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Ponte Duro - The Fania All-Stars Story

Fania All-Stars

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Album Review

A gargantuan set for a gargantuan collective, Ponte Duro: The Fania All Stars Story presents a portrait of the salsa supergroup that has never been seen before — at least not in one place. Including three discs of live material and one disc of studio material, it mirrors the scope of their long career and, although it doesn't include much that's new or unheard, it's a good way to understand the group in a single package. Expanding from New York to around the world, from San Juan and Havana to Zaire and Japan, the Fania All-Stars' live material was always the highlight of their discography, and here's it's right at the front, nearly four hours of it. Meanwhile, the non-live sides reflect their studio power, although material from their Columbia years during the late '70s was not licensed for use. (Most fans won't consider that a tragedy.) The live material from concerts in Cuba, Zaire, and Japan is rare (although all of it originally appeared on LP), so fans could just as easily pick up a couple of the best live albums for roughly the same price, but between the five hours of music and the interesting essay and priceless photos, Ponte Duro is a fine release.

Biography

Formed: 1967 in New York, NY

Genre: Salsa and Tropical

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

The flagship act for Fania Records, the Fania All-Stars popularized New York salsa during the 1970s by organizing concerts at larger and larger venues (from the Red Garter in Greenwich Village all the way to Yankee Stadium in the Bronx) that spotlighted not only the label's but the salsa world's biggest stars — Ray Barretto, Willie Colón, Johnny Pacheco, Rubén Blades, Hector Lavoe, Ismael Miranda, Cheo Feliciano, Bobby Cruz, Pete "El Conde" Rodriguez, and special guests like Tito Puente, Celia...
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Ponte Duro - The Fania All-Stars Story, Fania All-Stars
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