Why And How We Picked This Record
Cameron Schaefer: This one was via help from our man Gene Zacharewicz at Universal who we’ve worked with a bunch and is one of our favorite folks at the labels we work with. He has a really deep music knowledge, but he’s one of those dudes who doesn’t offer it often; he has the knowledge but he doesn’t lord it over you or anything. He oversees the Universal catalog, so there’s lots of music for him to know. He brought this title to us; mentioned that it had never been reissued, that they had the tapes, and that it was a really cool record. I was unfamiliar with Willie Bobo’s music, and listened to this, and was really blown away; it’s this funky, fun Latin jazz record.
Andrew Winistorfer: Yeah, I remember Gene sent this to us in like August or September last year, and I had heard Willie Bobo’s name, but hadn’t spend tons of time with his specific catalog. And I thought it was an awesome record, but we needed to wait until a summer month because, like the Jorge Ben record in Essentials this month, this feels like a July barbecue record to me. The way he reshapes the Beatles’ “Michelle” and how greasy the originals are are just perfect for standing next to a grill. So we sat on this one for a couple months and are doing it here. Coming after a couple soul & gospel months, it felt like the right dive back into jazz for us in Classics this year.**
This one we got the original tapes, and had Ryan Smith from Sterling Sound cut a remaster direct to lacquers. Then it was pressed at QRP in Salinas, Kansas. AAA on this one, like the last couple Classics albums. This record sounds as good as it ever has.
And it has a Listening Notes booklet by our man Gary Suarez, who wrote this incredible essay for us last year about Willie Colon that made me think he’d be the perfect writer on these, and he wrote beautifully about how this album allowed Bobo to not get pigeonholed into Latin jazz and how he was really taking control of his art with this record. This has never been reissued on vinyl, and I feel like it’s the perfect record for Classics; tells the story of an undersung genius whose best work is maybe “lost” in record label vaults.