Victor Rendón & Bronx Conexión Latin Jazz Big Band: Mambo Boulevard

It is, indeed, so easy to make the proverbial “conexión” between the Bronx and the interminable rhythm that echoes seemingly throughout El Barrio when you listen with ears wide open to Mambo Boulevard. Not only is the title apt to describe a street reverberating with music, but the line that ends in that near-mythical destination also seems to lead directly from a kind of magic wand that Victor Rendón seems to wave at his musical cohort when not using both his hands to make a persuasive case for frenetic dancing from one of several percussion instruments that he plays with such elegant muscularity and flair.

All of this begins with a connection between Mr Rendón’s roots that run deep into the music into which he pours his effervescent spirit. The result is music that is grand – as in “Mambo Boulevard” – and even expansive – as in “Aguacero”. Lyricism and boundless rhythmic energy burst forth form these as well as the other vivacious charts that are magnificently performed on this album. “El Chocante” sets the pace, tone and tempo for all the repertoire, which – in turn – sets the whole recording alight with terrific swagger. Songs swell in powerful harmonic and rhythmic waves and swoon in the ones where the vocalists take command of the music from up front.

Brass and woodwinds provide a wonderfully sculpted shape to the melodies, each of which unravel in one delightful harmonic variation after another. The silky, rounded sound of the horns evoke the seduction and allure that has made this Latin-inflected music so irresistible wherever in the world it is played. It is not – to be sure – an idiom that comes easily to musicians from whom it demands not simply virtuosity, but a heart and soul immersed in the very water from which it springs eternal.

It is this fact that sets Victor Rendón & Bronx Conexión apart from numerous other ensembles that, while playing this music, may never quite sound as masterful, or play music with the lofty exuberance that Victor Rendón and his musicians do. Celebrated guests – such as the incomparable trumpeter Ray Vega – mingle and bolster the Bronx Conexión, a smart, well-oiled machine that also includes the inimitable percussionist Chembo Corniel, saxophonist Paul Carlon and trombonist David Chamberlain – ubiquitous artists wherever this kind of music is celebrated with unfettered joy and excellence.

Track list – 1: El Chocante; 2: Chale; 3: Mami me Gustó; 4: Mambo Boulevard; 5: Biwa Lake; 6: Aprende Muchacho; 7: Leeway; 8: Nueces River; 9: Aguacero

Personnel – Victor Rendón: timbale [1, 2, 4, 7 and soli on 2, 4] and drum set [7 – 9]; Wilson “Chembo” Corniel: tumbadoras and congas [solo on 1, 7]; Cascadú: shekere and other percussion; Yasuyo Kimura: bongo and cencero [solo on 9]; Jessica Valiente: flute [soli on 8, 9]; Al Acosta: alto saxophone; Debra Kreisberg: alto saxophone [solo on 8]; John Stelluti: tenor saxophone [soli on 1, 9]; Paul Carlon: tenor saxophone [soli on 1, 2, 5]; Karl Watson: baritone saxophone [solo onn 9]; Anibal Martínez: trumpet and flugelhorn [solo on 6]; John Replogle: trumpet and flugelhorn; Kathleen Doran: trumpet and flugelhorn; Guido Gonzalez: trumpet and flugelhorn [solo on 7]; Aquiles Navarro: trumpet and flugelhorn [1, 2, 4, 5, 7]; Mark McGowan: trumpet and flugelhorn [9]; Rick Faulkner: trombone [soli on 5, 9]; Leonard Walworth: trombone; David Chamberlain: trombone; Preston Judd: bass trombone; Joe Mannozzi: piano; Michael Viñas: bass [1]; Guests – Jorge Maldonado: lead vocals [3, 6], maracas and güiro; Ray Vega: trumpet [soli on 1, 4]; Marco Bermudez: coro [3, 6]; Hector Dávila a.k.a Chegüi Metralla: coro [3, 6]; Morris “Arnie” Lang: cymbals [5]

Released – 2021
Label – Independent
Runtime – 55:31

Raul Da Gama
Raul Da Gama
Based in Milton, Ontario, Canada, Raul is a poet, musician and an accomplished critic whose profound analysis is reinforced by his deep understanding of music, technically as well as historically.

More from author


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related posts


Featured Posts

Omar Sosa’s 88 Well-Tuned Drums: A Film by Soren Sorensen

Anyone approaching this film about the iconic Cuban composer and pianist Omar Sosa, by the award-winning filmmaker Soren Sorensen will be almost immediately struck...

Danilo Pérez featuring The Global Messengers: Crisálida

Danilo Pérez began forming his worldview - and aligning his music to it - ever since he came under the sphere of influence of...

The Feeling Messengers, Past and Present (Part II)

Miguelo Valdés & The New Messengers Of Feeling Miguel Valdés, or “Miguelo”, as he has since become known, was born in the province of La...

The Feeling Messengers, Past and Present (Part I)

Preamble Within the current renaissance of popular Cuban music, coupled with the seemingly eternal presence of its first cousin American Jazz, we are once again...

In Conversation with Carlos Cippelletti

Pianist, composer and arranger Carlos Cippelletti, is a promising young Spanish, Franco-Cuban artist from the last generation of Afro-Cuban jazz musicians born outside the...

Celebrating Jane Bunnett: Spirits of Havana’s 30th Anniversary

After dark they gather, the spirits of Havana. Is that a ghostly, but fatback-toned rapping down in the barrio where the great composer and...

Piazzolla Cien Años: Lord of the Tango@100

There is a now famous photograph of the great Ástor Piazzolla that is iconic for so many reasons. Chief among them is the manner...

Omara Portuondo, Multifaceted Gem of Cuban Music

My moon app announces that in 14 hours the Supermoon of May will be here. During a full moon I often get inspired to...

Ray Barretto · Barretto Power

Barretto Power: A Celebratory Reissue on its 50th Anniversary It was 1970 when Fania Records released Barretto Power, one of a series of seminal albums...

El Gran Fellové: Part 3- When my Parents…

When my parents bought their home in 1968, Sunset Beach was just another sleepy little beach town It spanned about one mile in length, sandwiched...

Join our mailing list

Participate in contests, giveaways and more