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Papo Vazquez | Papo Vazquez Pirates Troubadours from The Badlands - Picked Best World Music Cds 2007 by World Music Central, NY Times & Others

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Papo Vazquez Pirates Troubadours from The Badlands - Picked Best World Music Cds 2007 by World Music Central, NY Times & Others

by Papo Vazquez

There’s a jolting energy in the trombonist Papo Vazquez’s band, Pirates Troubadours. It flows outward from Mr. Vazquez’s playing. You know about Afro-Cuban jazz; “From the Badlands” (Picaro Records) is high-powered Afro-Puerto Rican small-group jazz, comp
Genre: Jazz: Latin Jazz
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  Song Share Time Download
1. The Mighty MF's
6:10 $0.99
2. Yuba'donbe
7:20 $0.99
3. Enemy Within
7:08 $0.99
4. Lina's Waltz
8:22 $0.99
5. El Macanaso
4:17 $0.99
6. Donde Esta Juan
6:40 $0.99
7. Los Mediocres
7:33 $0.99
8. Si Señor Bob
5:15 $0.99
9. Bomba en Monte
5:39 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
CD Review Latin Jazz Network 7/27/2007

Papo Vazquez
Piratas Trovadores (Pirates Troubadours)
From the Badlands

By Tomas Peňa

Leave it to the mind of trombonist Papo Vazquez to conjure up a title that evokes images of riding shotgun through the Wild West! Actually, the analogy is not a stretch. According to Papo, “the badlands of North Philly is where I grew up. My father owned the neighborhood bodega and we were the only Puerto Ricans in the hood in the early 70s.”

Thirty years later Papo is still drawing his inspiration from the mean streets. The Mighty MF’s (track 1) makes for a great example. The tune is dedicated to an African-American street gang that ruled the streets of North Philly. Much like the gang, the music comes at you from every angle. It’s raw, ferocious and in your face!

Over the years Papo has built his career on fusing Afro-Caribbean rhythms with Bomba: Yuba; Sica; Hoyo de Mula; Aguinaldo and Plena with progressive melodic and harmonic elements. “From the Badlands” raises the bar in more ways than one. Yuba’donbe celebrates the enduring connection between Puerto Rico and Africa (via the Congo),
The Enemy Within, Si Seňor Bob and Bomba En El Monte showcase the band’s ability to fuse Bomba, jazz and other tasty elements to create a musical “sancocho,” Lina’s Waltz is a gorgeous ballad that highlights the band’s soft side, El Macanaso (featuring vocalist Herman Olivera) spins the story of a routine traffic stop that goes awry, Donde Esta Juan is a heartfelt “homenaje” dedicated to the late Puerto Rican trumpet player, “Juancito” Torres (1936-2003). Perhaps the most thought provoking tune is Los Mediocres. Among other things, the tune addresses such weighty issues as man’s inhumanity to man and the pitfalls of deluding yourself into thinking that less is more. This is fresh, original music that will get you riled up, make you want to shake the booty, cry and rejoice.

As always, Papo makes it a point to surround himself with the finest established and up-and-coming musicians (the usual suspects and a few invited guests): Sherman Irby (alto sax and flute); Willie Williams (alto and tenor sax); Edsel Gomez (piano); Ricky Rodriguez (bass), Anthony Carrillo, Richie Flores and Milton Cardona (percussion), Henry Cole, Victor Jones (traps), vocalist Herman Olivera and a special cameo appearance by former Young Lord, Felipe Luciano.

If that weren’t enough, a “very reliable” source has informed me that Papo’s next recording has been completed and is ready to roll. Without giving too much away, it will feature a world-class 19-piece orchestra, performing contemporary Puerto Rican music, jazz and (what Papo calls) “Sambomba.” At this writing there is no release date, however, the orchestra will go under the name of, The Mighty Pirates!

Looking back, Papo has come along way since he left the streets of North Philly for bigger and better things. As a musician, composer and arranger he has performed and/or collaborated with anyone who is anyone in the music business: Hector Lavoe, Chico O’ Farrill, Wayne Shorter, Tito Puente; Dizzy Gillespie; Manny Oquendo; Hilton Ruiz; Freddie Cole; Pharoah Sanders; Ray Barretto; Juan Luis Guerra; Shakira and Wyclef Jean, among others.

By the way, if you are wondering what Pirate Troubadour stands for, it’s someone who “steals” your musical allegiance through the sheer power of their music (you heard it here first, pa que lo sepa).

In a world where mediocrity reigns supreme, it’s comforting to know that there are cultural warriors like Papo Vazquez, fighting the good fight and keeping it real.

Papo's New CD Pirates Troubadours from The Badlands


Sherman Irby - Alto Sax & Flute
Willie Williams - Ten.Sax & Sop. Sax
Edsel Gomez - Piano
Ricky Rodriguez - Bass
Anthony Carrillo - Perc.
Roberto Cepeda - Voc. & Perc.
Juan Gutierrez - Perc.
Richie Flores - Perc.
Victor Jones - Drums
Henry Cole - Drums
Herman Olivera - Vocals on three tracks, invited guest
Milton Cardona - Coro
Yomo Toro - Cuatro, invited guest
Nelson Jaime - Trumpet, invited guest
Edgardo Miranda - Cuatro, Invited Guest
Freddie Mc Farlane - Piano
Felipe Luciano - News Reporter



to write a review

Nelson Hernandez

Papo Remains Different
Mr. Vazquez remains to take a different road than his counterparts with his albums. His music is not mainstream Salsa. Definitely unique. He always has variety. His jazz tunes reminds me of jazz back in the 60's (compliment). His charts are sophisticated, intelligent, well done. I highly admire Papo's play. To me, he is probably the greatest trombonist Latin music ever had. Yes, I am including Barry Rodgers to the list. Que Dios te bendiga, Papo.

Sylvia Pfeiffenberger

Best of 2007 Latin Jazz
This was one of my top picks in 2007 as well: Afro-Puertorican Jazz with lots of bomba, smokin' mambos and lyrics that actually say something, delivered by the classy sonero Herman Olivera. Host of 70s TV show "Soul!" Felipe Luciano also makes a vocal appearance. Fierce intensity from pianist Edsel Gomez and other top sidemen. An album deserving of wider attention. --Sylvia Pfeiffenberger, host of "Azucar y Candela," WXDU-Durham 88.7 FM, www.wxdu.org

the cd is great love bomba y plena a lo pirates
great music

Steve Bard

None better
Deeply powerful, soulful, Puerto Rican roots-based yet so innovative ... a must-have album for anyone interested in following the journey of this master musician.

william pérez

great bombo and plena rythm
best cd heard of all nice arrangement of el macanaso a
great cd to listen keep going boricua 110%

samuel skerrett parrilla

bien sabroso
bbbien sabroso.algo nuevo pero sin perder lo que es papo.saludos de parte de mi pana tony batista


Great energy, great playing, great soul
Papo Vazquez does it again. Outstanding players, great charts, solid songwriting. "Los Mediocres" alone is worth the price of admission. Buy this CD is you are looking for great upbeat jazz delivered with intelligence and soul.

Otero Diaz Luis Carlos

The badlands- papo vazquez
Solo he visto en directo una vez a Papo vazquez aqui en Madrid y el nuevo Cd aunque lo he oido poco suena bien ala musica del autor . Hemna Olivera es eun valor añadido al Cd....
GOOD Music