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Date or Sequence
Narrative including Bands &
Personnel and Musical Influences

On a trip to Las Vegas, I found Ted Rivera again after some 20+ years. Ted managed to get me Maria's phone number through Augie Dones (see below) through Mary's cousin Paulie on the pretext that Augie wanted to buy some pasteles!

I called Mary and arranged to meet her while I was on business in the Bay Area, the old "magic" was still there. We have been together ever since and we were married in 1997.

My interest in Latin music was reactivated (it had only been asleep, it had not died!).


While on visits to the Bay Area to see Maria, I managed to find many of my old musician friends including Carlos Federico, Harold Martin, Willie Vargas, and others.

Anecdote: I also found an old friend (Scott Gilbert) who had been previously married to the woman who had bought my original Tom Wofford congas but who did not sell them back as she had agreed! I asked about my old congas and he said they had been sitting in his living room since his ex-wife had left them with him when she moved to Africa. I asked if I could buy them back and he said no because they belonged to her. I said OK and let it go. The next day he called and said that if they really belonged to anyone, they belonged to me. I arranged to buy them back and sent the money to his ex-wife in Africa. WOW! 20+ years and I got my original Tom Wofford congas back!

Anecdote: On a visit to see Carlos, I took him a copy of the 1962 cassette. He was thrilled to get a copy, he had not heard it for almost 30 years and he said that he did not remember ever playing his tune "Chevere" so fast. He asked me if I was still playing and when I said no, he said he could not believe it because I had been one of the best conga players in the Bay Area! What a complement coming from one of the best. I asked why he had never corrected my conga playing during my early days and he said that although I might not play exactly traditional rhythms, whatever I did play always fit the music. I also asked him to identify what rhythm I was playing on a particular tune (Preparen Candela) and after some listening, he said it sounded like a precursor to the Mozambique (which most of us on the West Coast were not familiar with!).

This is when I also made contact with Harold Martin again and took him a copy of the tape.


I met a great local San Diego percussionist, Roy Gonzales. With his instigation and encouragement and his recommendations to the leaders of Endangered Species and Caña Dulce, I began to play congas and bongos again with several local Latin and non-Latin groups. About this time, I took a couple of folklorico lessons (my first!) where I really realized that I was an old-style band player. And I also discovered the new HTSTHTOO LLRLLLRR tumbao and the new players including Giovanni Hidalgo and others who play using the new technique. I still use the HTSTHTOO LRLRLRR as my basic tumbao but I am much freer and able to use my left hand quite freely on a third conga.


All the band members of Endangered Species had charts except the congas. Sometimes I peeked at the drum charts to get an idea of what was going to happen.

Endangered Species (a big jazz band:15-20 pieces): Ollie Mitchell, leader, trumpet, arranger, composer; Ollie had played with Perez Prado on some 50s or 60s LPs.

+++1995/03/05 Tape of last Endangered Species performance and going away party for Ollie. Horns, piano, bass and percussion were miked except the bongos/bell which were not miked! With Roy Gonzales, congas; yours truly, bongos & bell, tambourine; horn players played misc. percussion. Roy was at the back of the band and I was to the side and below the drummer. After the Latin jazz tune below, I got a lot of complements from the band and other musicians in the audience, they had never heard anyone play bongos so loud and clearly without a mike:

Sesame_Street and unknown_Latin_Jazz_tune.


Mary finally moved to San Diego and we fully began our life together (again)!


My friend Roy Gonzales started playing timbales with Hector Valle's group, Caña Dulce, and when Hector asked if he could recommend a bongo player, Roy recommended me and I got the job (my first job as a bongocero!). Caña Dulce had lots of rehearsals, few jobs, and a few percussion charts!

Caña Dulce: Hector Valle (PR), leader, guitar/quattro/bass, vocal; Roy Gonzales, timbales; Anibal ?, bass; Robert Felcher, congas, Louis?, vocals; Califa, bongos and bell. I started out on bongos and bell and later added tambora and/or quiro for the merengues, cumbias, etc.; I played a job with Hector on drums with no other percussion and several jobs on congas.

