11 oct 2011

Orlando Marín celebró 60 años en la música

El pasado domingo 9, el timbalero Orlando Marín celebró sus 60 años de músico en New York. A continuación un fragmento de la celebración en el restaurante Don Coqui (cortesía de Richard Pagan) y una nota (en inglés) publicada en el New York Times

At 77, ‘Last Mambo King’ Refuses to Let the Rhythm Fade

With a red vest gleaming against his smart black suit, the Last Mambo King took center stage. Orlando Marin screwed on the timbales with white-gloved hands, eyed his fellow musicians, and then — bam! — mambo filled the South Street Seaport lounge. His brush stroked a cymbal; he sang out in Spanish and bobbed his head.

But on their Friday happy hour, most of the tipsy young revelers tried to block out the silver-haired 77-year-old and his band — they raised their voices or turned to a game on television. A few jokingly twirled for half a minute, then strutted out the door to the rain. Apart from Mr. Marin’s bouncing hips, the truest dancers were the harbor’s rocking ships, visible through the window.

This was far from the 1950s and the packed Palladium Ballroom in Midtown, where couples shook and spun to Mr. Marin’s number one hit “Se Te Quemó La Casa.”

But Mr. Marin will not let the real mambo die.

“He really is the last man standing from that era,” said Bobby Sanabria, a Grammy-nominated percussionist and bandleader who grew up inspired by Mr. Marin’s tunes. “He represents a period of music that is majestic. You can’t talk about the history of New York without talking about mambo.”

Mr. Marin still seems to live in that era of 1950s New York, with mambo celebrities like Tito Puente, Tito Rodríguez and Machito slamming dance halls with the Cuban-born beats.

Mr. Marin recalls, at age 11, asking God’s help to represent his fellow Puerto Ricans. Mambo, meaning “a conversation with the gods” in the Central African language Kikongo, was his answer.

After his first high school mambo dance class, he taught himself timbales — shallow, high-tuned drums — and started a neighborhood band in the South Bronx, with a future Grammy winner, Eddie Palmieri, then a 14-year-old prodigy.

That was 60 years ago, when Mr. Marin was 16.
Salsa en la Calle via Youtube

“He still plays the old style — he hasn’t conformed to what you call ‘salsa,’ ” said Jose Conzo Sr., a music historian and former archivist for Tito Puente. Mr. Conzo lamented the new commercialized name that serves as an umbrella for mambo, cha cha and other Latin rhythms. “When you look at the definition of salsa, it’s tomato sauce — you can’t dance to it!”

Mr. Marin performed with Charlie Parker at the Hunts Point Palace in the Bronx, and with 100 other soldiers on the Ed Sullivan show after winning the All-Army Entertainment Contest while he served in Korea.

His orchestra graced the Taft Hotel’s hopping Saturday night dances, where Edwin Torres, now an 80-year-old retired judge, met his wife.

“It’s the most beautiful dance conceived of,” Mr. Torres said. “I’m greatly saddened that the younger Latino people aren’t into it like we were.” He added, “I guess it’s inevitable.”

When Mr. Puente died in 2000, Mr. Marin, who has released seven albums, proclaimed himself the Last Mambo King, and his surviving contemporaries allowed him the title. True, the music legends Eddie Palmieri and Johnny Pacheco are still performing, said Mr. Conzo, but Mr. Palmieri plays more jazz, and Mr. Pacheco does not play as often as Mr. Marin.

For Mr. Marin, who says he sometimes felt shut out of the record industry in the 1960s, this is his time to represent. In recent years he has won Latin music lifetime achievement awards, including the 1999 Bobby Capo Award.

So now, Mr. Marin is celebrating, with a blowout 60-year anniversary performance Sunday night at Don Coqui, a Puerto Rican restaurant in New Rochelle, N.Y. His son, Orlando Marin Jr, will be on bass, as he has been for the past 20 years in his dad’s band.

“It’s a blessing to play with him,” said the younger Mr. Marin, though he conceded that he would play mambo much less after his father is gone.

But Mr. Marin does not plan on stopping.

“As long as I’m alive,” he said, “I’m like a little kid.”

Comment (1)

Se le quemó la casa!! orlando Marín leyenda de la música latina. ¡Que sean 60 más!