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Viva Africa

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Album Review

With his eight-man "nuevo tumbao" in tow, flutist Johnny Pacheco saluted the music of Africa (where he'd toured twice before) with 1972's Viva Africa. Although only the liner notes bear the dateline of Africa, and the music betrays no hint of African influence (or even reference), it's still a vivid, energetic, swinging record, with vocalists Monguito and Chivirico Davila leading the chorus. Pride of place goes to the opener, "El Champolon (Bacalao)," a swift dance number, though the mid-tempo "A Moron" is close behind, boasting a brassy swing and great harmonizing. Unlike the majority of Latin LPs, Viva Africa doesn't have a weak track on it; the last, "El Mundo," is as brisk, creative, and catchy as the first.


Born: March 25, 1935 in Santiago de Los Caballeros, Domin

Genre: Salsa y Tropical

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

Relocated to New York during the late '40s, Johnny Pacheco learned to play sax, percussion and flute in high school. In September 1959, he left Charlie Palmieri's flute and strings orchestra to organize his own. With his first recording, Pacheco y su Charanga, released by Alegre Records in 1961, Pacheco changed the sound of music throughout Latin America and ushered in the "Pachanga" (a strenous dance) era which faded out in 1964. Pacheco and attorney Gerald...
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Viva Africa, Johnny Pacheco
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