Anecdote: After a few rehearsals, Caña Dulce had a one hour freebie showcase job and, although we had only rehearsed it a few times, Hector called out the first tune, "Tres Lindas Cubanas" (for those who do not know the tune, it can have a somewhat tricky introduction!). He just started playing the tune with no count and when the rest of us started to play, the band was not together (it seemed that everyone was playing a different one beat). I did not know where one was but I was doing licks off the cuatro and doing OK (still looking for the beat!) and all of a sudden, Hector looks at me and says "take a solo". We had not rehearsed with a bongo solo at the beginning of this tune. But I took the solo (sweating the whole time because I still did not know where the one was). The solo was probably three to four minutes long and, at the end of my solo, the audience applauded greatly, the band came together and we continued and finished the tune as rehearsed. After the tune, the whole band complemented me for my solo! To this day, I don't think the band knew that I had no idea where the one was during my entire solo!

Caña Dulce flyer for first performance.

Caña Dulce at a Salsa Contest (eating salsa not dancing salsa) in National City, Ca.

L-R: Robert Felcher, Juan Dupres, Hector Valle, Califa (great legs!).

+++rehearsal tapes?


The Paul Miles Express was pure jam session! This is one of the most interesting groups with which I have played, guitar, sax, and congas! I even enjoyed the mandatory conga/bongo solos, "solo" meaning by myself; I have never particularly enjoyed playing solo congas or bongos, I have always preferred to work off of and be inspired by the piano or guitar lines!

Paul Miles Express: Paul Miles, leader, vocals, guitar; Greg Modugno, sax; Califa, congas, bongos, foot bell. I have also played drums on a couple jobs with Paul when he enlarged the band and Eddie Jordan (see below) played bass.

Anecdote: I first played with Paul on a Friday night as a substitute for Robert Felcher (see Caña Dulce). Paul was playing the next night and Robert had setup another conguero to play but Paul said he liked my playing and I ended up playing Saturday also. I played for about a year or so with Paul and we even did a video but I have never received a copy of the video!

On 1995/10/16, we recorded "Its A Good Day For The Bad Guys (Remembering Nicole)",an original tune relating to the death of Nicole and Ron Goldman; lyrics by Kit Goldman (related to Ron Goldman of O.J. Simpson case?) with music and vocal by Paul Miles. We had performed this tune several times live and when we got to the studio, we did it in one take for the music! Paul added the vocal later.


+++live job recordings


Carlos Federico was found deceased.


Mary and I were married! Thirty some years late! But better late than never!

Interesting note: after 25+ years with no contact, while I was attending a Pete Escovedo Concert (1997) here in San Diego, a younger friend of mine and I were allowed to go back stage and Pete recognized me immediately and treated me as an old friend with a big hug, asked if I was still playing, and we discussed mutual old musician friends, all of this sure impressed my friend who was not sure that I had really played the kind of jobs and with the caliber of people I had described when relating my musical history.


Salsabrosa had one rehearsal and then we played the first hour at a San Juan Day gathering with many hundreds of people. We rehearsed many times after that but never did play another job and the band just faded away! Rehearsals but no percussion charts.

Salsabroso (a big band): Orlando Andersen (Panamanian), leader, bass, vocal; Tony Sawyer, congas (see below); Califa, bongos and tambora; several horns, keyboard, and vocalists.


Ted Rivera and I, together again, after 20+ years!

As of 1998, I have been playing drums with Craig Lloyd's group, "Twist Of Fate" for a couple of years. All tunes are Craig's originals and sometimes I use unusual rhythms/styles/feels, e.g., (Calypso shuffle, an almost 8/8 shuffle, semi-funk, various 12/8, shuffle, jazz, my version of Cajun, etc.). Lots of rehearsals but no charts! I keep trying and will eventually succeed in getting the group, at least, the bass and drums, to play a solid Latin rhythm!

2009/09/08 update: in 1996, I played congas for a while with Craig on guitar and soon Craig found a bass player (Eddie Jordon) and we then decided we needed a drummer. Jason was added on lead guitar. The band tried out several drummers and did a recording session with a young drummer (the mixdown was so bad that the congas cannot be heard). But, we were not able to find a drummer who could really understand the feeling and style of Craigs music. So one day, I sat in on the drums he had in his garage "studio" and "the rest is history" (or should that be "hysterical"?), Eddie and I worked so well together that one day he said that he would quit if I did not continue on drums. I have been playing drums with Craig since then. Craig and Eddie had a falling out and Jason took over on bass. When we record again, I will probably do some conga, bongo, and other percussion over-dubs.

