Archive for the Alfredo Linares Music Category

ALFREDO LINARES Interview by Roberto Ernesto Gyemant (span) / Translation by Listen Recovery (eng) Part 2

Posted in Alfredo Linares Music, Listen Recovery, Peru Music Icon, salsa icon, South America on August 10, 2009 by Listen Recovery

continue from Part 1

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The older people in the ‘casetas’ (discotecas/night clubs) and the youth in the ‘agualulos’ (house parties)?

No really, in the ‘casetas’ you could find various age differences, but logically, the youth where always outnumber, right?

You have told me that the “Caleños” (born in Cali, Colombia) are born to be part of the “rumba” (from music to dance)

You could see kids as young as 7 years old, dancing like adults.  Till today, they have a ballet of salsa here (Cali), where lots of kids participate. This is very admirable… really!

Is marvelous!, How did you received you famous nick-name of Alfredo “SABOR” Linares?

Well… I was just a musican, that had to go through various obstacles to get a job or find work. To go to a bbq or a radio or tv station and say… “I’m Here!”… When I was working in Venezuela at a tv show, a music artist well known arrived and asked the tv director. “I’m looking  some thing with “sabor” (taste).  Our director replied.  “Look!, there it is, you got: Frank “El Pavo” Hernandez (legendary venezuelan percussionist, “Romerito” in the bass and Alfredo Linares,  ¿Que mas sabor usted quiere? (How much more flavor do you want?).

You have a song title “Arrollando”. What is that mean?

To wipe out anything that gets in your way… (from the Spanish verve “arrollar”)

Another one is title “Linares viene tumbando”. Is that similar?

Yes, kind off. But TUMBANDO signifieds also “montuno”.  And also means, “you are gettin’ rid off people in combat”

This are very strong words to use as titles.  Could it be, like you told me before, That you had to fight to open doors in Peru’s music world, because it was a very discreet in music.

Clearly!, In those times we fought against a blind generation.  There where very few that understood what we where doing, genres like Cumbias and other dominated.

Like Tropical music but more “Salon” (ballroom music)

No, it was more like “the music of common people”

And how was music commercially ending the 50’s in Peru?

It was mainly guitar and percussion

They have talked to me about LUCHO ROSPIGLIOSI, the property owner of “El Sabroso” (the tasty one) in the Port of CALLO, and how he untroduced salsa in Peru, when he would bring LP’s from Puerto Rico and New York.  The records that you bought, did you buy them at his location?

Do not forget that we had a huge influence from Cuba, because the goverment of Velasco Alvarado was the only nation that had relations with Cuba after the 60’s, that’s why the musicans from Cuba came to Lima to play. But yes, those records where hard to get, Lucho’s records cost too much money at those times.  If I really wanted the records, I had ways to get it.  I used to buy stuff like Dave Brubeck who did “cool jazz”, it was something new.  I also listen to Sunny Rollins, Coltrane, McCoy Tyler, Jimmy Harrison and the John Coltrane’s Quartet… they where more agressive.  I was inspired by their sets, it was very free, with no rules in music.

So I was in between those two worlds, and it wasn’t opposit from one another, both genres had their ‘thang’ from the first note till the last one.  The more we got closer to Jazz the more free we felt making music.  We would use all that we learned in Jazz in a very sucure way as well as free style.

At the same time, you experimented with Folklore music from Peru, also styles from Mexico and the Afro-Antillana sounds like the “guarachas, the sones, the guaguanco, etc.

Going a before that we got the “Danzon”, and this style cause a very interest sensation between Mexico and Cuba, because both countries played “danzon” and both would argue who invented the genre.  But either way it was another sound we adopted during that time.  During that particular time I was playing a danzon call “Macambo” and it was with a great orquestra.

Did the Danzon had some of  Montuno?

No, for sure not!, Danzon was more a style of white outfits, when it became a treand to wear all white, white shoes, white pants, just like Cubans and Mexicans where doing it, and later on we (Peruvians) adopted the same style.  In Colombia you can persive it frequently, is typical for a “Caleño” to wear white pants and white shoes.

Let’s go back to Peru, to Lima.  Is the year 1960 and you are 16 years old. What where you doing?

Studing!. We to school during the day and in the afternoon will continue the concervatory.  I did this since I was 10 years old till I was 16.

Which is the first Montuno that you heard? I know you like to play tangos, jazz, classical music but there is something special with you and Montuno.  Very few people in the world had played  a Montuno with so much flavor like you have.

That comes from Peru having a strong connection with Cuba.  To coroborate this, Mane Nieto, a panamenian pianist, knows, Mane started with the bongo.

