Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music


CLASICO, Conjunto

NYC salsa group founded '79 by executive producer, coro (chorus) vocalist, percussionist Raymond Castro and composer, producer, coro singer, percussionist Ramon Rodriguez; based on the Arsenio Rodriguez conjunto style of a trio of trumpets, tres guitar, piano, bass, conga, bongo, maracas, g]auu[iro and voices. Their twelve LPs '79--92 issued on their own Lo Mejor label; after the first eight (Los Rodriguez, Felicitaciones, Si No Bailan Con Ellos, No Bailan Con Nadie, Cl sicas de Cl sico, Las Puertas Abiertas, El Panadero, Llego La Ley and Asi Es Mi Pueblo '79--86) founder member/lead vocalist Tito Nieves left for solo career on RMM (see his entry). Ex-Los Rodriguez and Grupo Fascinacion member Johnny Rivera (b NYC, his uncle, sonero Adalberto Santiago, urged him to turn pro) provided lead vocals on Cl sico '88 and Mas Cl sico Que Nunca '87--9 before also leaving for solo albums on RMM/Sonero: Y Ahora de Verdad '90, Encuentro Casual '92, Cuando Parara La Lluvia '93, D‚jame Intentarlo '95 and Paisajes de La Vida '96. Rafael de Jes£s (see Luis 'Perico' Ortiz entry) replaced Rivera on Ray Castro presenta Conjunto Cl sico con Rafael de Jes£s -- Sensaciones '90 (Jos‚ Febles, mus. dir. on Cl sico's '79--80 releases, arr. the entire album and prod. instead of Rodriguez, who composed five songs, contributed coro vocals and percussion) and Tus Dulces Labios '92 (prod. and most arrs by Febles; Rodriguez contributed only coro vocals and percussion). De Jes£s departed '93 (ex-Johnny Ray vocalist Carlos Torres depped), then briefly rejoined '94-- 5 before having a runaway success with solo album A Mi Puerto Rico '95 on Copa. Band switched to RMM for Cl sico de Nuevo '95 with new lead vocalist David Navedo; Rodriguez had no input. Castro and Rodriguez also prod. and performed (as did Nieves) on other Lo Mejor releases: Lo Mejor Presenta: Jos‚ Bello y su Orquesta '81, Jos‚ Bello y su Orquesta '83 and Expresa E Interpreta Sus Sentimientos '84 by Dominican bandleader, singer, composer Jos‚ Bello (formerly with Charanga America); Cantar '81 by Tito Allen; Daniel Santos con el Conjunto Cl sico '81 by Daniel Santos (1916--92); Con La Misma Piedra '83 by C‚sar Nicolas y su Orquesta 'Show'; El Encuentro '83 by Johnny 'Dandy' Rodriguez with lead singers H‚ctor 'Tempo' Alomar and Raulin; Rodriguez wrote songs for most of these. Before Cl sico's inception Rodriguez sang lead vocals on Joey Pastrana's Salsa Inferno '78 on Salsa (incl. Castro on conga, prod. by Larry Harlow) and prod. Julio Castro's debut album New Generation Presenta Julio Castro y Orquesta La Masacre '79 on TTH with Nieves singing lead vocals; he also prod. and wrote Nuevas Ideas '88 on Combo, El Bautizo '90 and Mama Vieja '92, both on Day Dance, by his own trombone-led band. The latter featured lead singer Raulin (b Ra£l A. Martinez, 30 Aug. '57, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic), an alumnus of Cuco Valoy, Los Hijos del Rey, among others; Raulin perpetuated the all- trombone sound on his own Que Se Cuiden Los Soneros! '93 on Day Dance, Lo Maximo! '93 (prod. by Rodriguez), El Sonero Que El Pueblo Prefiere! '94 and Dominicano Para El Mundo '96 on AE Music. Rodriguez also formed Conjunto Clase (two trumpets), wrote all the tunes and prod. El Dulcero '92, debut on the new NRT label (a subsidiary of Musical Productions).