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En el Malecon de la Habana (Concierto en Vivo)

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Album Review

After spending years out of the spotlight in virtual obscurity, Juan Formell and his trend-setting group, Los Van Van, stepped boldly back onto center stage with their 2003 release, En el Malecon de la Habana. With a number of live records to their credit, Los Van Van have always wanted for a record that truly captured their vibrant, electrifying live performance. Often due to low-budget fidelity, Los Van Van live records tend to lack punch and sparkle. This edition, which was nominated for a Latin Grammy in the Contemporary Tropical category, sounds clear and precise, allowing the listener to appreciate the exquisitely tight performance. The pre-timba innovations on the traditional salsa style that made Los Van Van Cuba's most popular dance band are all out in force, including Changuito's use of both timbales and drum set, Cesar Pedroso's brilliant arranging technique, plenty of hip-hop and disco influence, and their trademark percussion breakdown sections. For modern listeners, the recording quality and use of synthesized sounds has made Los Van Van a difficult listen from time to time. En el Malecon de la Habana offers a fresh, unfettered chance to hear these stylistic pioneers, swinging as hard today as they did in 1980. Maybe harder. ~ Evan C. Gutierrez, Rovi


Born: 08 February 1942

Genre: Salsa and Tropical

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

One of the most influential Cuban musicians of the Castro era, Juan Formell formed Los Van Van in 1969 after developing Afro-Cuban meldings with the changui sound of Elio Reve's Orchestra. From there he did more to influence the sound of Cuban music than anyone else during the '70s and '80s. Born in Havana in 1942, Formell was taught both by his father and the bassist Orestes Urfe. By the age of 17 he was a member of a military band (playing bass as well); several years later, he moved to the nightclubs...
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En el Malecon de la Habana (Concierto en Vivo), Juan Formell
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