Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music
Previously called Orquesta Típica Novel, a swinging flute, strings, rhythm section and voices charanga band formed in NYC '60s, led by Afro-Cuban pianist, arranger, composer, vocalist Willie Ellis; noted for rich harmonies and tight arrangements. Made Do The Boogaloo c.'67 on Fonseca; signed with TR and debuted on that label with Se Colo La Novel '73, followed by Super Típica '74, Sabrosa Novel '75, Tipicante '75 and With A Touch Of Brass '75, latter featuring trumpeter Alfredo 'Chocolate' Armenteros, with brass arrangements and trombone by Barry Rogers (see Eddie Palmieri); best-of TR material compiled on Lo Mejor de Típica Novel '78. Renamed Orquesta Novel when moving to Fania for albums including Salsamania '76, with Rogers on trombone, brass arrangements by Mark Weinstein; Salud, Dinero y Amor '78 featuring trumpeter Ray Maldonado (deceased brother of Ricardo Ray); dropped the brass for Canta y Encanta '79; added trombone of Papo Vásquez (see Libre) to the lineup on Que Viva El Son Montuno '80; aimed Novel Experience '80 at the crossover market with pop hits in charanga style and sung in English; A Mi Me Gustó '81 and Prestige '84 included Jimmy Bosch on trombone (see Libre); From New York City '89 was their last Fania outing. 'The Genius of Salsa' Louie Ramírez produced many of Novel's albums during the '70s. Notable personnel included African- American violinist/arranger Eddie Drennon, who produced their '80-1 albums; flautist/composer/arranger Mike García played flute on early to mid-'70s LPs, the slot subsequently filled by a variety of flautists, all also arrangers: Don Gonzalo Fernández, Mauricio Smith, and Nestor Torres, also percussionist and producer.