Entre Colegas (Truth Revolution Records)

Andy González

Released February 16, 2016

Grammy Nominee for Best Latin Jazz Album 2017





In a career that spans almost 50 years and roughly 1000 recordings as a co-leader, producer, musical director, and sideman, Andy Gonzalez is arguably one of the most important bass players of his generation.
His impressive body of work transcends time and genres, beginning with the Latin Jazz Quintet at the age of 13; followed by foundational contributions to the Fort Apache Band, led by his brother, Jerry Gonzalez and Grupo Folklorico Experimental Nuevayorquino, an inter-generational collective of Latinos (Puerto Ricans and Cubans) whose music offered a fresh alternative to the commercial world of salsa. Andy is also the co-leader and musical director for the killer dance band, Manny Oquendo and Libre.
In addition, Andy has performed and recorded with Dizzy Gillespie, Tito Puente, Kenny Dorham, Machito, Hilton Ruiz, Mc Coy Tyner, Chico O’ Farrill, Ray Barretto, Johnny Pacheco, Papo Vazquez, Arturo O’ Farrill, Ruben Blades, Bebo Valdes, Eddie Palmieri, Deep Rumba, the Conga Kings, and Rumba Club among others. 
The repertoire offers the listener a glimpse into Andy’s inmost being and reflects his diverse taste in music. Unlike the vast majority of his recordings, which feature brass and horn ensembles, Entré Colegas focuses on guitars, strings and Latin jazz with folkloric elements. Andy imagines it as, “Django Reinhardt goes to Cuba and Puerto Rico.”
The music conjures up the sound and spirit of the historic Cuban Jam Sessions and the spontaneous descargas that took place in the basement of the Gonzalez home in the South Bronx, where Andy, Jerry and other artists cut their teeth under the gaze of Latin music historian Rene Lopez.
The album begins with Vieques, a Puerto Rican bomba that appeared on Arturo O’ Farrill’s Live in Brooklyn (Zoho, 2005); Ludwig Van Beethoven’s Ode to Joy is inspired by the choir scene in the film, Sister Act 2; El Mostro’s Alguinaldo showcases Orlando Santiago’s traditional yet harmonically adventurous cuatro playing; Erroll Garner’s Misty and Billy Strayhorn’s A Flower is a Lovesome Thing are jazz classics; the Mexican bolero, Sabor a Mi, features vocalist, guitarist David Oquendo; as the title implies, Inspiración de Cachao pays tribute to the legendary bassist, composer Israel “Cachao” Lopez; Conversa Conversando features tres master, Nelson Gonzalez. The album closes with a duet between Andy and protégé Luques Curtis, who interpret the theme from the 1964 TV series, the Addams Family with a Latin beat (trademark finger snaps included).
Many of the musicians who participated in the sessions have long-standing associations with Andy that go back to his childhood and early years as a fledgling musician. Others are colleagues, students and emerging artists that Andy wished to showcase, particularly, cuatro player, Orlando Santiago, who Andy cites as an inspiration and a game changer.
The sessions were joyful and challenging, particularly for Andy, who experienced fatigue and stiffness in his hands as a result of dialysis. Ben Lapidus eloquently captures the atmosphere and spirit of the sessions in the liner notes: “Once everyone was in the studio, there was no dialysis, no illness, no fatigue; there was only the creation of beautiful music.”
Entré Colegas captures Andy’s essence and creative force. Truth Revolution Records is proud to present the first recording to bear his name and invites you to take part in the celebration of a musical genius and a live well lived.