1996: The Pen and the Sword, Mr. Bluebird, Love Lost, Black Magic - Spider - On the Lam(b), Mojo, Blind Man, Thunder'n and Mr Bluebird.

Twist of Fate: Craig Lloyd, leader, vocals, guitar; Jason Weiss, bass; Dennis Reed, drums.

Craig is self-taught and very unconventional but extremely creative, i.e., several new tunes every week or so, and creates many beautiful original tunes including some that could become jazz standards if promoted approprately! Jason is a college student with little professional music experience but with formal music training and the ability to set the training aside and listen to Craig, Jason came into the group as a lead guitar and when Eddie left, he took over bass; we all discuss and recommend rhythms, changes, bass lines, etc., with each other; it is the first drum job where there is little preconception as to what is required by the drums and my concepts and suggestions usually prevail.

Anecdote: How I met Craig in 1996? is interesting, at least to me: I was in a music store and, as usual, when I see congas, I try out their tuning and sounds by playing a few patterns. When I left the store about half an hour later, there was this "hippy" looking guy with his son waiting for me outside the store. He said he liked what he had heard me doing and asked if I would be interested in rehearsing and recording with him. I said I would give it a try.

Anecdote: Eddie Jordon was trying to figure out the changes for one of Craigs tunes, "Blue", which has a blues feeling. Eddie was having a hard time with it until we figured out that although it seemed to be a blues, it was missing one change! I suggested that we call the tune "Blu" (pronounced without a "U" sound, more like "bluh") and the name stuck!

2003/05/18: Jam in A, Blind Man, Beans and Cornbread - The River, Oh! Momma, Craigism, Sleepin' in a Hollow Log, Freedom, Home To You and Freedom.

2003/10/10: in a few weeks Craig will be moving to Sacramento, CA to rekindle a relationship with a woman from some 20-30 years ago. I will really miss the Sat/Sun rehearsals/jams and the guys. This group allowed me the most freedom and authority to make suggestions of all the bands I have ever worked with.

I have some rehearsal tapes and at least one CD...the CD tunes are linked above.


I have played with a couple  local bands as a substitute for their regular percussionists. I have played all these jobs "cold".

Bands include:

  • A Gypsy rumba band (I can't recall the name)
  • Kicks: a "popular" group playing "oldies but goodies", old and new rock, show tunes, etc. This group puts on a very professional show with the singers/dancers and good musicians

Note: I now usually play 3 and sometimes 4 congas now instead of the two I started out with years ago! I also usually use stands for the congas when playing with big bands. Depending on the job I also sometimes use bongos on a stand along with the congas.


Last weekend, Mary and I stayed at Teds new home. Ted and I talked to Mike Hermosillo, who lives in Connecticut, and maybe we will be able to get together for an old-timers jam session with many of the San Jose musicians from the old days this summer. (1998/07/19: did not work out this summer, maybe next summer)


I have been investigating timbalitos and how to play them in the bongo-style like Papaito of Sonora Matancera and recently, Larry Harlow put me in contact with Pablo Rosario in PR to get some timbalitos tips.

I am also still trying to get tambora sticking information. Wish me luck! 1999/12/??


I was just asked to play drums/timbales in a band being organized by Tony Sawyer, a very solid conga player who I met playing with Salsabrosa. Tony has heard me play congas and bongos but not drums or timbales. He said his decision is based upon my "ear"!


I just spoke to Rudi Petschek and he gave the the phone numbers of Cesar and Casto Ascarrunz. Guy Hoffmann was visiting from Peru and staying at Cesar's and we plan to keep in touch. Guy and Casto gave me some corrected and information for this document. Cesar owned Cesar's Palace, in the Mission district in S.F., for many years but he recently sold it.


Twist of Fate played its first public appearance at a street party in Santee. The crowd who was down the street from the band area thought someone had put on a CD. The band was very well received.


I just spoke to Mike Hermosillo and he is going to send me the original reel-to-reel tapes of Sonora Marianao and some other early recordings!


Mary and I attended the salsa venue of the San Diego Street Scene. We met and talked to the headliner, Willie Colón. Willie is a real gentleman and a great person.

Mary, Willie, and Califa after performance.

