Orquesta Akokán - Orquesta Akokán (Daptone Records)
Add Date: 04/03
Format: Triple A & World
Artist info: Daptone Records is proud to introduce Orquesta Akokán, a big band collective of Havana’s top musicians both young and old, joining forces with some of the most creative and spirited talents of New York’s Latin music scene. Born out of a shared vision by singer José "Pepito" Gómez, producer Jacob Plasse, and arranger Michael Eckroth, the group reinvigorates the soul of the golden era of Cuban mambo with a bold new energy.
Gómez had enlisted his old friend César Lopez from Irakere, and together they had assembled a group of some of the greatest musicians of Cuba, many of whom had long been heroes and inspirations to Plasse and Eckroth: A saxophone section made up of Jamil Shery and José Luis "El Chewy" Hernandez on tenors, with Evaristo Denis on baritone, and of course César Lopez on alto. On trombones, Carlos "Afrokán" Alvarez Guerra of Cubanismo fame, Heikel Fabián Trimiño, and Yoandy Argudin. Santiago Ceballos Seijido and Harold Madrigal Frías on trumpets. Itai Kriss on flute. Eduardo Lavoy Zaragoza on bongo, with Otto Santana Selis on conga and sharing timbale duty with Carlitos Padron. Coros would be sung by Eddie Venegas and Luis Soto. These musicians, armed with Eckroth's hard-boiled arrangements and fronted by Gómez' soaring vocals, were to be the backbone of Orquesta Akokán.
Akokán is a Yoruba word used by Cubans to mean "from the heart" or "soul", so it comes as no surprise that a recording like this would find its way back to Brooklyn’s Daptone Records. For nearly a generation, the venerable label has brought soulful music in a myriad of styles, made in the present, but with all the craft and flavor of the classic recordings of the past. In doing so Daptone has enshrined both the genres it honors as well as artists creating new works in the universal canon of dance music. A perfect kitchen from which to serve this captivating baile between old and new, performed with rhythm, with care, and above all, con akokán.