Louie Romero Y su Grupo Mazacote
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Louie Romero Y su Grupo Mazacote


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The best kept secret in music



Louie Romero is a hard driving
timbalero who has fueled the bands of Willie Colon, Hector Lavoe, Ruben Blades, Celia Cruz and others in his hometown of New York City. Now a fixture in the San Francisco Bay Area, he has led Grupo Mazacote, the popular Salsa and Latin Jazz
Ensemble since 1995 and developed it into one of the top bands in Northern California playing hardcore East Coast Salsa.

After years of his fans bugging him to record an album, Louie is finally busting out with "Timbalero," an excellent debut that highlights his superb talents as a percussionist and bandleader. The aura is "fiesta en el barrio" with 1960s-70s old-school Salsa and Latin Jazz performed by a happening cast of musicians who bring it all up to date with modern ideas and skill.

The lead vocals of Manny Martinez notably drive songs like "Timbalero", a tune Louie recorded with Willie Colon in 1972 on the Fania Records release, "El Juicio", when Hector Lavoe was in the band. The percussion section shines with
maestro Hector Lugo riffing nicely on bongo. But the tune was written for Romero and Louie knocks it out of the ballpark with his fine solo on the album opener.

Louie has reached a level of musicianship where he is now a state of the art player. This album certainly highlights his innovative stick technique and amazing improvisations. His artistry in clave is highlighted on two original
compositions, "Lou’s Afro-Cuban Blues" written by Jules Rowell, and "One For Louie" by Steffen Kuehn. Important to these pieces, and the album as a whole, is the solid clockwork of bassist Jorge Pomar and congero Silvestre Martinez.

The dancers will be in Salsa bliss with mad swinging tunes like Luis Kalaff’s "Si Tu No, La Otra", Franco Marrero and Jose Carrion’s "Radio Tinguaro" & Johnny Pacheco’s "Yembere", and the closer "Mazacote Jam."
Latin Jazz lovers will appreciate the Paul Lyons pieces "Sky Blue" and "Como Se Llama." "Sky Blue" stands out with exceptional solos by trumpeter Steffen Kuehn, trombonist Derek James, baritone saxophonist Peter Cornell and pianist Peter Meredith.

Louie has always strived for his own sound. He carved out an identity in NYC in the 1970s with Willie Colon, Celia Cruz, Ruben Blades, David Amram, Ron Carter and others.
His move to the SF Bay Area in 1984 had him playing with Jazz masters like Buddy Montgomery, Jeff Chambers and Eddie Marshall as well as the popular Mission District band Los Compas.

Now is his time and "Timbalero" stands as a testament to his dedication and love for the music he plays and shows he has a lot to express.
He’s made it this far with talented musicians whose ability to work as an ensemble has helped create the distinct sound you hear on this album.

The rest of the world will get to experience what the Bay Area has enjoyed for over a decade: Listening and dancing to Louie Romero y su Grupo Mazacote.
Honorable mention goes to special guest Carlos Aldama Perez for his beautiful bata drumming.


Jesse "Chuy" Varela
KCSM FM 91 - Music Director
Freelance writer and contributor to the SF Chronicle, Latin Beat Magazine, Eastbay Express, San Jose Metro and Jazz Times.

- Jesse Chuy Varela


'Timbalero' 2006
stefrecords (All Rights reserved)


Feeling a bit camera shy


Latin percussion legend Louis Romero first came to salsa fans' attention on recordings with Celia Cruz, Willie Colón, and Hector Lavoe, and on dozens of other classic Fania Records releases.
Now living in San Francisco, Romero leads Grupo Mazacote, one of the area's most respected Salsa and Latin Jazz ensembles. The album's original compositions, passionate performances, and expressive solos reveal the band members' love for Salsa and Latin Jazz.
"Timbalero" is a strong statement to the world that Salsa and Latin Jazz are thriving in Northern California!