Angel Melendez & The 911 Mambo Orchestra
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Angel Melendez & The 911 Mambo Orchestra


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"Critic's Choice by Peter Margazak"

It goes against my better judgment to recommend any group that performs in tuxedos, as this big band helmed by trombonist and arranger Angel Melendez frequently does, but there's nothing stiff and formal about the superb debut album Melendez and company released on Latin Street Music last year. Chicago has produced surprisingly few credible Afro-Cuban dance orchestras over the years, but the dynamic 911 Mambo Orchestra is one of the finest I've heard this side of New York City; stocked with some of the best musicians in town, including jazzers like trumpeter Tito Carrillo and alto saxophonist Pat Mallinger, it delivers punchy, vibrant readings of old favorites, some convincing originals composed in the classic mode . . . and a merengue version of "Havah Nagilah." For the most part they don't try anything fancy or particularly progressive, but they play with killer precision and vigor, interjecting concise, energizing solos.

Friday July 8th, 2005 - The Chicago Reader

"Bold Fusion the beat goes on at the 2005 Jazz Festival"

This ensemble is one of a handful of top-flight mambo orchestras in the world today. Last year's Grammy nomination raised its profile, and Chicagoans should take advantage of the opportunity to see these hometown heroes as their star continues to brighten. - Time Out Chicago. Sep 1-8, 2005. p98

"Chicagoan of the Year 2005"

Each year, for 12 years now, Chicago has honored handful of local people whose dedication and hard work have made the city a better place to live. Needless to say, we have never honored a World Series winner before. But for 2005, we have selected six outstanding individuals - a musician, a nurse, two scholars, a community activist, and a saver of soles - as well as a team, the heroic Chicago White Sox. At a January luncheon at the Four Seasons sponsored in part by LA Salle Bank, Chicago will celebrate the achievements of these remarkable people, champions all. - Chicago Magazine. January 2006

"Something you don't come across often"

"Here's something you don't come across often -- a big band mambo orchestra. Complete with four trumpets and four trombones, this band, led by Angel Melendez harkens back to a time when Machito or Puente might have been headlining at the Palladium. With a big fat sound and well crafted arrangements, these tracks would work great at the dance clubs. Listen to the fiery "Changó" or the Pérez Prado tribute "Que Rico El Mambo." Most of the tracks are well-known covers with fresh interpretations, such as Puente's "A Gozar Timbero." It's great to hear these tracks done with the enthusiasm shown here. Recommended."
Editors's Pick. (BP, 2004-04-20)
- - Editor's Pick

"What would Glenn Miller have sounded had he played Cumbias, Salsa and Mambos?"

"What would Glenn Miller have sounded like had he played cumbias, salsa and mambos? That's the question that trombone player and band leader Angel Meléndez and producer Andrés Meneses pose with this record. The answer, albeit a sacrilegious one: Meléndez and his tight 20-piece band would have blown Glenn Miller out of the water. Meléndez, with the help of veteran engineer Jon Fausty, delivers a tight, powerful, energetic album that embraces both listener and dancer. What's even more amazing is that Meléndez and his band recorded the entire album in three twelve-hour day sessions and yet it sounds as if they were playing right in your living room. Just listen to Tito Carrillo's smoldering trumpet solos smolder in "Que rico el mambo" and the merengue adaptation of "Havah Nagilah". They will simply blow you away".
Alejandro Riera. Arts and Entertainment - Hoy/Tribune Publishing.
- Hoy/Tribune Publishing

"About Chango"

About track #2: Chango..." Beautifully produced, arranged and performed by all. Strong playing from top to bottom, with special kudos for the drummer (great kick drum accents!), percussion and horn section. Vocals are sweet and smooth with an excellent blend on the harmonies. Sound quality is clear, well balanced and present. I can't say anything intelligent about the lyrics as I don't speak Spanish, but they flow nicely and sing very well. Horn arrangements are tasty, energetic and played with gusto. The section also plays beautifully in tune, often not a fait accompli! Cool conga solo with restrained, minimal accompaniment from the bass and piano. I found this to be an energetic, fun and highly skillful rendition of this tricky and satisfying groove and style."
TAXI "The World's Leading Independent A&R Company". Listener ID# 115. April 04
- TAXI "The World's Leading Independent A&R Company".

"Pumping up with power, poise & definition"

"ANGEL MELENDEZ & THE 911 MAMBO ORCHESTRA from Chicago proceed to strut on stage with a gargantuan 20 piece Mambo machismo, reesembling a Latin Stan Kenton. This is no Fluffy Flies To Rio by any stretch. This is more Ricky Riccardo with six pak abs, pumping up with power, poise and definition. We played the exciting Perez Prado powerhouse pre rock & roll favorite "Cherry Pink And Apple Blossom White" with enough bass trombone to shake the dust off the dance floor. Think about it, The twenty piece Angel Meléndez 911 Mambo Orchestra in your living room celebrating Cinco De Mayo with your friends. Call on 911! "
Dick Crockett. "STILL ANOTHER JAZZ SHOW", MONDAYS, 10 am & 10 pm. "The Voice" 88.7fm. Sacramento, CA. May 04.
- "STILL ANOTHER JAZZ SHOW", MONDAYS, 10 am & 10 pm. "The Voice" 88.7fm. Sacramento, CA. May 04.

"Explosive arrangements and a run away swing worthy of a super mambo machine."