I saw Mane, he’s incredible.  He plays every weekend in Panama, with La Orquesta de Freddy Anglin. I didn’t know he was a “bongoncero” (bongo player)

It was for the Orquestra of…

Armando Boza?

Yes, that’s it!. Back then, Manito Johnson (sonero Panameño) was also there… and changed from bongo to piano.  But he already had learned how to play the “tumbao”.  And I, during that time, I was working in the same place trying to assimilate everything I could, I would observed.


Yes, and what! Mane is all talent!

He didn’t ready music.

But I did. And I sat and started to write his tunes.  I would transcribe all that I could hear, I memorized it. I was 14-15 years old.

How much older was Mane: 5 to 6?

Something like that, give or take.  But we him, who knows.  The black race aged very well.  He left the orquestra of Boza and started to work in Lima with Mr. Koky Palacios, who I have mention before.  Koky was the guy who sang “Vuelve”.

In the LP of Orquesta Madison?

Exactly.  He had his own band and Mane played with him.  That is how I learned the “tumbao” of Montuno from Mane Nieto.

This complets a circle of information.  Because when I saw Mane I appreciated that it sounded just like the 1st record I found of yours.

That is right!, I assimilated Mane, then I would observed how he would arrange, then, night by night I would later reached that nice sound of Tumbao that any pianist had played in Peru.  Chanto Alcanzar, who played with The Sonora Sensacion, was also very good.  In Peru we had the Sonora Sensacion,  The Sonora of Lucho Macedo, The Sonora Antillana de Nico Estrada.  There was many more bands, Armando Boza from Panama, Beny More who came with the Oquestra of Perez Prado and they would stay in Bolivar Hotel in Lima. One of the best places to stay in Peru.  During that period Vitin Paz would also play there.  And lots of Cuban pianist playing. At the same time, I was learning everything that was sorrounding me.

And from the Peruvians, Did you like the Orquestra Boza?

Of course, the Panamenians during that era had already been doing that style, way before than us, the ‘antillana music’.  And also I’m sure because the Cuban musican that would go to Panama. Various Cubans stayed in Peru, and this helped Peru in its percussion, they would teached all the local musican .

Linares contributions LPs

Coco Lagos had a cuban profesor, right?

Yes it was a profesor that was living in Peru and had an extensive skill in rhythms. What else? Ah!, He was a precussionist that knew his rhythms well.  That’s why they set the standard, and later we inplemented our own sounds.

The singer Tony from Cuba was an authentic Cuban; he sang “El Pito”,  did the corus and brought the “clave”.  And also he’s “compadre” was Sr. Alberto Castillo, a flute player.  Also at the time we listen to Peruchin, Bebo Valdez, Tojo Jimenez, Niño Rivera, El Tresista, CARAMBA! That’s History!

Cachao Y su Ritmo Caliente?

Yes, also Cachao.  But perhaps the most common sounds in Peru was La Sonora Matancera.  Cachao was someone being a musican, you would listen and get informed.


How old where you, 15?

At that age, I was already working in music, but my mother didn’t want me to stay up too late.  The dances in Peru would start around 11pm till 4am or till 5am.

What type of social status was the people that attended this events till late, rich people of middle class?

Mainly, middle class, normal.  The dances where more socialbe; you could find different types of people, the mayority middle class.  I was around 15 years old.  My energy took me to start me own Sonora and it was with the help of a trombonist, he would do arrangements and wrote music.  That is how we formed our Sonora, it was not big, but we had a great sound.  Two trumpets and the timbales with the bombo, we used a bombo.

What is a “Bombo”?

Is part of the drum set, the timbalero plays it.  Is a lower bass drum, that you play with your foot.

Who was the timbalero?

A young guy, We did everything for fun. He played with one stick the little timbales, they where small instruments.  Very similar to the Sonora Matancera.  The “Timbalitos” was almost an exact replica of the ones that the Sonora Matancera used in their equipment, and 2 or 3 congas and the vocalist.

and the Pianist.

Correct!, And now here is something that a lot of people do not know. We wanted for Lucho Macedo to check us out, because he was famous.  He called us and asked us to play with him… Good! we came to an agreement, our band played and Lucho Macedo.  Macedo comes to the club for a bit, Plays a few sets for a few minutes.

Was Macedo a pinist?

Yes he was.

Was he bother by a kid named Alfredo Linares who played the piano very well?

Well, realistic there was a good partnership with him.  He used us in a commercial sense, he made lots of money.  We played in various dances, but he didn’t pay us well (not enough).  So at the moment I wasn’t with the Sonora Linares, I was playing for the Sonora de Lucho Macedo.


