Thursday, March 19, 2015

Music Saves: Vilató on the Timbales

The magic starts around time 2:15, when Maestro Orestes Vilató - a monster on the timbales - takes his solo. I had the fortune of interviewing Vilató for an article reflecting on the 40th anniversary of Ray Barretto's "Acid" - one of Fania's first releases. In the article, I tried to make the case that Barretto was among the first, if not the first, to blend salsa with rock 'n' roll. "Acid" was released in 1968 - a year before Carlos Santana released "Santana" with "Oye Como Va," which usually gets credit for melding the two genres. Vilató, whose fancy timbale work is all over "Acid," ended up becoming my "missing link." Unbeknownst to me until our interview, he had played with Santana for a few years, and according to him, "Acid" was a huge influence on Santana. In fact, Vilató gave me this "golden nugget," as he called it: Santana totally lifted the opening trumpet break in "El Nuevo Barretto" and inserted at about time 1:34 of "Oye Como Va." Of course, Santana plays the break on the guitar instead of trumpets. Fantastic!

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