Willie Colón at the 1998 San Diego Street Scene. L-R: ? Papine, ?, ?, Willie, ?, Jimmy Bosch, ?

Just received a phone call from Armando Peraza! We talked on his dime for about 15 or 20 minutes. He called to thank me for sending him a cassette of "More Drums on Fire" LP which he recorded in 1959 but which he did not have a copy.

Armando_Peraza - More_Drums_On_Fire - Artistry_In_Rhythm
Armando_Peraza - More_Drums_On_Fire - Triste

We talked about drumming and especially about how he always (and I to the best of my abilities) make the congas or bongos fit the music being played rather than trying to make the music conform to the drums. This was triggered by my comment that Carlos Federico said whatever I played, even if not traditional, always fit the music and my question regarding "Preparen Candela", i.e., does it appear to be a precursor to the mozambique?

Armando commented also that the best players have a sound of their own which fits the music while the other 99% of players all sound alike! He also commented that he and Mongo were the first to add the bongo bell in the U.S. and that people were initially freaked out with the bell (this is interesting because I have never seen Armando play the bongo bell)! He said he is looking forward to visiting with me and his other friends including Jack Costanzo when he comes to San Diego or when I get back up to San Francisco.


Talked to Cesar Ascarrunz in San Francisco on the phone, he might send me more old pictures and maybe some tapes. Also talked to Guy Hoffman in Peru (after 30+ years, I found out that his real name is Tito!) in Peru and maybe he will some pictures too.


I just got Mike Pacheco's phone number from Dr. Trevor Salloum from the RMAL NG. I called Mike and talked to him for about 20 minutes. He sort of remembered me and we talked about the old days. I plan to see him as soon as possible.


With fellow RMALer Clayton Leander, I went to see another RMALer, Dave Harvey, who makes congas, bongos, and cow bells. When we arrived, sitting behind a conga was Orestes Vilato! We talked for about 2 1/2 hours about the history of la musica, techniques, etc. We shared anecdotes.

Orestes said he first saw the change from LLRRLLRR HTSTHTOO to LLRLLLRR HTSTHTOO played by a charanga conguero, Alberto Valdes, in 1962 as a charanga pattern (he also said Tommy Lopez was also using that pattern) and has been adoped by many, if not most, modern congueros.

He also said that the original LLRRLLRR was HTSSHTOO!

We also discussed timbalero Guillermo Barreto at length especially regarding Barreto's varying of the basic cascara to work with the melodic content.

I also showed him my cheapo bongos and he was impressed with their sound! Clayton and Dave wrote the he seemed impressed with my bass tone and slap while testing Dave's congas. I must practice and get my chops back up to par.


Met with RMALer Stan Ginn and shared anecdotes, techniques, and rhythms. Stan showed me a basic rumba pattern (see 1999/06/02 below).


Played with a few San Jose musicians with whom I played during the 60s and 70s for Ted Rivera's daughter's wedding reception. It was great to see these guys after more than 30 years!


Got out a Bobby Sanabria video and started to study rumba and bembé patterns (at last!).


Still working on rumba with lots of help from various RMAL participants including recommended CDs and drum notations for rumba patterns.


Went to 4th & B to see Larry Harlow and the Latin Legends Band; great show; finally met Pablo Rosario and when he introduced me to Harlow, Harlow said, "Califa!" and gave me a big hug like a long lost friend; everyone I met in the band was extremely friendly (Mary said not one had their nose in the air). I posted the following to RMAL (except for putting thumbnail photos in tables):

Subject: Larry Harlow and the Latin Legends in S.D.
Date: Sun, 18 Jul 1999 02:38:28 -0700
From: "Dennis M. Reed \"Califa\""

We just got back from seeing Harlow. What a show! Great musicians (don't know all the names but Harlow, Pablo Rosario (bongos), Yomo Toro (cuatro), Adalberto Santiago (vocal)) but I will get most of the names tomorrow when the band comes to our house for a PR dinner! I will post photos and more details later. When Pablo introduced me to Larry, Larry said "Califa!" and gave me a big hug like long lost friends. Every one in the band I talked to was extremely friendly and down home (like Mary said, "Not one nose up in the air!").

I have never liked bongos played with sticks but Pablo was terrific!