So you didn’t play the piano?

No, did not played.  Macedo came  to the club by nigtht and did a quick show.  Lucho Macedo… Ah! he played one set, then he left.  While everybody will scream his name, “Lucho Macedo!”.  After that ironically he sue me under the Musicans Union.


My inexperience sadly, got me in a contract and an agreement with them.  It was becuse he had asked me to play a gig, and instead I did a different one, and he sue me.

That smelled like it was an excuss to get you out.

I understand now, follow me here.  Practically it was not to exclude me from music, but it was more to neutralized me.  That cause a little war between us. This one grew with the years, but it didn’t take too long till my mom visiting the musicans union to excuse me about the incident with Lucho.  Since I was a minor still.

Like at your 16 17 years old?

I was 16, Imagen an adolence getting in fights / arguments with a 35 year old.

He was mad regardless, he knew that inside of you was a genious

With time, things like this are fogotten.  Besides, it flourish later in the news, that he had a brother who played the piano very well, even better than Lucho.  But Lucho never did anything with him.  As a matter of fact, Lucho recorded and not his brother, that is how he made his name famous.

When did  you started to play with Nico Estrada?

Around 17, my goal was to focus in Jazz.  With Nico we recorded “A La calle 13”

LP or 45 rpm?

An Album.  (Alfredito vocals) “Yo me voy, a la calle 13 a gozar” / I’m going to 13th street to enjoy myself

Was it your arrangements?

No, During this time, the music did not traveled to Colombia.  “Calle 13” was from Colombia.  But the people from Argentina loved it, they appreciated more than cumbias.  That is where Nico got the proposition to build a band.

So you when to Argentina to play for a month?

They gave me a permition since I was under age,  I was 18, during that time 18 was still consider under age not an adult. It was 21 back then.

ALFREDO LINARES Interview by Roberto Ernesto Gyemant (span) / Translation by Listen Recovery (eng) Part 1

Posted in Alfredo Linares Music, Listen Recovery, Quantic Y Su Combo Barbaro, salsa icon on August 8, 2009 by Listen Recovery

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Alfredo Linares


Maestro!, When where you born?

I was born on February 27th in 1944, in Lima Peru.

And when did you interest for music started?

Well, in my house my father used to tune pianos, also he would restored the pianos technically.  We had 18 pianos at home.  Everything started there, I would watch him fix the pianos and of course, I would also wanted to do it.  I notice that the labor in fixing pianos was a delicate thing.  Even more, in those times, we did not have all the electronics we have nowadays, the tuners that help your work be much easier and with less risk.

Did he used ‘diapason? (a tonal grouping of the flue pipes of a pipe organ)

Sure, yes it was like a ‘varilla’.  He would play a note (LA) and from there it would form the reference point for all the other notes.

From what I see, you where able to build a great sense of hearing to tone pianos from an early age.

Did you father played the piano?

More tuning  than playing, he played the guitar.

What job well compensated?, Did it give you a better quality of life?

Well, in reality I was born in pobrety, in a area where most of the neighbors where from low financial income.  Mi father is from Arequipa, he was a “chakran”, that is what they would call the people that worked the fields.  After he migrated to Lima.  Mi mother was from the north, from Trujillo,  she also came looking for a better life.  Like the song said “The crazy illusions got me out of my town”.  “That is how the song goes, right?”.  Then, both of them got to Lima, they found each other.  My dad need it a secretary… and from there they conceived me, then my sister.  My mothers already had a son from her prior marrige.

Then you guys are 3, right? and your brother?

Yes, we where 3, my brother is dead.  My sister lives in Lima.  Is been quite some time since I spoke to her last.  Well, my father was one of the few that fixed pianos in Peru, in that aspect, there was hardly any competition.  And using his name, which was very known, I formed a band.

What is your father’s name?

Angel Mariano Linares Salas and my mother is Aurora Saucedo Veneces.  Because my father was able to build certain relations via his music knowledge, my mother visited the Minister of Justice and Culture to solicit a letter of recommendation; she wanted me to be accepted at the Music Conservatory.  I was about 10 years old when I started to study in the conservatory.  The director was Mr. Rafael De Carpio and by coincidence he was also from the same town as my father (Arequipa).  Because I had already started to play the piano at home, I started to play music from the city.  Of course, he got excited and asked “Who tough how to play that?”.  I responded that I had learned from my father, because at home, my mother would play the guitar and I would follow with the piano.  I also told him that this was the way I learned to played Folk music from land and that I gained the skill to play ‘tondero’ and ‘valses’, an afro-peruvian music.

