New Regency Orchestra: Red Vinyl LP
New Regency Orchestra: Red Vinyl LP
New Regency Orchestra

New Regency Orchestra: Red Vinyl LP

MRBLP307R
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Pre-Order Item. Release Date Subject to Change.
Label: Mr Bongo
Release Date: 14th June

This Afro-Cuban big band jazz has me feeling I could pull off a sandy coloured white linen suit, like I could drink all the rum and puff a full cigar without having an asthma attack. One of those records that transforms the room your turntable is in into a whole new surrounding as your living room turns into a 1950s New York Cuban jazz club. 

Announcing the debut album from one of London's most electrifying acts, New Regency Orchestra

An 18-piece Afro-Cuban big band, inspired by the musical melting pot of NYC in the 1950s, but with the punch and power of a whole host of London's best Latin and jazz musicians. Blowing new life into these compositions, the album is a reimagining of some of the finest music from that golden era. From early 1950s Rene Hernandez and Tito Puente, through to the 1970s salsa of Rafael Labasta and Orlando Marin, produced and performed with fresh fire.

NRO is the brainchild of its artistic director, and the man behind Total Refreshment Centre and Church of Sound, Lex Blondin. Through a long-held passion for jazz, Lex discovered the explosive Afro-Cuban rhythms of mid-1940s NYC via the godfather of Afro-Cuban jazz, Mario Bauza. A time when two musical worlds collided in a fusion of creativity and energy, jazz luminaries like Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker joining forces with Cuban greats like Machito and Chano Pozo. This vibrant sound was music to dance to and found a home at The New York Palladium, a formative space of freedom and expression that was key to the scene's development.

Although dance-focussed in their makeup, those early recordings are not often heard in modern club environments and Lex dreamt of retelling their story with a contemporary dynamism . A slice of serendipity followed, as a slot at a new festival opened up and Lex jumped at the chance to make this idea a reality, an 18-piece big band breathing new life into these beloved songs.

Enlisting the expertise of some of the capital's finest talent, Lex and co-captain Andy Wood , of Como No fame, put together a world- class line- up of talent. Bringing in Eliane Correa as musical director and bandleader, a fluid and interchanging 18-piece band was formed.

The album itself is a hand-picked selection of timeless Afro-Cuban jazz classics, reimagined with NRO's unbridled energy. It contains ten incredible instrumental tracks including 'Pregon' with its anthemic horn stabs and the addictive head nod bounce of 'Mambo Rama', alongside two scorching vocal numbers in 'Papa Boco' and 'Labasta Llego'. Coupling a heavyweight rhythm section with a wall of horns, they provide a fresh spin on songs from Tito Puente and Chico O'Farrill, Rene Hernandez through to Rafael Labasta.

"Some of the tunes like Tito Puente's 'Mambo Rama' and 'Scarlet Mambo' might sound like they went to a gym as extra drums and bass synth were added to them whilst the tune 'Sahib & Tito' is a mix of Tito's 'Mambo Buda' and Sahib Shihab's 'Nus'. Our intention is to be both respectful to the innovators and inventors of this incredible music and to pay our dues, but also to add something special from London where the city's new jazz scene connects with its Latin American musicians and the musical influences around us."

This pure collective joy, shared experience and music you can't help but move to.


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