The timbale player did something I had not seen before: he kept a bell pattern (1,2,3,4 very steady) and soloed with his left hand and a very tasty solo it was! Several times he would be playing a bell pattern with his right hand and then he would drop his right arm to his side and play the same pattern with his left hand!

Yomo Toro was terrific as to be expected and after the show he and Mary talked for about 10 minutes (very fast like PRs frequently do) like long lost friends. Mary told me that when she said she was preparing gandule rice, Yomo said "aaah!", then she said, "PR roast beef", "aaaaaah!", pasteles, "AAAAAH!", tostones, "AAAAAAAAH!", arroz con dulce, "AAAAAAAAAAAAH!". I think he likes food :>)

The band did one rumba (semi folklorico) which moved me to dance (and that is rare)! I actually danced 7 tunes and that is about 3 more than usual (and my feet hurt)!

See this show if you can!

Later, gotta get some sleep to get up early to take Pablo to Tijuana (maybe we can find a "bombo lleguera" in Tijuana).


I posted the following to RMAL (except for putting thumbnail photos in tables):

Subject: They made it! Larry Harlow and the Latin Legends
Date: Mon, 19 Jul 1999 10:18:42 GMT
From: "Dennis M. Reed \"Califa\""Organization: @Home Network

I picked up Pablo Rosario Sun morning at 10 am and took him to Tijuana. We talked about his beginnings as a musician and all about musical experiences, concepts, techniques, etc. He found his bombo leguera (maybe the only one in town)!

The band made it for dinner (according to Pablo, Yomo does not usually go with the band to such parties) minus two horn players who had to fly back the NY and the conguero and timbalero who had a previous engagement with family.

1. L-R: Pablo Rosario, my Mary, Larry Harlow, Tommy Rosas, Adalberto Santiago.

2. L-R: Adalberto Santiago, Emo ?, Vincent Velez Jr., Eddie "Guagua" Rivera, Yomo Toro.

3. Front: Califa Next L-R: Pablo, Mary Next L-R: Vincent, Tommy, Yomo Next L-R: Guagua, Emo, Adalberto, Larry, Carlos Morgan.

People are the same as photo 3.

People are the same as photo 3.

Front L-R: Pablo, Mildred(?) (Carlos' mother), Maritza Morgan (Carlos' wife), Mary, Yomo Rear L-R: Guagua, Emo, Vincent.

More photos (courtesy of Carlos Morgan)

They all looked at my LP, CD, and video collection and Vincent said, "he has even more than I do!". I then showed them Mary's collection and they just could not believe it (Mary and I have substantially different collections with few duplications). Larry then put on an Aragon video recorded at Lincoln Center earlier this year (I was able to make a copy). During the video, I showed Pablo the chekeres Mary had made (we grew the gourds ourselves) and he was impressed (I showed Guagua the collection later) then Mary and I gave one to Pablo.

We then served dinner: a 22 pound PR roast beef, pasteles, tamales, PR chicken, gandule rice, habechuelas, and salad. They all ate until they could barely get up! I have never met such a friendly group of professional musicians, all of them!

I got out my 40 year old Goya G-10 guitar to show it to Yomo Toro, his eyes got wide and he smiled from ear to ear, he started to check it out and, even though I have not had it out of its case for two or more years, it was in tune (he made one minor tuning tweak later). Then I pulled out my 35 year old Silvertone guitar and the two horn players and Eddie "Guagua" Rivera really lit up! I told them that when I sent it to a shop to have it made into a bass, the repair man called me and said he would not do it but that he would restore it to its original condition for $100 so I still have a guitar!

Can you imagine having Yomo Toro sitting in your living room playing songs for your wife! And Adalberto Santiago singing and Pablo playing timbales along on several tunes!

It really happened and they all signed a birthday card for Mary's next birthday.

Photos will appear on my web site as soon as we get them developed (may be a while).

Everyone seemed to have a good time and they just loved Mary and her food (there are never ending perks to having a PR wife who can cook up a storm!).

I got to talk more with Pablo and, just before the band left about 10pm, I started to talk with Guagua in Mary's music room about musical experiences, etc., as I had with Pablo earlier. Just as he started to play a cassette of three tunes from his new CD (in the background I could hear Yomo, Pablo, and Adalberto doing a couple of tunes (mentioned above) and I was tempted to go play bongos but Guagua and I were in the middle of a serious discussion.

