As BBE continue to celebrate their twentieth anniversary, they’ve been welcoming back some of old friends from the label’s past. This includes DJ, crate digger and compiler DJ Amir. His association with BBE began in 2007, when as one half of Kon and Amir, he released the first of three compilations on BBE.

The first was Off Track Volume One: The Bronx in 2007. It was a double album, which featured a truly eclectic selection of music. Each DJ’s selection featured on one of the discs. They then mixed their selection of tracks. This was perfect showcase for DJ Amir’s skills as a DJ. When Off Track Volume One: The Bronx in 2007 was released, it was a successful compilation, and two further volumes followed.

A year later in 2008, Off Track Volume Two: Queens was released. Just like its predecessor, itfeatured a suitably eclectic selection of songs that was meant to represent the musical melting pot that’s the borough of Queens.  It was a convincing musical representation. So was the third and final volume in the series, Off Track Volume III: Brooklyn. It was released in 2010, and since then, there’s been no further instalments in this much missed series. Since then, DJ Amir has been kept busy.

Many record companies and DJs have been keep to tap into DJ Amir’s almost knowledge of dance music and hip hop. This includes Capitol Records, Shady Records and Pete Rock. However, much of DJ Amir’s time is spent DJ-ing and crate digging. 

Just like most DJs, DJ Amir is always on the lookout for that elusive slice of uber rare vinyl. Many of these songs have provided inspiration for the various compilations DJ Amir has curated. This includes his latest compilation, which sees DJ Amir return to the BBE fold.

DJ Amir will make a welcome return to BBE on the 16th of September 2106, when his latest compilation DJ Amir Presents Buena Música Y Cultura will be released. It’s available on vinyl as a double album, CD or as a digital download. Unsurprisingly, given the title, there’s a distinctively Latin flavour to DJ Amir Presents Buena Música Y Culture. It features fourteen tracks from the sixties and seventies. The majority of these tracks will be unfamiliar to most record buyers.

Rather than choose familiar tracks for DJ Amir Presents Buena Música Y Cultura, the Boston based DJ has dug that little bit deeper and discovered obscurities, hidden gems and even a couple of unreleased tracks from Fito Foster. They’re a welcome discovery and addition to DJ Amir Presents Buena Música Y Cultura. 

Most of these tracks on DJ Amir Presents Buena Música Y Cultura were recorded in New York. That’s despite many of the artists being from the Dominican Republic and Detroit. Some had settled in the Big Apple, while others were just passing through. Some of these artists went on to become big names with the Latin communities in New York.

This includes Joey Pastrana and Louie Colon, who were regarded as superstars within the environs of the Bronx and East Harlem. For the Latin communities living in the two borough’s brownstone’s this was their music, and the music they lived, loved and danced to.

For many who remember the heyday of Joey Pastrana and His New Orchestra and Louie Colon and His Combo, then DJ Amir Presents Buena Música Y Cultura would be guaranteed to bring back memories. They would revel in what’s a truly eclectic compilation.

Among the other names on DJ Amir Presents Buena Música Y Cultura, are Wayne Gorbea Y Su Conjunto Salsa, Chino Y Su Conjunto Melao Featuring Everybody, Dax Pacem Orchestra, Johnny Sedes and His Orchestra and Mike Hernandez Y Su Sonora Casino. These artists take the listener on a journey through Latin music. Having said that, two styles of music, Salsa and Guaguancó play a leading role on DJ Amir Presents Buena Música Y Cultura.

Side A.

Two unreleased tracks from Fito Foster, Salsa Pt. 1 and Salsa Pt. 2 DJ Amir Presents Buena Música Y Cultura. Both tracks were written by Fito Foster, and are a tantalising taste of an artist that very few people will have heard of. That’s until now. These two irresistible slices of salsa New York style,  are guaranteed to get the party started.

Joey Pastrana And His Orchestra’s recording career began in 1967, and lasted until the late seventies. During this period, Joey Pastrana And His Orchestra released nine albums. This included their fifth album A Comer, which was released on Parnosa label in 1972. Opening an album which veered between salsa, bolero and cha cha, was El Pulpo. It’s a dramatic and horn heavy salsa, where piano and percussion play leading role. Together, they’re responsible for a memorable reminder why Joey Pastrana And His Orchestra were one of the so popular in New York during the late-sixties and early seventies.

Side B.

Louie Colon Y Su Combo released a couple of albums during the seventies, including their eponymous sophomore album. It was released on the Delta label and saw Louie Colon Y Su Combo switching between various genres of Latin music. When it came to Tembleque, which was released as a single, the music headed in the direction of salsa. Quite simply, Tembleque is a joyous call to dance, that’s truly irresistible.

In 1970, The Orchestra Soledad released what was their one and only album Vamonos/ Let’s Go! It was released on Futuro Records. Opening the album was the Hector Ramos and William Corridor composition El Ritmo Soleda. It’s funky, soulful and dance-floor friendly, as elements of Latin and Cuban music are combined by The Orchestra Soledad, They create an urgent, mesmeric  and memorable genre-melting track.

Back in 1972, the Orquesta La Moderna De New York released what was their eponymous debut album. It was released on the Amaral label, which only released two albums. This included Orquesta La Moderna’s debut. Their star was in the ascendancy, and the Orquesta La Moderna De New York were seen as one of the leading lights of New York’s Latin scene. Alas, when the album was released, it only found an audience within the Latin music scene. As a result, there was no followup to what was a hugely underrated album. One of its highlights was Picadillo.

