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Aniversario 55

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Album Review

A live recording demarcating the 55th year for Sonora Ponceña should be cause for celebration worldwide. This concert at the Colisero Roberto Clemente in San Juan, Puerto Rico gives a lengthy and powerful example of why the group has been the premier Latin jazz band to come from the island and compete with any of the more well-known similar Cuban so-called salsa bands. Led by arranger and pianist Enrique "Papo" Lucca, the band features a trumpet section with no woodwinds whatsoever, plenty of percussionists, and an array of different vocalists including the great Tito Allen, Danny Davila, Luigi Texidor, and Pichie Perez. As an exuberant ensemble, they keep things at a fever pitch, with no romantic ballads or swaying, sultry songs, keeping people dancing in the aisles for the entire program, presenting the singers in rapid-fire order, as well as showcasing a variety of different composers, and some traditional material. There is a comic routine that precedes "No Bebo Mas," but everything else is a purely musical endeavor, and seriously uplifting. Texidor provides the deepest vocal content on the montuno rhumba "Nanara Cai," while Davila is in happy la la land for the traditional "Mi Linda Yambu." Lucca and Davila collaborated to write "Si Busca Una Orquesta" for the occasion with multiple vocals and thick percussion over a piano montuno, "La Vida Te Doy" is Allen's feature, a classic off-minor montuno with the most jazzy trumpet section, and the band does Adalberto Álvarez's "Como Amigos Como Amantes" with a little synthesizer coloration. At both their happiest and hottest, the rave-up horns get into a call-and-response descarga with the vocalists during Miguelito Ortiz's "Juana Bayona" and Joe Torres' composition "Otra Gran Celebracion," with Perez and Davila bookending the set, the latter piece with joyous audience participation in the handclapping. If you cannot be moved and excited by this set, then you'll have to seek your kicks somewhere else, for Sonora Ponceña deliver the goods in full effect, as they have for the past six decades. 55 Aniversario !En Vivo! comes highly recommended as the triumphant recording all should expect, with subsequent volumes looming on the horizon. ~ Michael G. Nastos, Rovi


Formed: 1954

Genre: Salsa and Tropical

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Puerto Rican La Sonora Ponceña, one of the most popular tropical acts ever, was formed in 1954 by local musicians Enrique Lucca Caraballo and Antonio Santaella, who were previously playing in a band formed in 1944, called El Conjunto Internacional. In 1958, La Sonora Ponceña's first single was released, featuring "No Puede Ser" and "Tan Linda Que Era," making its first performance in the U.S. in September 1960, in New York City. By 1968, after they were joined by Caraballo's son, pianist...
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Aniversario 55, Sonora Ponceña
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  • £7.90
  • Genres: Latino, Music
  • Released: 13 November 2009

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