Grupo Folklorico Y Experimental Nuevayorquino – Concepts In Unity (1975)

FrontCover1.jpgThe Grupo Folklorico y Experimental Nuevayorquino made only two records–Concepts in Unity (1975) and Lo Dice Todo (1976) –but both are classics of the 1970’s New York salsa scene. The recordings came out of jam sessions held in Andy and Jerry Gonzalez’s basement in the Bronx (I’m imagining the Latin version of Minton’s Playhouse), and they have that spirit to them: open, loose, with a lot of space for supremely talented musicians to do their thing. (

This release contains the superlative debut album Concepts In Unity, by the legendary Grupo Folklorico y Experimental Nuevayorquino. The 16 piece band was composed of the finest New York Puerto Rican & Cuban musicians, who combined their own traditional music with the Latin sounds heard on the streets of New York City.

Originally released in 1975, this timeless album is a Salsa masterpiece in every way–I’d personally go as far as saying that it’s THE most important Salsa recording ever. Why? These legendary musicians took Salsa’s Afro-Cuban and Afro-Puerto Rican roots to the forefront in a way no other artist had ever done previously. Guaguancos, rumbas, descargas and other Afro-Cuban-derived rhythms are all included here. “Cuba Linda”, “Choco’s Guajira”, “Anabacoa” and “Iya Modupue” are glorious masterpieces yet to be equalled. Manny Oquendo, Jerry Gonzalez and Andy Gonzalez (and some other musicians featured here)would go on to form the equally-superb Conjunto Libre several years after recording this masterpiece. INDISPENSABLE!!! (Justo Roteta)


This album stands alone in the Salsa field because of the excellent mixture of Jazz, Puerto Rican, and Cuban rhythms, with Africa being the “abuelo” (grandfather), of them all. The opening cut, (Cuba Linda), will force you to fasten your salsa seatbelt and go along for one of the best musical rides of your life. It opens with the rumberos jammin’ into the main melody, with the lead singer setting you up for what comes next. Chocolate’s trumpet takes over, while, at the same time, Manny Oquendo’s timbale cowbells go into overdrive, launching the musicians into high gear. The jam goes on until it reaches it’s glorious conclusion. Let me tell you, this whole album is a masterpiece and belongs in the catalogue of every Salsa lover. But don’t take my word for it, listen to it for yourself, you won’t be disappointed. Highly recommended. (Charlie Farrar)


Chocolate Armenteros (trumpet)
Milton Cardona (percussion)
Julito Collazo (percussion)
Noel de Costa (violín)
Alfredo de la Fe (violín)
Marcelino Guerra (guitar, vocals)
Gonzalo Fernández (saxophone, flute)
Guillermi Franco (percussion)
Gene Golden (drums, percusion)
Andy González (bass, marimba)
Jerry González (percussion)
Nelson González (guitar)
Oscar Hernández (piano)
Reinaldo Jorge (trombone)
Ron Libscomb (cello)
Francisco Tan Martínez (harmonica)
Víctor Montañez (percussion, vocals)
Portinho (percusión)
Marcial Reyes (guitar, background vocals)
Ashley Richardson (viola)
Jaime Rivera (percussion. background vocals)
Frankie Rodríguez (percussion, vocals)
José Rodrigues (trombone)
Henny Álvarez – Virgilio Martí – Willie García – Ubatan do Nascimento – Félix Rodríguez – Rubén Blades


01. Cuba Linda (Marti) 9.04
02. Choco’s Guajira (Armenteros/Lopez) 6.14
03. Anabacoa (Ramirez) 6.43
05. Adelaida (D.R.) 4.51
06. Luz Delia (Martinez) 3.07
07. Carmen La Ronca (Alvarez) 6.56
08. Canto Asoyin (D.R.) 4.26
09- Canto Ebioso (D.R.) 3.02
10. A Papa Y Mama (Alvarez) 7.52
11. Iya Modupue (D.R.) 8.31