We have talked a bit about the abundance of folk music that exist in South America.  In Peru, Colombia, Venezuela and other countries.

Yes, is enormous.  Sometimes the people that live in this places don’t appreciate what they have.  When I was in the US I notice a good amount of North American musicians that would record folkloric music from Peru and Ecuador, for studies, understanding that the music will bring them a great versatility and would open other doors.

Of course, now that music is a great business… Susana Baca, Eva Ayllon, Alex Acuña.

Clearly!, Alex Acuña has created a group that follows Eva Ayllon.  Him and Justo Almario, a great saxophonist from Colombia, have formed a great solid group.  For sure, the discipline that you received from a conservatory is good, that is why, if you have a chance to study there, do it for sure.  It gives you discipline, a clear vision, security; because sometimes it can happen to what happen to me with some musicians:  they come one day, then the following day they don’t come, they put excuses and the projects get complicated, there is less attention to the work.  I’m not going to name names or point fingers because I was born in between pianos and musicians and I know that world.

Alfredo refrescandose

Tell me about your musical education

Since a boy I have always been involved with music.  At the age of 10 I was already part of a radio station.  My father took me, of course, I would have to play with other musicians.  It was a show for music fanatics, I had a part of a song that I had learned very well.  As well as I was aware of all the popular songs at that time.  That was in 1954!, “Sube espuma” I remember it was one of those songs, a Cuban composer Isolina Carillo.  An also Trio Sepia with Gillermo Aronto would practice at my house.

Why did they practice at you house? Is it because your father was a musican?

Clearly!. What would grown musically at our house was a local thing, very ‘criollo’ (creole).  Because in Peru did not exist a union of musicians, the problem was how to maintain a group economically.  In other words, sometimes the clients would tell my father:  “No, This are too many musicians for this show.  Please, no more than 3 or 4…”  Because of that, my father had to condense the group into less musicians.  He would only keep the indispensables ones.  Vocals, a guitarist, drummer.  Depending on the gig.

In the 50’s when you where 12-14 years old.  Did you get influence by ‘rock n’ roll’?  Bands like Chuck Berry’s and Little Richard or something like that?

Let me see… In those times La Sonora de Lucho Macedo y Ñico Estrada was popular, that is why I formed a “Sonora” (band).  I took advantage of my fathers name and I called my Sonora, “The Linares Orquestra”.  It was a commercial name. Most of the bands where very influence by the Sonora Matancera.  But I played where ever they would call me.

And your first recording?

That happen when I was 13 years old.  I recorded a single (45) with a singer call Koky Palacios.  And for real! I was 13…


Yes, I also recorded with a group called “La Sonora Antillana”.  The title was “En el momento de Dios”

But back then it was not call Salsa?

No, logically was not.  It was a genre that in those times was call “tropical music”.  We are talking of the “Guaracha”, what we call today Salsa.  It had its names:  Guaracha, Son Montuno, Cha-Cha-Cha, etc.

And the Manbo?

The Mambos of Perez Prado have always been extraordinary.

And the Mexican films that presented Beny More, Casino La Playa and La Sonora Matancera?

Yes, the Mexican films had a great impact in Peru, It was bombarde with Mexican music influence.  The folklore Mexican music was a different type of music that was absorved, like rancheras, the corridos, the guapango, etc.  All the diversity of that great land.  There was also a tv series call “El aguila negra” for all the ‘pelaos’ or ‘muchachos’ as they call them here in Colombia.

Which was the song that you first recorded under your name?

“El Pompo”.  El Pompo was a very popular song back then.

Did you father tough you that one?

Believe it or not, he did not.  My father was already dead when I was 13.  During the time I was recording with the “Sonora Antillana”, the record label was ODEON/IEMPSA, Indurtrias Empresas Musicales Peruanas S.A.

And how was life in Peru during that time?  Was there work?

Now that I reminisce and think about it, I don’t think I was deprived from such things.  I live in a dignity poverty.  I think we where more like a low income type of class, but not poor.  It was an acceptable type of life.

The indigenous and African decedents suffer from all mayor economical privatisation during that time in Peru? I read last year in an article in the Yellow Press (PE) in Lima that during this times there was 4 white doctors living in a hotel while having black servants carrying their bags.