Straight away, it’s apparent something special is unfolding on Picadillo. Soon, the multitalented Orquesta La Moderna De New York are showcasing their considerable skills. Elements of funk and jazz are combined on another joyous and sometimes hypnotic slice of salsa. Picadillo is without doubt, one of the highlights of the compilation It’s also a reminder of Orquesta La Moderna De New York, who sadly. never fulfilled their potential. However, even forty-four years after the release of their only album, their remembered fondly in New York’s Latin music scene.

Johnny Sedes was born in Venezuela 1937. That was where he served his musical apprenticeship. By 1969, the thirty-two year old was leading his own Orchestra in New York, Johnny Sedes And His Orchestra. That same year, 1969, Johnny Sedes And His Orchestra released their debut album Mama Calunga. It was released on the Fonseca Record, and allowed Johnny Sedes And His Orchestra to showcase his versatility and skill. They switched between  descarga, mambo and salsa. One of the songs that stood head and shoulders above the rest was Mama Calunga.

Here was a song that had been inspired by the great Venezuelan orchestras that Johnny Sedes heard growing up. This had inspired the young bandleader, to forge a career in music. He played  saxophone in his Orchestra, which delivers a musical masterclass on Mama Calunga, which is a reminder of everything that’s good about Latin music.

Side C.

Another versatile orchestra were Joey Aponte and His Orchestra. They showcased their musical versatility on two albums they released during the seventies. Joey Aponte And His Orchestra’s debut album was Vamos A Gozar. It was released on All-Art Records, and featured Vete De Aqui. It’s another Salsa, that’s regarded as one of the finest moments in the career of Joey Aponte and His Orchestra. 

Mike Hernandez Y Su Sonora Casino’s back-catalogue amounts to just a couple of albums and singles. This includes the 1972 album Dime Tu and its followup La Sonora Casino De Mike Hernandez. One track that doesn’t feature on either album, is Asi-asi Desarga. It was released as single on Fonseca Records. This Descarga single is something of a rarity. Copies are few and far between. So the addition of Asi-asi Desarga to DJ Amir Presents Buena Música Y Cultura is to be welcomed. This is the opportunity to hear an obscure  hidden gem that thankfully, has been unearthed by DJ Amir.

Ritmos Y Cantos Callejeros was released in 1970 by Cortijo Y Kako Y Sus Tambores. This was no ordinary collaboration. Instead, it was collaboration between two of Puerto Rica’s finest musicians, percussionist Cortijo, and timbale player, band leader and composer Kako Y Sus Tambores. The album was released on the Ansonia label and featured Yo No Bailo Con Juana. It also featured on the B-Side to the single Chiviriquiton. However, Yo No Bailo Con Juana a coloration between two of the Puerto Rica’s finest and most talented  musicians, deserved better than that. It’s glorious and irresistible example of Plena, a musical genre unique to Puerto Rica.

Dax Pacem Orchestra feature twice on DJ Amir Presents Buena Música Y Cultura. Both tracks are taken from the album Amaral Records Presents. It’s an album of salsa, which was the Dax Pacem Orchestra speciality. One of the highlights of Amaral Records Presents was Bomba which closes Side C of  DJ Amir Presents Buena Música Y Cultura on a high.

Side D.

Then the Dax Pacem Orchestra pickup where they left on Side C, with an vainglorious salsa, Oiga El Comentario. It’s another tantalising taste of what the Dax Pacem Orchestra were capable of. Alas, they never found mainstream success, and today, are only appreciated by a small group of musical connoisseurs.

By 1978, Wayne Gorbea Y Su Conjunto Salsa were ready to released their third album, La Salsa Y Charanga Con Wayne Gorbea Y Su Conjunto Salsa. It was released on the Disco International label. The album had a slick, polished and soulful sound where salsa was to the fore. One of the album’s highlights was Paranoia, which was penned by flugelhorn player Adnaldo Rivera. This soulful salsa was his only contribution on the album. Given how good a track this salsa was, Adnaldo Rivera it seemed, was concentrating on quality not quantity.

Closing DJ Amir Presents Buena Música Y Cultura was Rogelio Tiene La Salsa a song from Chino Y Su Conjunto Melao’s third album En Mi Casa Latina. It was released on Latina Records in 1979 and proved to be Chino Y Su Conjunto Melao’s swan-song.Their recording career lasted four years and produced three albums. Rogelio Tiene La Salsa, which closes DJ Amir Presents Buena Música Y Cultura, finds DJ Amir keeping the best until last on the vinyl edition.

After an absence of six years, Boston based DJ Amir returns to the BBE fold with a new and lovingly curated compilation DJ Amir Presents Buena Música Y Cultura. It will be released by BBE on the 26th September 2016. There’s three versions available, the vinyl album which is a double album, the CD version and digital download. They’re the perfect introduction into the world of Latin rarities.

The majority of tracks on DJ Amir Presents Buena Música Y Cultura will be unfamiliar to most people. DJ Amir has eschewed the familiar for rarities, obscurities, unreleased tracks and hidden gems. He’s struck vinyl gold, several times on a compilation where Salsa and Guaguancó is to the fore. There’s even Plena and Descarga on DJ Amir Presents Buena Música Y Cultura. It’s a compilation where the quality never drops, and is a reminder that the sixties and seventies was something of a golden era for Latin music. 

Some of the music on DJ Amir Presents Buena Música Y Cultura is funky, while others is jazz-tinged and soulful. Always, the music on DJ Amir Presents Buena Música Y Cultura is dance-floor friendly, and is guaranteed to get any party started. 
















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