With a name like Todd you probably wouldn’t know it, but I am of Puerto Rican descent. So I was thrilled to see that one of this month’s Artists to Watch is Puerto Rico’s own Tito Rodriguez. Although we’re highlighting him this month, “El Inolvidable,” or “The Unforgettable,” as he is known to fans, is an artist that many people have been watching for years now.
Fania Records released this month a 2-disc, 30- track box set of the greatest of the mambo kings. Titled Tito Rodríguez: A Man and His Music El Inolvidable, the set includes some of the legendary singer/bandleader’s greatest numbers. If you haven’t yet tried the mambo, this is an excellent way to start.
Born in Puerto Rico, Tito Rodríguez came to Nueva York AKA The Big Apple as a teenager in the 1930s. After stints singing with a number of top groups he formed the Tito Rodriguez Orchestra. Unfortunately, Tito passed away in 1973. Although he left us too early, his legacy continues to burn bright through his recorded music as showcased in this new release.
Jazz for the “here and now” is the best way to describe our second Artist to Watch, Stefon Harris’ new release titled Urbanus. Stefon’s 7th CD as a vibraphonist, composer and bandleader, Urbanus picks up where 2004’s Evolution (Blue Note) left off in that it features Blackout, his scintillating ensemble that’s as versed in modern jazz as it is with rhythms, melodies and soundscapes associated with R&B, pop, hip-hop and funk.
Experience the music of Tito and Stefon for yourself at the Ultimate Ears site.