Francisco Aguabella


1. Short Story   3:30
2. Quien Eres Tu   5:12   
3. Wood Place   4:24   
4. Nena   4:57   
5. Cavalie   3:18   
6. Son To Any Kid   4:55   
7. Intensity   4:02   
8. Vencido   4:31
9. Caito   4:46   
10. Danzonete   4:56

 Congas, Percussion - Francisco Aguabella
Bongos - David Romero
Double Bass - Jonathan Pintoff
Drums - Ed Smith
Lead Vocals - Nengue Hernandez
Piano - Joe Rotondi Jr.
Saxophone - Charles Owens
Trombone - Danny Weinstein
Trumpet - Luis Gonzalez
Remastered, remixed edition of 1986 release on Olm.

There is no shortage of conguero-led Afro-Cuban and Latin jazz groups in the world. With so many household names like Poncho Sanchez and Ray Barretto to choose from, why stop and take notice of the slightly below the radar Francisco Aguabella? All questions will be answered and doubt will disappear at the first listen to 1999's H2O. While other percussionist/bandleaders have their roots firmly in the mambo dance craze of the '50s and '60s, Aguabella's music is born of rhumba. The difference is palpable. From his distinct, clear, sharp tone to his enigmatic, quinto-driven phrasing, Francisco, though a staple of the New York scene for many decades, never left Havana. Producer Orlando "Cachaito" Lopez, a Latin jazz headliner himself, managed to capture the raw, no-frills energy of Aguabella's style on H2O beautifully. Sonically, the record has the closeness and intensity of first-row seats in a small, smoky club. Stylistically a little less folkloric than Francisco's first release, Agua de Cuba, there's a dance sensibility that drives the record. The arrangements are plenty jazzy, but without losing the visceral punch that so many bandleaders sacrifice. The selections with vocals are definitely salsa, but without being homogenized or slick, maintaining the funky quality so often sacrificed in preference toward shiny production. If there is such a thing, Aguabella is both the modern master and original gangster of Afro-Cuban music.
~ Evan C. Gutierrez

This ultra-rare and highly sought-after piece of Latin jazz history has finally been reissued for the world to experience! This CuBop re-release corrected previous mix problems; and the album was completely remixed and remastered     "Francisco Aguabella's H2O, originally released on the Olm label in 1986 and long out of print, is the kind of forgotten gem that all too often stays that way. So Latin-jazz fans should thank their lucky stars that Cubop has seen fit to reissue it in all its fiery glory. H2O is a white-hot recording that showcases precisely why Aguabella, a master percussionist who was born in Matanzas, Cuba, and who has been a driving force in Latin jazz and Afro-Cuban music since his U.S. arrival in 1957, is a certified living legend. Bristling with tight salsa arrangements that spotlight Aguabella's topnotch ensemble (including Nengue Hernandez on timbales and vocals and trombonist Dan Weinstein, who's also appeared with Aguabella to great effect on 1999's Agua de Cuba), H2O still leaves plenty of room for Aguabella to shine. "Wood Place" intertwines a delicious piano montuno with some thrilling interplay between Aguabella's congas and the horn section, "Nena" boasts some tricky unison vocal work from Hernandez, Aguabella, and Orlando Lopez, and "Danzonette" presents Aguabella's riveting take on the classic Cuban danzon style. About the only quibble with H2O is its woeful lack of information in the packaging--surely not Cubop's fault, as the album was licensed from a small, fly-by-night label, but missed nonetheless. Still, as anyone who hears this will agree, that's a minor point: the music here is enough."
-Ezra Gale, Amazon.com


"Aguabella is the John Coltrane of the Conga Drums.”
~ Dizzy Gillespie


Anonymous said...


Miguel said...


Feq'wah said...

How nice of you to share this! :)