Afro-Cuban Jazz • Cuba
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José Marcelino Díaz Marquetti (April 26, 1909 – March 29, 1967), better known as Cheo Marquetti, was a renowned Cuban son vocalist and songwriter.

Marquetti was born in Alquízar, Cuba. He was the son of "El Lucumí" Marquetti, an Abakuá member of Los Chinos Buenos, a white, black and mulatto band whose members dressed as Chinese. He started his career in 1930 as a singer with the Sexteto Camagüey in 1930, then in the later 1930s as singer of danzons with the Cheo Belén Puig Orchestra as well as Ernesto Muñoz's Conjunto. He then joined a number of septetos, among them Septeto Cauto, led by Manuel 'Mozo' Borgella with whom he recorded in 1940 (including the song Efi Embemoro - the first Afro-Ñáñigo song to be recorded; Cheo Marquetti previously had recorded this tune in a duet setting with Bienvenido Granda in 1936, accompanied by Septeto Nacional de Ignacio Piñeiro). This
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Legends of Cuban MusicLegends of Cuban Music
Nostalgia for Cuba
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Region MatanceraRegion Matancera
Tumbao Cuban Classix 2004
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CHEO MARQUETTI Region Matancera album cover 5.00 | 1 ratings
Region Matancera
Afro-Cuban Jazz 2001


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CHEO MARQUETTI El Rey Del Ritmo album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
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Afro-Cuban Jazz 2004

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CHEO MARQUETTI Region Matancera

Album · 2001 · Afro-Cuban Jazz
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Why bother with the Buena Vista Social Club when this recording was available because this is even more of the real thing, being Cuban music that is drenched with son and not just any son as this collection of songs taken between 1955 and 1957 are given the Cheo Marquetti treatment with his sleaze touch to the music with pure Cuban rythmns comprising of guajira, guaracha, bolero, cha cha cha and yes son. Twenty one songs were compiled with fifteen comprising son with the only complaint that "Oriente" was omitted but that is available on the other compilation available from Cheo Marquetti and his conjunto on EMI or you can always get the superb version by Henry Fiol of the tune from his "Fe Esperanza y Caridad" album on Sar. Cheo passed away in 1967 and no one even noticed simply because he had been forgotten but when one listens to his work today taken from this period in the 1950's perhaps it was just too much roots for the time and today anyone who listens to Cuban music will instantly recognise that and as the saying goes "he was ahead of his time" which actually was part true but still the past is present with the rythmns and classic style employed by Cheo and his conjunto. Cheo Marquetti was the lead vocalist with the formality used in vocal techniques from this period mainly discarded with Cheo singing in a predominately natural style with stunning results. Afro is the rythmn style with bongo, timbal and conga, piano, tres with coros being used in the conjunto predominately with the twin trumpets that play in unison throughout and solo's from each of them at times being placed throughout the tunes. This was recorded in Havana and the old 78 format was still in use but as we are a bit later in time the music is still clear but limited to that three minute time span and although there is a little effect with the trumpets sounding a little higher and the rythmn section having a bit of blur in the sound as most likely they all played into one microphone, do not worry this only adds to the tunes with that old time feel letting us know that this is the "Real McCoy" in Cuban son.

Cheo Marquetti was born in 1909 and sang danzonettes with Cheo Belen Piug and Ernesto Munoz, Orchestras and in 1940 while part of the Septeto Cauto he wrote and recorded "Efi Embemoro" which was one of the first Afro Nanigo tunes ever done. He later played in another three conjuntos as leader but he was never really accepted by the public, although all the musicians knew he was brilliant they don't buy your gig tickets and records. Cheo set off to Mexico to try and change his luck in the mid 1940's but returned to Cuba in 1953 after not much luck there either. He joined Orquestra Sensacion and they even composed a guijara-cha cha cha in his honor for him to sing but he also worked with Chappotin and Rene Alvarez's Charanga giving him the exposure to have another crack at his career and it is around this time he left us with his son legacy. Guijara and son was what he played best and what Cheo loved to perform with a brilliant technique and approach but he still had no luck and tried again to re launch his career in Panama this time but the story stayed the same and he returned to Havana and passed away in obscurity and forgotten in 1967.

"Region Matancera" is first up written by Cheo and guajira-son is the structure with the trumpet intro and Cheo singing "para ti region matancera" in repitition and then his smooth vocals caress the tune with the trumpets stating high points in this superb composition and things do not drop in quality for the following guajira "La Reina Del Caribe" and when Cheo sings near the end "a si mi cuba" after those trumpets you are entranced in the tune. Even the boleros are son drenched and not one bit of mush is injected as with the next "Consejo Del Alma" being perfectly performed in a pure Cuban style. When the son montuno is the style as the next with "Aprietala En El Rincon" the trumpets are dripping sabor and the percussion is right up front in this superb composition from Walfrido Guevara. The coros when they sing their sections have that slow drag to their vocals which gives that sleaze component with the trumpets putting the icing to it as "El Pobre Y El Dinero" demonstrates with it guajira-son format. Walfrido Guevara contributes seven of the compositions and actually co-wrote one with Cheo so it would be a safe bet to say that he was present in the conjunto at the time of these recordings but alas there are no notes with the conjunto's personnel or what the conjunto's instruments comprised of but you will find out the bands structure if you listen as the recordings are clear.There are many good ones within this "Baila Ahora" guijara-cha cha cha is given that percise cha cha treatment and son with those montunos follow with the next three tunes, starting with track eleven "Fuego En Los Bomberos" with the ever present trumpets and their respective quick solos but tres, percussion is used and piano solos throughout various songs as well bringing what can only be described as authenticity to this music taken from the mid fifties.

You might think sounds great but where do you get it as the major music selling giant on earth does not have it listed as available. It is available from Spain and so to speak ,"hot of the press" as they are the distributers for Tumboa as well as heaps of Jazz and just check out Fresh Sounds and voila it will be there with many other fine releases of Cuban old time classics for you to peruse.


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