I met Jimmy Bosch on a Monday night in 1987. He had been playing with Ray Barretto’s Salsa orchestra at the Village Gate in Manhattan. The musical style and the power behind his trombone were intoxicating. Between sets, as he made his way alone through the crowd, the opportunity to approach him presented itself. He was warm and friendly and graciously accepted the many compliments offered. We spoke at length about music and his career.
Our paths began to cross and still do. He recently extended an invitation to attend a special event to celebrate the release of the CD entitled Soneando Trombon. Although Jimmy has been recorded many times what makes this release so special is the fact that he is the band ‘s leader; not just part of the band. The event was held in New York’s El Flamingo on 21st and the West Side Highway. The band had already begun by the time I arrived. It only took a moment to get into the groove being put down by the seasoned veterans of authentic, kick-butt Salsa. The orchestra was given the artistic freedom to improvise. They produced a sound we do not hear enough these days in light of the over abundance of today’s cookie cutter method of presentation. The audience of dancers and listeners were equally delighted by the performance. In attendance were musical giants like Johnny Pacheco, (Fania co-founder); Jose Fajardo, (legendary flautist); Jimmy Sabater,(veteran song stylist); Dave Valentin,(contemporary flautist); Andy Gonzalez, (bassist of Conjunto Libre fame); Nelson Moreno, (Los Hermanos Moreno); and Bobby Allende (recently part of The Cape Man orchestra) among others.
Jimmy’s CD is musical pleasure. The opening cut Descargarana (as the name implies) is a real jam. There are many individual solos including that of Alfredo “Chocolate” Armenteros on trumpet, Louie Bauzo on Bongo, and Alfredo Valdez, Jr. on piano. Jimmy Sabater, Herman Olivera and Frankie Vazquez alternate vocal lines and styles. Pete “El Conde” Rodriguez also does lead vocals on a tune titled La Soledad. His voice lends the quality we all loved in Salsa from years ago that makes this album more authentic than commercial. I was surprised to hear Jimmy singing portions of the lead on a couple of the cuts. Although he has a soulful delivery, singing is clearly not his forte.
This CD will appeal to music aficionados who listen to Salsa for its musicianship, not for just a good beat that is danceable. Jimmy wrote nine of the ten tunes and arranged six of them. It is also heartening to hear a Cha –Cha Cha Gabriel on the CD. It’s a musical and dance form that has been overlooked for too long a time. We don’t hear enough of Cha Cha and Son Montuno. Hopefully this style of music and dance will enjoy a revival thanks to Jimmy and Larry Harlow (who recorded El Primero and El Jamaiquino on his recent CD entitled Latin Legends 1998).
For those of you not familiar with the name of Jimmy Bosch you are more likely than not to have heard and possibly seen him play. In the recent past he has served, as musical director for Marc Anthony’s band and as part of La India’s horn line. In addition his credits include playing with the orchestras of Eddie Palmieri, Ruben Blades, Celia Cruz, Israel “Cachao” Lopez, Perfecta Combinacion and of course Manny Oquendo’s Libre.
Jimmy Bosch’s Soneando Trombon was recorded on the RYKO LATINO label. Look for it at your favorite record shop. Lovers of classic Salsa stylization must ad this to their collections. Ask for it if it is not immediately available.