WILLIE COLÓN — Vigilante (review)

WILLIE COLÓN — Vigilante album cover Album · 1983 · Jazz Related Soundtracks Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
Hector Lavoe had not recorded anything since "Que Sentimiento" in 1981 but Willie Colon was at the other end of the spectrum with five albums within that time alone with the last being a movie soundtrack with Ruben Blades titled "The Last Fight" and went straight on to another soundtrack with " Vigilante" but the release had to be delayed because of the previous productions imminent release. With the title of "Vigilante" it is of course a revenge flick in the Charles Bronson style, albeit Charles was not in the cast unfortunately but the gangster was back with one more album with Hector Lavoe which would be the last that Willie and Hector would do together and although Hector was not in exactly great shape at the time with his drug problems he still puts in one great effort to the songs. Willie Colon takes a back seat with trombone and does not play at all throughout but leaves the duty in the capable hands of Leopoldo Pineda on lead with Lewis Khan and we also have Luis Lopez playing trombone only on the title "Vigilante".Willie does not do any arrangements either but his presence is still felt as Willie provides lead vocals on the title and assists with coros throughout but he did produce and mix the album with Jon Fausty. Hectoe Lavoe was in the doldrums with his career during this period and it was Fania that reunited him with Willie and although this album is not rated as one of their best it yielded two singles with the hit being "Juanito Alimana" in the best gangster fashion with the story to go with it which put Hector Lavoe back in the spotlight for the Fania Label's sales. Yomo Toro the cuatro wiz is present on the title song and the closer "Pase La Noche Furmando". Milton Cardona is on congas and coros, Johnny Almandra whacking timables and Jimmy Delgado slapping bongos with Prof. Joe Torres being the pianist with Sal Cuevas on bass and all were with Willie's band at the time but with the title "Vigilante" we have the addition of Morris Goldberg on soprano saxophone, George Wodenius playing electric guitar and Harold Kohan's Ensemble providing the seventies string sweep for the the tune.

Only four tracks were recorded for the album but two are over eleven minutes in length with the title actually going for twelve and a half but it is one of the shorter ones which opens the album "Triste Y Vacia" and Hector sounds great in this hard luck story concerning a woman's fortunes with the typical Willie sound of those trombones adding in between Hector's voice with that smooth delivery that he had that just seemed to meld within the sound from the band with one great montuno to finsh this great opener off. The song "Vigilante" is often not praised as it should be as this is one absolutely great Jazz number more so than Salsa which was penned by Willie himself and for me the absolute highpoint of the album with its intro you might think you are in for a bolero but Willie narrates the intro and things gradually increase throughout and with the songs structure you could say that it is written in the fashion of a suite with the changes that are present throughout the song with the addition of the three female coros it has its own distinct sound and actually is a great soundtrack theme but still one great number to listen too with the strings behind and with the solos from the soprano sax of Morris Goldberg and when George Wodenius comes in on electric it only puts the icing on the cake to this exquisite tune with Willie singing the lead and the female coros chanting "Vigilante" behind. The following was the big single taken from the album "Juanito Alimandra" with a straight salsa approach ala Willie Colon and Hector sings gangster concerning this song with a funeral announced within by Hector during some great ad libbing with one great snappy montuno with great piano work from Prof' Joe Torres and although he does not solo he provides a wonderful feel to the songs structure with the addition of the percussion band members. The last one is another lenghty Willie composition being in a mid tempo range with a wonderful cuatro solo from Yomo Toro but sometimes it seems to drag a tad but still there is some wonderful input from the band in this primarily old time son timed tune named "Pase La Noche Furmando"

From a hard line Salsa perspective thing may have been a little better but from the jazz side it is not the case with the highlight being the title. This did rejuvenate Hector Lavoe's career at the time and Willie Colon shows what a great composer he was and he was not afraid to step out of his comfort zone with something different and although the album is not rated as one of his tops, perhaps if we had a couple more tunes within the album it could have been sitting up with the other classics that he recorded with Hector.
Share this review

Review Comments

Post a public comment below | Send private message to the reviewer
Please login to post a shout
No shouts posted yet. Be the first member to do so above!


Rating by members, ranked by custom algorithm
Albums with 30 ratings and more
Kind of Blue Cool Jazz
Buy this album from our partners
A Love Supreme Post Bop
Buy this album from our partners
The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady Progressive Big Band
Buy this album from our partners
My Favorite Things Hard Bop
Buy this album from our partners

New Jazz Artists

New Jazz Releases

Samuel Blaser & Marc Ducret : Audio Rebel Avant-Garde Jazz
Buy this album from MMA partners
Seeing Through Sound : Pentimento Volume Two Jazz Related Improv/Composition
Buy this album from MMA partners
More new releases

New Jazz Online Videos

Minimal Pieces
js· 2 hours ago
The Tale Of Sir Eglamore - Sir Eglamore
js· 2 hours ago
Valley Of Extinction
js· 23 hours ago
City of Dub
js· 1 day ago
More videos

New JMA Jazz Forum Topics

More in the forums

New Site interactions


Latest Jazz News


More in the forums

Social Media

Follow us