"Classics such as Prado's Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White and Que Rico el mambo, Rafael Hernandez's El Cumbanchero, Puente's A Gozar Timbero and the immortal Besame Mucho, will have you dancing instantly. As for the original tracks Mambo a la Sandoval, Ven Pa' Que Goze and Chango, Melendez and orchestra let loose with explosive arrangements and a run away swing worthy of a super mambo machine. Their Merengue version of the international classic Havah Nagilah will definately blow you away."
Gilbert Rivera. Latin Beat Magazine. Oct 2004.

- Latin Beat Magazine

"Live Concert Review by Howard Reich. Tribune Arts Critic."

"The ensemble clearly ranks among the country's most persuasive performers of bolero, rumba, merengue and other afro-Caribbean musical forms"

"The 911 band has achieved an elusive balance between a robust performance style and a high degree of ensemble precision"

For the full Concert review and opinion go to: - Chicago Tribune. Jan 29th, 2005


LP. "Angel Melendez & The 911 Mambo Orchestra"
mixed and mastered by 16 grammy award winner Jon Fausty, and produced by Latin Street Music Inc. (Grammy nominated)
Since its release in February of 2004, the CD has played in 170 radio stations in 40 states in the United States. It is also playing in 4 radio stations in Canada, 1 station in Bogotá, Colombia and 1 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Angel Meléndez’ music is playing on all six Latin music major markets including New York, Miami, Chicago, New Orleans, Denver & Los Angeles, not to mention Houston, Seattle & Oregon. Some of the radios stations in those major markets include All About Jazz, WDNA, WBEZ, WWOZ, KUVO & DMX Music. All about Jazz is a key internet destination for Jazz enthusiasts in New York and DMX Music is a syndicated satellite radio station with more than 100 million listeners 200,000 business and 30 airlines. In Chicago, the CD has received some support from top commercial radio stations as well, including 93WXRT and WIND & WRTO from Univision Radio. Eight CMJ stations have “debut” ranked the CD on their top 20, reaching 3rd ranking on 3 stations and #1 on one of them. Besides the ranking CMJ stations, 3 stations have reported heavy rotation and another 8 have reported features for a total of 19 station reporting heavy playing time. The Radio promotion has been a national College Music Journal (CMJ) & Jazz Week reporting radio stations campaign. CMJ & Jazz Week stations are non-commercial “Community Based” stations that offer NPR Programming in addition to their own Local Programming.


Latino #6! Best Latin music compilation of 2004 by Planet Records in Italy. Released in 2005. Track #9 "Ven Pa' Que Goze"

Now Hear this! Independent Music Awards Winners 2005. Released by The Musician's Atlas, Music Resource Group & Borders. Track # 10. "Ven Pa Que Goze" Best Latin Group.



"47th Annual Grammy Awards 2005 Best album Latin Traditional Tropical Category nominee".

"4th Annual Independent Music Awards 2005 Best Latin Album WINNER".

Featured song "Mambo A La Sandoval" in "Dancing with the Stars". April 2008 season.

Chicago Magazine's Chicagoan of the Year 2005. "Salsa King"

"One of a handful of top-flight mambo orchestras in the world today"
TimeOut Chicago, Sep 1-8, 2005. Bold Fusion the beat goes on at the 2005 Jazz Festival.

August 27th.. "Angel Melendez & The 911 Mambo Orchestra DAY" in Chicago.
Proclaimed by Mayor Richard Daley & 35th Ward Alderman Ray Colon & The 17th Annual Viva! Chicago Latin Music Festival.

"Mambo kings of the Midwest" CS Magazine, Oct 2004. (Chicago Social, a Modern Luxury Publication)

911 Mambo Orchestra plays an array of Latin music from the modern tropical sounds of today to the most traditional hard hitting Mambo of the 50’s. The bands play original arrangements by Angel Melendez and the music of Tito Puente, Eddie Palmieri, Tito Rodriguez, Perez Prado and FANIA.

Melendez has featured his bands at some of the following prestigious events: U.S. Conference of Mayors Chicago 2005, 27th Annual Chicago Jazz Festival, Millenium Park Jazz Series featuring Danilo Perez, Louisville Fest 07, African Festival of The Arts 07, 17th Annual Viva! Chicago Latin Music Festival, The Taste of Chicago, Chicago SummerDance, Old Town Folk & Roots Festival 06, Bash on Wabash 07, Puerto Rican Festival 07, Chicago International Salsa Congress in 2002 & 2004, Chicago Salsa Festival 07, Chicago’s Millennium Park Opening Ceremonies 2004, Goose Island International Outdoor Fest, AARP Latino Community Celebration 2004 closing for MALO, MLB All-Star Pepsi Park 2003 & Chicago Tribune’s Rock the River Fest.

His bands have played at the most recognized Chicago venues like: The Chicago Symphony Center, Millenium Park’s Pritzker Pavillion, Grant Park’s Petrillo Music Shell, Harris Theatre for Music & Dance, The Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago Museum of Science and Industry, The House of Blues, The Park West & Chicago’s Field Museum among many others.

Angel Melendez has been a musical director and arranger for some of the world’s most renowned Salsa artists including Danilo Perez, Jimmy Bosch, Andy Montañez, Ismael Miranda, Luigi Texidor, Adalberto Santiago, Cheo Feliciano, The Singers of the Apollo Sound (Tito Cruz, Sammy Gonzalez & Papo Sanchez), Frankie Ruiz, Eddie Santiago, Lalo Rodriguez, Luisito Carrión, Hector Tricoche, Tito Allen & Johnny Rivera among others.