Then Larry said they had to get back to the hotel. Outside Yomo lifted his arms to the sky and said he was in heaven and told me we must come to NY and he would take us all around!

So they all left except Pablo. Pablo stayed behind to show me a couple of timbalito techniques and to check out my congas, bongos, timbales, and timbalitos, bongos, etc. About five minutes later Guagua showed up at the front door (he had gotten out of the van and walked a block back to the house).

Pablo really liked my timbales and said I should definitely keep them. Guagua played tumbao on one of my 40 year old TW congas while Pablo showed me the couple of things on timbalitos which he had failed to tell me when we talked about 6 months ago on the phone.

Interestingly, Pablo uses the LLRRLLRR on congas for all but slower tunes on which he uses LLRLLLRR! I am not alone :>)

Then Pablo went to the dining room and talked to Mary while Guagua and I picked up where we had left off and listened to the cassette. We talked a little about computers, he is connected to the internet and asked for my Email address and site so he can send me a copy of the cassette or the CD when it comes out (not really Latin but some extremely beautiful tunes) and said I could put the on my web site. He and I then went to my computer room (Mary had forbade that because of the mess) where I played parts of a couple of tunes from 1962 with Carlos Federico. When I played La Bola, we listened to the intro and then I forwarded it to my conga solo and after a few licks I started to stop the tune and he said no, let it go. He seemed to like what he had heard.

About an hour and a half later, I took Pablo and Guagua back to the hotel. Larry and Guagua both said we would keep in touch via email and Pablo by phone (definitely could be!).  What an experience, what an evening. To tell the truth I am a bit overwhelmed by tonight's experience. Sorry to go on and on but I just had to share our good fortune.

The following are a posting I made to RMAL and an email from Mary's best friend:

Subject: Last posting Re: They made it! Larry Harlow and the Latin Legends
Date: Tue, 20 Jul 1999 00:48:46 GMT
From: "Dennis M. Reed \"Califa\"" Organization: @Home Network
References: 1

This will be the last episode until I make the pictures available unless I remember something particularly significant (as least, in my opinion!).

The band members who attended were: Larry Harlow, Yomo Toro, Adalberto Santiago, Pablo Rosario, Eddie "Guagua" Rivera, Emilio "Emo" ? (singer), Vincent Velez, Jr. (baritone sax, flute). Also attending were Tommy Rosas (a local MC and promoter and a Panamanian couple who sat at the same table with with us Saturday night (and his mother). (I can't make out the names with ? from their signatures on Mary's birthday card, they write as poorly as I do!)

OK, on with the narrative: I met Jack Costanzo while dancing, we chatted for a few minutes as usual and he said the band was great. When he went backstage after the show to complement the band, HE was the celebrity! Many of the Legends had been greatly influenced by Jack when they were starting (they even talked about him at the house) including Larry and Pablo!

Guagua and Pablo each told me independently how they had started professionally with Charlie Palmieri when they were about 17 years old. He really took them under his wing and tutored them in la música!

Several of the guys said that when they had been asked by fans what they were going to do on Sunday and the said they were going to Califa's for dinner, and a lot of them replied, "Oh yes, Califa" or "OK, Califa!" which seemed funny to me because I have not had much exposure in the Latin music scene here in San Diego. In fact, I did not know any of the members of Zona Nueva which played before Harlow. Who were these folks and how do they know me (certainly a big mystery to me!)?

Tommy said we would get comps for the upcoming Albita concert but I don't know if I will take him up on the offer, after all, he was a guest in our home and there are no strings attached with being a guest! I called Tommy this morning to apologize for not getting to talk much with him and he understood that I should not miss the opportunity to spend most of my time with Pablo and Guagua. He said that while he was driving three of them back to the hotel, Yomo kept remarking about the hospitality and Adalberto kept saying how great the food was for the whole trip! And that they all seemed quite contented and satisfied (thank God for Mary!).

BTW The conguero and timbalero had their family get together at my friend Roy Gonzales' house! We did not know about each other's events until Saturday night and we would have liked to combine them into one event but we decided that it would be too hard to do since both houses had made preparations for the dinners.

