Friday, March 13, 2009

Preface: The Boogaloo. José María Bustos. (Part 1)

DJ Bosco is THE purple patch
at the Singapore International Salsa Festival

©Copyright 2008
José María Bustos. All Rights Acknowledged.

A long-distance partner-in-crime, more affectionately known as Bosco, messaged me just the other day. Technology was having him in a Half-Nelson and keeping him from posting up an article he'd put together on the boogaloo. I tagged-teamed him right back listing a number of break-holds that he might deploy to counter the PC of Inestimable Evil; one of which was an offer to post the article here in salsadiary on his behalf. Bosco went for it, escaped, and quickly made off to Langkawi for a gig.

So this is it. My promise to him.

But instead of putting it up 'cold', I felt that it would only be right to put a preface it. I don't often put up articles from other people ...come to think of it, this would be the first external contribution to this salsa blog. But somehow it's appropriate that it should come from Bosco.

Bosco and I were introduced to each other in a professional setting several years ago; we were both qualifying a promising business opportunity while I was back in Singapore on Verdant's behalf. At the close of our very first meeting, it transpired that we had something very deeply in common - our need for salsa. Our families have gone on to become good friends.

And since time, in his guise as DJ Bosco, José María has established himself as THE leading killer on the decks of the Asian salsa scene.

I don't say that lightly - I enjoy his choice of music as much as I have that of Henry Knowles or Mauricio Reyes. I'd wager that much of that sensitivity is drawn from his experience as a participant observer during salsa's golden era in New York, an asset few DJs worldwide can have claim to.

On that last count, I'll let a selection of excerpts from his biography do the talking:

"He was also a member of... the ‘Copacetic Dragons’ of which Boogaloo band leader, ‘Joe Bataan’ was a starting member of the senior division known only as ‘The Dragons’. His sister was dating an up and coming salsa trombonist known as ‘Johnny Colon’ and DJ Bosco was busy lending support to his neighborhood friend George Rodriquez (vibes), Eddie Muniz (percussion) and the late Luis Bonilla (congas) who were starting a group they called ‘The New Swing Sextet’ which is still one of his favorite bands today and recently released a killer album.

"At the age of twelve DJ Bosco talked his way into a Salsa Sunday afternoon dance hall party at Colgate Gardens by convincing the legendary Barry Rogers (of Eddie Palmieri band fame) to allow him to carry his trombone into the dance hall.

"By the age of 16 DJ Bosco was a regular at all of New York’s dance halls such as the Embassy Ballrooms, The Palladium, Basin Street East (which featured Richie Ray and Orchestra Broadway) as well as The Hunts Point Place, the club where the top musicians would go after hours (beginning at 3 a.m.) for impromptu jam sessions from which the Allegre All Stars emerged, and eventually evolved into the Fania All Stars.

"...he befriended one of the great Latin Jazz Giants and his brother - Gerry and Andy Gonzales of Fort Apache Band fame and who have gone on to play with many of the great bands of the times.

"DJ Bosco believes much of his popularity is do to these early experiences, understanding, memories and friendships with many of the top musicians of that time"

- Copyright©2008 José María Bustos. All rights reserved.

Spending time with José María is a joy, whose vivid recollections of THE iconic era are an invaluable window through time - all brought to life by his music. Bosco, with or without his DJ hat on, is an artist, a gentleman and a scholar.

Bosco> There goes all your street cred with that last line, 'mano!

(On to Part Two.)

Loo Yen

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