Yes, that’s why they are such warriors and fighters.  Ones like that can become a warrior in music.  In that era there was lots of racism in Peru.  Nowadays, who knows.  But back then the situation was very critical, even in the same high class societies. For example,  there was 3 pieces of the pie.  The biggest portion was the lower class, most of us, the second was the mid-class (blue collar people) as they call it in N. America and then was the higher class, that you can hardly see.  The high racism problems was a common thing.  In general the actions from the whites in politics and high social status / rich people is why the poor eat shit…

Yes. That is true.  They exclude them self from was divine and human.

Yes that’s true (laughs).  Like my fathers I was always good with people.  When I was 10 years old I played the piano at home, and my sister will charge at the door, the people would see me as a talented young boy, that’s why they would come and see me play.  Later, that money we would used it to buy fruits, to go to the theater and other kid things.

The Young musicians which you end up playing with during the 60’s, like Mario Allison, Coco Lagos, Nilo Espinosa.  Did you knew them already when you where young?

Not really… Nilo, Coco and Mario are older than me.


How did Coco and Mario notice about that kid with name Alfredo Linares, who played the piano in a marvelous way? (laughs)

We where almost the same age.  With an exception that I as in the process of formation musically.  When I studied in the conservatory at the same time, I would sponge most of the information in music.  I used to listen to Jazz.  During the time of Dave Brubeck and Lalo Schifrin,  when they did the soundtrack for “mission impossible”…

And Miles?

Yes Miles also, then John Coltrane. Miles Davis had a sextet with Charly Parker… no!, sorry, with Cannonball Addlerley.  And Also with Bill Evans in the piano and a very young Tony Williams in the drums.

Did you had already heard Art Tatum?

Not yet.  I first heard of Peterson, Oscar Peterson (Alfredo’s eyes looked emotional, looking down) before Art Tatum.  It seems that Peterson put lots of attention in to what Tatum was doing.  He was fantastic, Art Tatum was blind.

Have you seen the film of Ray Charles “Ray”?

Of course, there is a scene in which Ray finds Art Tatum.  He was a very incredible pianist.

I’m sure you had a bit of rock n’ roll, because later in the years you had composed a title  “Mambo Rock” and other

titles with some rock in it.

The first thing I heard was “La Sonora Matancera” when they came out with their single “Rock n’ Roll”,  I kinda copied that style.  After that I heard some boogie woogie, dixieland and other similar types of sounds.

Did you listen to the blues?

Yes, The blues have always impress me and also gospel music. I loved Gospel music.  Is where Jazz comes from, is all the same branches from one tree.  The Rock came out and the people dance to it.

En Colombia?

Yes in the 70’s

Like Classic Rock, Led Zeppelin, etc?

Some how, but mainly the music of James Brown. He was also connected to rock. At the same time I was listening to an Spanish Rock band call “Barrabas”, from the US a funk group call Mandrill, El Chicano, Earth-Wind & Fire, Kook & the Gang.  The people would dance to it, but there was not official dance steps for it, only free dancing.  But the girls!… they all liked it.  That is how I learned to dance it, and the girls would asked me to dance with them.  The way you dance here is a bit different (Colombia), is the way you dance in the Port of Buenaventura; in Cartagena the way of dancing is different, they dance a bit like Cubans, lifting a side of their pants and moving the shoulders… And then the dance changed here, more couples, more spinning, the balance and all the stuff.  And then the “Mambo Rock” and that was an explosion, because the people was already dancing to rock very well.  (Alfredo plays a Mambo Rock beat hitting his upper leg with his palms, pla! pla! pla!) The people felted it, it was like the past.  In the 70’s I had an experience in the “casetas”. There where some instalation made especially for dancing.  Large terrain areas where they would set up tables and chairs and like 5 thousand people dancing beautifully.

WOW!, Was it live music or programmed?

Nah! it was all live.  It was the right time to build “casetas” (Discotecas) because they would bring bands from all over, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, New York… even Rich Ray and Bobby Cruz came.

Interview with Maestro Alfredo Linares (continues in part 2)

QUANTIC & HIS COMBO BARBARO ‘Sonido Del Valle Recordings’ out July 14th. pre-sale

Posted in Alfredo Linares Music, Colombia, photography, Quantic Y Su Combo Barbaro on July 11, 2009 by Listen Recovery

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Tradition in Transition – recorded in Cali, Colombia – is the upcoming album from Quantic and his Combo Barbaro. It sees Will “Quantic” Holland mining the lesser-tapped musical sources from the Caribbean, Latin America and Africa and fusing those rediscovered psychedelic, experimental and rhythmically rich sounds of the past with deep funk and soul elements and folkloric vocal styles. This exceptional longplayer gives life to an explosive sonic snapshot of an ever-evolving musical landscape, played out by a carefully assembled international cast of musical creators.

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