Blast From The Past: Orquesta Narváez “La Mafia”

Originally from Puerto Rico, Orquesta Narvaez was a band that typified the Salsa sounds of the 70’s in New York City. With an emphasis on heavy trombone lines, their music preceded the term “salsa dura”, which is the description currently used to describe their style of music today. Led by vocalist Armando Vasquez, the band had moderate success with their first and only vinyl recording released on the Tico label in 1975, entitled Reincarnation.

The song “La Mafia” has a sound that is reminiscent of Willie Colon’s legendary style of arrangement and even the lead vocals sound a bit like early Hector LaVoe.  But despite the musical similarities they share with Willie and Hector, the band does show a unique sound of their own on several of the project’s other tracks.

For collectors of “salsa classica” this is a very hard to find vinyl gem that is a bit on the pricey side, but definitely worth it.  Rumor has it that the band is back in the studio working on a recording that is due out in spring of 2012.  Until then I will have it on my wish list, and when we get it here at “NewGenSalsa” a review is sure to follow.

Orquesta Narvaez featured musicians:

Dewell Narvaez – Trombone & Cuatro (Musical Arranger)
Ralphie Rodriguez – Trombone
Johnny “Caliente” Carro – Piano
Pequeno Jonny Morales – Timbales
Joe Naveira – Bass
Manny Grau – Bongo
Danny Quijano – Congas
Armando Vasquez – Vocals

Reincarnation Song Titles

Side A:
1. “Obra del tiempo (D. Narváez, O Rivera)
2. “Negrita (J. Ortiz, D. Narváez)”
3. “Reincarnation (J. Carro, A. Vázquez, D. Narváez)”
4. “Sabiduria (D. Narváez)”

Side B:
1. “La Mafia (D. Narváez)”
2. “El Malo (D. Narváez)”
3. “El Amor de Puerto Rico (D. Narváez)”
4. “El Clocko (The syncopated clock) (Leroy Anderson)”Orquesta Narváez 2