When looking for the bombo leguera with Pablo, I picked up some Fiberskyn 2 bongo heads (I have been wanting to try one on the hembra but have been reticent to spend $40 for something I might not like!) a spare macho head ($10) and an hembra head ($13)!

The following was sent to us by Flora Agosto who is and has been a DJ at KKUP 91.5 radio in Cupertino, Ca., and has been Mary's best friend since the early 80s:

Subject: Saludos from Nancy Lane:
Date: Sun, 25 Jul 1999 20:37:31 -0700

Hello my friends: I am dropping a few lines after reading all that "GREAT" stuff that happened in your home, I am sure that was a great experience for the both of you. Guess what? We went to see them last night at Yoshi's in Oakland, they were great!!!! We went up after the show and the first person we spoke to was "Yomo", after a few words I mentioned "Califa's" and boy he could not stop talking about the great and unforgettable hospitality they received in your home and how great all that food that Mary prepared (and I know she can do it GOOD too). After a while we spoke with Larry and the same, they were shocked to find out we (you and Mary) and Tony and I knew each other, they were very excited. Adalberto was tired and he left before we could get to chat with him, in fact they were all exhausted, but we really enjoyed their set and the few words we exchanged.

Mary: Yomo told me to THANK YOU very much for all the food, pasteles, tamales, las habechuelas, the rice and all he really enjoyed his visit with both of you.

Well my friends that is all for now; do take care, my love to the both of you and hugs and kisses for Mary.


Albita Concert (posted to RMAL):

The first band was Primo, a new San Diego salsa band. Good clean sound with several players I have worked with. I hope they continue for a long time.

The timbalero finally gave me the bongo bell I had paid him for about a year and a half ago! He said this bell was no longer available (I forget the name of the manufacturer). Nice sound but I haven't had a chance to see how this bell compares with the great bell I got from Dave Harvey last May.

1999/08/21: the bells are both nice with significantly different sounds (now I have to carry 3 bells with my bongos!).

Albita! Great show! I enjoyed many of the tunes and she is a great performer. The band was tight. No timbales or bongos! Just drum set and congas but many other band members played claves, chekeres, güiro, etc. Albita's rapport with the audience was great. I especially liked a trombone, bass, and vocal trio tune (my wife did not care for it because she thought it was not danceable, in fact, she thought most of the music was not danceable, I thought it was danceable, it was just not the ordinary timbale, conga, bass rhythm section, I think the overpowering drum set was what threw her off but it was not the drummers fault, see below). They did an interesting version of Manicero, a folklorico tune (OK, semi folklorico), a medley with Santa Barbara and other similar familiar tunes, and a comparsa (the keyboard player played a weird bell pattern (not the comparsa pattern I am familiar with).

BTW what style would you call her music? It kind of reminds me of songo or timba or something close.

Overall I enjoyed the show but I wish again that the sound man would listen to Latin recordings to get the correct balance instead of boosting drum set and especially the bass and bass drum to the point that on accents you could feel it in your chest! It made it almost impossible to hear Albita and the rest of the band. Plugging my ears allowed me to hear all the band in a more suitable way (I will try to remember ear plugs next time). What is the matter with these sound guys? Is their hearing gone or something? Why don't bands have their own sound engineers or at least send a designated band member out to the front to check the sound levels throughout the concert and have them make the sound guys adjust appropriately?


Subject: Manny Oquendo and Libre!
Date: Sat, 18 Sep 1999 09:18:36 GMT
From: "Dennis M. Reed \"Califa\""
Organization: @Home Network

Just got back from seeing Manny Oquendo. Great show. Tito Nieves was sitting just in front of us and he sang one tune with Manny. The conguero (did not get his name) was very tasty, Andy Gonzales did some nice bass solos and played very solid tumbao, the horn section (1 trumpet, 4 trombones) was exceptionally tight and tasty, the singers were very good, solid piano, and Manny played timbales, bongos/bell, and timbalitos. Manny demonstrated what I have been seeing with the veteran timbaleros lately, i.e., a minimum of wasted motion and playing just what is needed!

We took some photos with Manny and one with Tito (I will put them on my site if they come out OK).

P.S. We discussed having them over for dinner if they get to San Diego again (so what's new).

P.P.S. I talked with Jack Costanzo and he will be getting a PC for his birthday (I offered to help him get started with it) so maybe we might get a visit from him on RMAL, who knows?