Thoughts on the Documentary “We Like It Like That – The Story of Latin Boogaloo” Luis Chaluisan Salsa Magazine

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There is a moment in the documentary about boogaloo “We Like It Like That – The Story of Latin Boogaloo” where it’s stated that the Promoters of the era got together and squashed the movement (at the behest of Jose Curbelo and Tito Puente according to Mr Salsa Izzy Sanabria.) The fact is Boogaloo was permanently doomed when Eddie Palmieri tried and came up dry with the style in his album Champagne. Think about it. Our greatest living Music Legend couldn’t advance the form. “With Champagne, Eddie Palmieri attempted to chart the changing waters of popular music circa 1968, and the results are as widely varying as the material. He veers from Latin soul to real champagne music to straight-ahead salsa, tries to jump-start a new crossover dance craze, but also looks back to adult-pop standards. And from the first few moments of the LP, it’s clear a change-up is in order; over an elastic, funky bass line, a male voice asks incredulously: “Como?/Palmieri? Boogaloo?” The man leaps right into his response to the nascent boogaloo craze with “Ay Que Rico,” an irresistibly swinging number with great playing from all involved, from a sprightly upright bass to the raucous brass section re-introduced periodically. Unfortunately, the rest of the crossover material doesn’t sound quite this inspired; the very next track is a the chestnut “Here’s That Rainy Day,” taken at a snail’s pace. “Cinturita” and “Palo de Mango” are solid straight-ahead salsa numbers, but “The African Twist” is another obvious commercial tester, a female-led popcorn anthem with a good groove and solid playing but not much else to recommend it.” Richie Ray personally told me back in 1977 that Boogaloo was just a temporary idea for him which he picked up and let go quickly. The Boogaloo fad now underway is a DJ world of remixes inserting disco bass lines and drum machine beats. It’s unnatural and the product of a DJ out of Spain which was going through a severe fascist tyranny under Francisco Franco. The country is still recovering from his tyranny and I see the boogaloo craze developed in that country as a post-mortem movement in reaction to Franco’s social destruction. It’s now in the United States and acting like any other DJ led imposition that displaces live musicians who have maintained and developed our culture. Will it last? Maybe two or three more years particularly with the Tropical music scene in Puerto Rico, more musical acts arriving from Cuba to play Timba in the United States and our own Latin Jazz vanguard who are daily coming up with new ideas. Luis Chaluisan editor Salsa Magazine (Former music editor of Latin NY Magazine)

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