Track Listing:

1. Vieques 4:56

2. Ode to Joy 5:32

3. El Mostro’s Aguinaldo 3:14

4. Misty 8:13

5. Inspiración de Cachao (Estudio en Trompeta) 3:56

6. Sabor a Mí 4:17

7. Dialysis Blues 3:25

8. Conversando Conversa 4:31

9. A Flower is a Lovesome Thing 8:20

10. The Addams Family Theme 3:47


Andy González: bass (1-4, 6-8, 10)

Luques Curtis: bass (9, 10), snaps (10)

Zaccai Curtis: piano (2, 9), snaps (10)

Nelson González: tres (1, 5, 8)

David Oquendo: guitar (1, 2, 3, 6, 8), vocals (8), snaps (10)

Camilo Molina-Gaetan: barriles, cua (1), maracas (6)

Carlos Adabie: trumpet (2, 4, 8, 9)

Nicky Marrero: timbales (3, 5), bongós (8)

Ricky Salas: congas (3, 5, 8, 10), vocals (8), timbales (10)

Charlie Santiago: bongós (3, 5), timbales (8)

Vincent George: guiro (3, 8), clave (5)

Ben Lapidus: guitar (2, 4, 6, 7), tres (2, 4), coro (4)

Manuel Carro: cajón (2, 4, 7), vocals (4), chekere (4), bongas (6)

Roland Guerrero: congas, cowbell (2, 6, 7

Orlando “El Mostro De Camao” Santiago: cuatro (1, 3, 5

Keith Thomas: snaps (10)

Producer: Luques Curtis

Mixed and Mastered by Edwin Ramos


González brothers are a Puerto Rican dynasty, much like the Jones brothers of Pontiac, Michigan. While trumpeter and conguero Jerry González might have a higher profile by virtue of his being leader of the Fort Apache Band, his elder brother Andy is a formidable bassist, a veteran of his over 1000 recordings. However, what gets Andy González the respect he so deserves is his majestic, magical and mystical handling of the bass violin. Absent is the drama of pyrotechnics and in its place is a sumptuous, magisterial tone of an ultra-virtuoso. His glittering articulation differs from most bassists of his generation and if there is anyone his playing recalls it is that of the irrepressible beauty of Cachao.

Andy González has never been in finer form than on his 2016 disc, Entre Colegas, a flatteringly beautiful album that celebrates the unexplored nooks and crannies of the repertoire of the bass. But it does so in such a subtle, almost whispering manner that you sometimes hardly notice the glorious playing of González. More’s the pity. Andy González brings a daunting command to the instrument in no less a dazzling way that Cachao did in his heyday – a truly joyous evocation of tonal colour and textures that seem impossibly beautiful in the very fleet footedness of each note, each phrase and exquisite melodic line that González plays throughout.

Marvellously produced this disc includes music that is so unexpectedly magical that you are likely to find yourself catching your breath. The two songs that demand utmost praise are Friedrich Schiller’s ‘Ode to Joy’, best known for its being set to music in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and Errol Garner’s ‘Misty’. The latter has been masterfully turned into a bolero magnificently voiced by Manuel Alejandro Carro. Both charts are rarities in the best sense of the term. ‘Ode to Joy’ might miss the rousing crescendos of its symphonic version, but it still conjures the beauteous feelings of ecstasy in this version on this disc. This is also one of those recordings where each song is aptly chosen for the date and faultlessly played by the ensemble.

The unusual tripartite conversations between bass, tres and congas also makes for something to marvel at, especially when the tres is played by such luminaries as Ben Lapidus and Nelson González, the congas by Roland Guerrero and of course the bass by the ineffable Andy González. A particularly poignant piece is ‘Dialysis Blues’ – an aching reminder of the torturous procedure that virtually keeps Andy González in a modicum of good health. But perhaps the most beautiful tracks come at the end of this unforgettable disc. Two thumbs up: one for Billy Strayhorn’s ballad, ‘A Flower is a Lovesome Thing’ thanks also to Carlos Abadie’s silken-voiced trumpet lines; and the other for the Addams Family Theme for the imperious duet between Andy González and the prodigiously talented bassist Luques Curtis. A glorious disc if ever there was one.

Raul da Gama (Latin Jazz Network)