Willie Villegas - Timbales, claves, percussion
Johnson Morales - Pianist and co-leader
Marcial Caraballo - Bass
Willie "Timba" Rodriguez - Congas
Jim Popelka - Bongos
Gamaliel Bonilla - Lead Trombone
Jeff Iglesias - 2nd Trombone and background vocals
Alfredo "Male" Torres - Lead Vocalist
Yomo Toro - Cuatro
Giovanni Hidalgo - Congas, bongos, timbales
Ivan Renta - Tenor sax, soprano sax
Enrique Guerrero - Soprano sax
Alan 'Battman' Batt - flute
Augusto 'Gus' Onna - Maracas
Ernie Acevedo - Coros, conga, guiro, maracas
David Fernandez - Bongo
Victor 'Vitin' Rodriguez - Vocals
Albert (AZ) Areizaga (poet)- Lead vocals on track 10
"With his new CD Dancer's Paradise, Willie Villegas has captured what I call 'El sonido callejero de los barrios'. It's mega trombones, all star rhythm section and funky variety of vocals makes this CD a must have."
Willie Villegas Y Entre Amigos pride themselves on playing classic salsa,
the sound of salsa from its heyday in the 1970s.
'Dancers Paradise is an album dedicated to our legends who set the standards for how hard core salsa should sound. Today's dancers are energetic and constantly demand the best. We rise to the challenge for dancers and aficionados
'Willie Villegas Y Entre Amigos pays tribute to the masters in this presentation of old-school salsa with new-school swing. Dancer's Paradise proves true to its name, an upbeat source of Latin music energy with room for "throw down" steps and shines, with space to groove to the Latin jazz inspired "Blue Bossa", slow down with the
ballad, "I Wish You Love", and leave you thinking with rumba rage poetry of Albert Areizaga's thoughts on Amadou Diallo's last moments before being shot 41 times by the
'Entre Amigos (Among Friends) are a hard and funky two trombone-led salsa group based in Brooklyn, directed by
percussionist Willie Villegas. A multifaceted individual, besides co-leading Entre Amigos, playing timbales and producing their albums, Willie hosts and produces the cable TV show Salsa En La Calle. Willie has played with such luminaries as Joe Quijano, Joe Cuba, Eddie Palmieri, Frankie Ruiz, Lalo Rodríguez, Tito Puente, José Fajardo and Paquito Guzmán, just to name a few.
Legendary salsa and boogaloo artist, Joe Cuba's classic rendition of percussionist's, Chano Pozo's tune "Ariñañara" is energized by an explosive Vibraphone and Conga solo. Cuba remarked, "With his new CD Dancer's Paradise, Willie Villegas has captured what I call 'El sonido callejero de los barrios'. It's mega trombones, all star rhythm section and funky variety of vocals makes this CD a must have."
"Castellano", a Latin music standard for dancers and singers alike, with its bold trombone and piano solos, was written by the popular Cuban vocalist/bandleader, Benny Moré. "Mayarí" features the King of the Puerto Rican cuatro, Yomo Toro, playing the national 10 stringed Island instrument like Jimmy Hendrix played his Stratocaster. Composed by F. Repilado, the number is dedicated to Cuban vocalist Justo Betancourt and Larry Harlow, el judio
In honor of vocalist, Joe Quijano, Dancer's Paradise features the masterpiece "Moliendo Café". Tito Puente is spotlighted in the classic cha-cha, "Que Sera Mi China", dedicated to the many open doors and roads that the King of Latin music left behind. "Dame Una Tacita de Café" is an Entre Amigos original dedicated to Hilton Ruiz for his inspiration on Amigos' pianist, Johnson Morales, whose solos are inspired by the jazz based Ruiz keyboard style.
Going back to the roots, Entre Amigos pays homage to keyboard giant Charlie Palmieri with their interpretation of a typical Puerto Rican danza, "Bajo la Sombra de Un Pino", as done by Palmieri on the Giant Steps recording.
Juxtaposing the street sound of swing is the rumba based a cappella voicing of poet Albert Areizaga. His gripping rendition of police brutality casualty, "Amadou Diallo", closes the recording on a socio/political/racial expression of current events through music in the style of African ancestors: tribal griots, keepers of community history.
Willie Villegas' Dancer's Paradise will not only delight the dancer but inspire the artist.'