Jonathan Goldman is a proverbial renaissance man who has a doppelgänger -like kinship with James Joyce, but his specialisation is even more unique. He is an associate professor at New York Institute of Technology where, his online biography says he, “teach(es) writing and courses about twentieth-century literature and culture (US, Latino, British and Irish), and occasionally something outside of that. (His) scholarship focuses on literature and its relationship to mass, technological society. After hours, however, he heads off to a club in Brooklyn, puts a trumpet to his lips, joining a brotherhood called Spanglish Fly, where he ignites a session or two (or three) of music characterised as boogaloo, which is neither salsa nor soul but is infused by large doses of both. It is music that has a mighty swing and its percussive tumbling groove almost always sets the evening on fire.
The name Spanglish Fly is a dead giveaway (for anglophiles, at any rate). It is a play on the words Spanish and English. More than that, however, it is a send-up of “Spanish Fly”, an aphrodisiac popular in the 1970s and the cult film classic also of the same name which starred the indomitable English comedian Terry-Thomas as Sir Percy de Coursey. The film in turn concerns a certain aphrodisiac of the same name. Putting one and three together gets you Spanglish Fly in a sort of Fibonacci sequential way if only because the infectious musical groove is multiplied exponentially in an infinitely catching, sexy and danceable way. And just in case this music might be misconstrued as something light and frothy, it is assuredly both of the above, but its boogaloo grove also gives it a certain emotion that only comes from the fact that all of the music’s stylistic impulses have been completely dissolved in the depths of an Afro-Caribbean rhythm, deeply inflected by the soul music that goes coast to coast with the likes of the funky Family Stone and the low-riding War.
If the first album by Spanglish Fly, entitled New York Boogaloo (Chaco, 2015) gave notice of its explosive style, Ay Que Boogaloo is like a solar flare that has detached itself from the nuclear corona of the very sun that lights up our entire human system. The music, although shaped by the unique rhythm, which, in turn, is sculpted by thundering percussionist, loud brass led by Jonathan Goldman, is given its embalming warmth by radiant voices led by Mariella Gonzalez and Paloma Muñoz. Theirs is the softening hand on the principal and splendidly agitating protagonists: Mr. Goldman the trumpeter, tenor saxophonist Matt Thomas and trombonist Vera “Trombonita” Kemper. The resulting music is, naturally danceable, singable (if you can learn the words) and utterly memorable. As songs such as “Mister Dizzy Lizzy” and “Coco Helado” will attest, this music has a considerable degree of balance and integration of melody and harmony, of composition and improvisation, of exploration, and individuality and tradition is impressively maintained throughout. All of which makes this an album to die for…
Track list – 1: Bugalú Pa’ Mi Abuela (Featuring El Callegueso); 2: New York Rules (Featuring Joe Bataan); 3: You Know I’m No Good/Chica Mala Mambo; 4: Ojalá-Inshallah; 5: La Clave ‘e Mi Bugalú; 6: Boogaloo Shoes; 7: Mister Dizzy Izzy (Featuring Flaco Navaja and Izzy Sanabria); 8: Chain of Fools (Featuring Snowboy); 9: Coco Helado (Featuring Rowan Ricardo Phillips); 10: How Do You Know/Cómo Sabes
Personnel – Mariella Gonzalez: lead vocals and coro; Paloma Muñoz: lead vocals and coro; Matt Thomas: tenor saxophone; Rafael Gomez: bass, acoustic guitar, cuatro and coro; Kenny Bruno: piano, organ and coro; Arei Sekiguchi: timbales and drum set; Dylan Blanchard: congas and coro; Ronnie Roc: bongos, bell and coro; Teddy Acosta: timbales, percussion and coro; Vera “Trombonita” Kemper: trombone and bass trombone; Edwin ”Machuco” Estremera: soneos and coro; Jonathan Goldman: trumpet, coro and wrangling; With our friends and family – Manuel Garcia-Orozco–guitar (1, 5, 10), organ (7) and vocals (1); John Speck: trombone (3 – 8, 10); Morgan Price: baritone saxophone (3, 6, 8, 9); Jonathan Flothow: baritone saxophone (5, 7); Richie Robles: coro (4, 7) and Cameos by Charlie Goldman, Imogen Phillips Royo, Louis Price and Maia Gomez-Leal
Released – 2018
Label – Chaco World Music
Runtime – 42:51