreciated!

kizza said...

Ditto what ir e l a ixi said!
Couldn't have said it better!

VFB said...


More Percussion album please

Long live Bacoso

and thanks simon for the re-up a di up



cheeba said...

One of the best albums I own, glad to see you resurrected it! As always, the supplemental links are amzing and appreciated, especially the Caldera stuff.

johnv said...

Another fabulous post Simon, thanks so much. I am in awe with the completeness of your post--you are a virtual library of sweet sounds.

cheeba said...

Hey Simon, just dropped by to mention that I linked to this page in my last Louie Bellson post:

Simon666 said...

hi cheeba -
I've incorporated your Bellson albums into the post, many thanks,

Simon666 said...

Just target-marketing the latin fans at the blog to say that I've posted Eddie Palmieri's "Unfinished Masterpiece" (1974) in WAV and MP3, also with links to another 53 albums, come check it out ...
(Apologies to regular commenters who get this a few times!)

CJS said...

Can't wait.
Thank you,

The Moog said...

If it's in Bacoso's top 5 then I want to hear it!
I know this is gonna be good!

Ta very much

llamf said...

Thanks so much. Love this!!

Chief said...

your blog has the capability to change peoples lives

Jean-Marc said...

Marvellous, just marvellous...and appreciated.

Budd said...

Brilliant stuff! You may like my 'Wonderland of Sound' comps?? Cheers!!

ryanb said...

link was dead over at Bacaso's. glad I found this!. Thanks!!!

CreoleBlueCloud said...

As a percussionist (budding) athe time, and still one. i had this album years ago and lost it. it IS one of the finest examples of Cuban/jazz drumming ever. Thanks for providing links to it here!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful!! I can't tell you how happy I am that 8 years later one can still get this gem. Thank you very much.