Beyond Salsa Bass Vol.3 - Salsa, Songo & The Roots of Latin Jazz - Afro-Cuban & Latin Bass Instruction

Discography - 1956-67-The Charanga Period

1956-1967 The Charanga Period

Personnel:
Elio Revé - timbales
? - voices
? - bass
Chucho Valdés (in 1965) - piano
? - congas
? - güiro
? - flute
? - strings

Elio Revé, Sr. was born in 1930 in Guantánamo and appears to have arrived in Havana in 1955, starting his own band in 1956. From the beginning, his artistic concept was to create a fusion of charanga and changüí. For more details on this, please see Kevin Moore's Beyond Salsa Piano, Volume 1, and for all the details on this, please see Ben Lapidus' Changüí - Origins of Cuban Music and Dance.

In the first decade, Revé used the instrumentation of a pure charanga orquesta - flute, violins, piano, timbales, bass, güiro and conga. The changüí-based elements (tres, guitar, and bongó) were added much later.

[note: We'll eventually add a page which analyzes the labyrinth of compilation CDs, explaining how to collect the recordings in today's marketplace. For this article, we're only concerned with identifying the original vinyl releases.]

Here are the recordings we know of from the charanga period. If you can fill in blanks or add more songs, please contact us immediately!

date title   composer lead singer
1956 Samá (1st version) ch Revé .
1957 Con el diablillo mt Gerardo Portillo Scull  
1957 Yateras mt Revé.  
1957 Pulmerón ch Revé  
1958-01-29 Como pita el camión ch Revé-O. Pérez  
1958-01-29 Lo trajo Revé ch Revé-O. Pérez  
1958-01-29 Se va pa'l monte ch Revé-O. Pérez  
1958-01-29 Toma tilo ch Revé-O. Pérez  
. Como bailo yo ch .  
. Changüí morena . José Slater Badán  
. Juaniquita . .  
. Yo soy el changüí . D.R.  
. Mi ritmo changüí ch Revé .
. Compay Zenón . . .
. Tema (1st version) . . .
. El changüí está en la calle . Revé .
. Rigodón . R. Duañy .
. Los reyes del changüí . G. Lamas .
. Paraiso del amor twist Roberto Puentes .
. Feria de la juventud . . .

The Ayala database gives us the full story on the two 78s recording in early 1958. The 4 earlier dates are listed on a compilation called "Noche en la Habana". The other tracks are included in this group because of their style and instrumentation.

We have 4 JPGs of mystery album covers from this period. We don't know the numbers, the tracks, or the dates, but here's what they look like:

cuban music, musica cubana
is this photo from a famous fair that might help date it?
(there's no proof that this is an egrem album however)

cuban music, musica cubana
"egrem" at upper right

cuban music, musica cubana

cuban music, musica cubana
EGREM Guama LD-2013
(the front is the Cuban version - the back is a Venezuelan copy from Arturo Gómez)
(since the label is "Guama", the LD number doesn't help us date it - it might well be an EGREM compilation rather than an original release.)
(note that in pen, Marcané points out that Roberto Roena did a cover of No lo corras, and Orquesta Broadway did a cover of Guaricompé)

cuban music, musica cubana
?

Interesting bits of information from this period:

1) In the summer of 1958 many or most of Revé's musicians quit to form Ritmo Oriental. We don't know which musicians or exactly why. One speculation is that the musicians wanted to play pure charanga rather than a changüí-charanga fusion. However, Revé's early recordings have only extremely subtle changüí influences. Another speculation is that Revé himself was very hot-tempered and that this has contributed to his many group changes over the years!

2) In 1965, Chucho Valdés, already an established jazz artist, played briefly with Revé. We don't know if they ever recorded together.

3) According to an interview, César "Pupy" Pedroso apparently joined Revé before Formell and was briefly the musical director.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011, 03:31 AM