Latin Transformations 33

Pete Terrace

and much more...

Pete Terrace is not exactly getting his own show, but 8 of the 14 tracks programmed here are by him and his bands. Terrace had had a long career as a percussionist and vibes player before making records under his own name as early as 1954, for Fantasy and then Tico. Even before serving in the army he had played with José Curbelo and Noro Morales, but it was his years with pianist Joe Loco that propelled him to the top echelon of latin percussionists. The album featured here with six tracks, El Nuevo, on Scepter, came about during the time Terrace graduated from Juilliard and enrolled there as a graduate student.

The first set is three of the best hard latin, proto salsa tracks from El Nuevo and the second set shows Terrace’s facility with R&B, Jazz and Blues. The track ARW comes from the record PT, cut for his own label, MIO in 1968 or 1969.

The third set continues the R&B influence and moves into soul as well. The hard as nails version of Shotgun, by Terrace is a solid starter. Then the first of two covers by Roberto Roena y su Apollo Sound. Roena began his musical career as a teenager with a group led by famous Puerto Rican percussionist Cortijo. When that band disintegrated because singer Ismael Rivera was arrested for drug possession in 1962, Roena ended up going with some of the musicians who left Cortijo and formed what became the famous, and still extant, El Gran Combo. He remained that band’s bongo player until sometime in 1969 when he left to form his own group. I have played a number of selections by El Gran Combo which were recorded with Roena, and in a show highlighting connections between Latin Soul, Salsa and American Rock, I played Roena’s version of Shades of Time, by Santana. The tracks played here show off the R&B and Soul expressions, beginning with an attractive version of Sing A Simple Song, originally done by Sly and the Family Stone.* Orquesta Oliveri, a group that recorded for the ***Speed** label, contributes two very nice soul influenced tracks which sandwich Roena’s Spanish language version of Dock of the Bay, the record that hit big after Otis Redding died in a plane crash.

The final set features two sizzling tracks by Pijuan & Sextet from their 1969 record, Sabor A Pueblo. The initial track sets an unusual mood for its dance groove and has a surprising, Blues*Rock* styled guitar solo; the track that closes the set has a very fast tempo, an excellent alto sax solo and fiery, flashy piano from Pijuan. In between these tracks is a driving workout from Ray Jay and the Eastsiders, a young band produced by Elliott Chiprut, who is mostly associated with having written I See The Light, recorded by the Music Explosion, Simon Says by the 1910 Fruit Gum Company and several other Bubble Gum hits. It is not altogether clear how Chiprut was connected to this youthful group, which included future piano star Hilton Ruiz, though he may have had connections with producer George Goldner, who owned the Cotique label which released the record. Ruiz has a brief spot but it is the aggressive, two trombone arrangement that carries the tune.

Set 1

  1. Yo Ne Se
  2. Oyeme Maria
  3. Elena
    Pete Terrace

Set 2

  1. ARW
  2. Louie, Louie
  3. 88th Street Blues
  4. Garbage Can Frug
    Pete Terrace

Set 3

  1. Shotgun
    Pete Terrace
  2. Sing A Simple Song
    Roberto Roena y su Apollo Sound
  3. There’s No Other Girl
    Orquesta Olivieri
  4. El Pato De La Bahia (Dock of the Bay)
    Roberto Roena y su Apollo Sound

Set 4

  1. Don’t Be Shy
    Orquesta Olivieri
  2. Cortaron A Elena
    Pijuan & Sextet
  3. Cuba
    Ray Jay and the Eastsiders
  4. Cocinando Con Mi Salsa
    Pijuan & Sextet


Posted on July 26, 2013 .