PARTICULARS OF "LA EPOCA"
line-up of old-school Salsa "Mambo"
dancers and musicians is in progress for the long-awaited "La Epoca - The
Palladium Era" a feature-length documentary-film,
which focuses on
Latin music, rhythms, Latin dance and the musicianship during the hey-day of the
Palladium Ballroom in New York City from 1950-1972 when Mambo was at its peak!
This is the era just before all Latin music was minimized to a single term
The Palladium Ballroom,
located on 53rd and Broadway in Manhattan, New York - was commonly referred to
as, and affectionately titled, "The Home of the Mambo" and it was THE go-to
hot-spot for Latin dancing! Actor Marlon Brando and musicians Sammy Davis Jr,
and Frank Sinatra are among just some of the celebrities that used to frequent
the ballroom to listen to big-time Latin -name bands including Machito,
Tito Puente, Tito Rodriguez, Arsenio Rodriguez, Cortijo and others.
"La Epoca" features Palladium-era musicians
Alfonso "El Panameño" Joseph, Agustin Caraballoso, Santiago Ceron,
Charlie Rodriguez, Luis Mangual, Jose Mangual Jr, Juan "Chiripa" Emilio, Leo
Flemming, Julian Llanos and other musicians such as Sam Jacobs and
Ileana Santamaria (the daughter of Mongo Santamaria).
Alfonso "El Panameño" Joseph,
a bassist, played with Cuban legend Arsenio Rodriguez, Celia Cruz, Machito, Charlie
Palmieri, Tito Puente, Hector Rivera, Joe Valle and many, many other legends!
Agustin Caraballoso, a Cuban
trumpeter, played with Arsenio Rodriguez, Johnny Pacheco, Joe Valle, Marcelino
Guerra and others. Caraballoso shares, in his interview, how he was the first
person to perform with Cuban Vocalist Beny More upon More's trip back to Cuba
from Mexico, where he'd been performing with Perez Prado. He also shares how
his personal knowledge of how Arsenio Rodriguez truly was the originator of
the "mambo" rhythm.
Santiago Ceron, a Dominican
vocalist, sang with Arsenio Rodriguez's conjunto as one of the members along
with Alfonso "El Panameño," Marcelino Guerra, Israel Berrios and Santiago
Ceron. Ceron also shares his knowledge of how Arsenio Rodriguez was the
originator of the "mambo" rhythm and also how Israel "Cachao" Lopez was the
first to create an entire song out of the section of the "danzon" that
Charlie Rodriguez, a Puerto Rican
tres player, who personally met Arsenio Rodriguez in Brooklyn, NY while
opening up for the Cuban legend. He shares how Arsenio shook his hand and told
him to keep playing the tres because he'll end up a good tres player like
Arsenio. Charlie speaks about how he performed and worked with Johnny Pacheco,
Larry Harlow and with Pete "El Conde" Rodriguez - and he provides photos for
us to see.
Luis Mangual, a percussionist (bongocero), played with Hector Lavoe,
Machito and many others and who has been a very, very valuable source
of information and excellent interviewee in the actual movie "La Epoca."
Leo Flemming, a bassist, well in his age,
provides great history of the Palladium and in the film, he actually
acknowledges how he learned to play bass by observing Alfonso "El Panameño"
Joseph and it is Leo Flemming who first confirmed that the origins of Latin
music are from guitar players - meaning that Latin music evolved from just
several guitarists strumming together into big-band Mambo orchestras and now
contemporary bands today.
Juan "Chiripa" Emilio, a trumpetist, is a
true inspiration behind "La Epoca." The core and the true embodiment of the "La
Epoca" is so superbly expressed through "Chiripa" and the brunt of the message
of the film he so gracefully carries on his shoulders in the film. Much of the
trailers to be released of "La Epoca" include him speaking.
Jose Mangual, Jr, a musician and producer, is the
brother of Luis Mangual (above) and also played with Hector Lavoe and also
provided a great personal story on film.
Julian Lianos, a vocalist, recorded with Arsenio Rodriguez and Alfonso "El Panameño" Joseph on several of Arsenio's
albums and he provided a great angle to the stories of the Palladium. Julian
just recently past away and we all feel so fortunate enough to have documented
his legacy so that his memory may continue to live on for the lifetime of this
Sam Jacobs, a percussionist, is more
acquainted with Latin Jazz and in the film, he accounts for much the early
history of how Machito and Tito Puente influenced Jazz musicians and developed
IN ADDITION to the amazing musical
talent, we've filmed an amazing performance from the
internationally-known dance duo
Palladium Mambo Legends Freddy Rios and Mike Ramos.
We filmed them performing authentic versions of
that were danced during the era of the "Home of the Mambo." Many, many Latin
dance instructors of today teach a neo-Mambo, which is very different from the
original format. Freddy Rios and Mike Ramos danced and performed AT the
Palladium Ballroom and they've danced for us on film, which we will bring to
We've also interviewed international dancer
"Cuban Pete," along with his dance partner Barbara Craddock, in April of 2008, at an
exclusive event at West Point in New York, where Pete reunited for the first
time, in over 40 years, with Alfonso "El Panameno" Joseph and also performed
along with Orquest Dicupe. The program was put together by Special Guest
Executive Producer Josue Joseph - who was able to pull all these major
players of the Palladium together in one place - because he has the contacts
We've also interviewed Ileana Santamaria,
who is the daughter of legendary icon Mongo Santamaria and she gives a truly
emotional interview for the film, regarding her memories and legacy of her
Additional interviews featuring Gina Noel D'Ambrosio
with Yoshiho Hibino. Gina is a dance instructor in Manhattan, New York.
The film also features interviews with dancers Anya Katevsman
and Luis Aguilar and Desiree Dicupe, all of whom were first filmed at Club Cache in
Manhattan in July of 2007, but who later came together with Exec Prod Josue
Joseph in April of 2008 for an outstanding show.
Also featured in an interview is Andy Jerrick, a
Palladium-era dancer who danced at the Palladium. Producers are very excited
about sharing this film with the country, the region, the many cultures and
the world as this film will certainly educate many on the evolution of Latin
music and dance.
ABOUT THE FILM "LA EPOCA"
Countless times, we've heard the names of Celia
Cruz and Tito Puente, but how many times have we heard the
names of the musicians who played the music that made them
sound so good? "La Epoca" exposes the legends supporting
those big names!
the Mambo? Who
really-really created the Mambo since there are several figures
who are often credited with being originators of the Mambo, like
Israel "Cachao" Lopez, Perez Prado, Beny More, Tito Puente and
Arsenio Rodriguez - so then, who really is the creator of the
Mambo? We have the answer documented on film. What is Salsa? Which is
Cuban and which isn't? Which rhythms are Puerto Rican, Dominican or
Panamanian? What's guajira, guajira-son, guaguancó, montuno, son-montuno, cha-cha-chá
and are they just rhythms or are they dances? Why are these questions
in need of answers in today's society? It's because the term "Salsa"
was created, which diluted the ability to distinguish between each
rythm. "La Epoca" goes into great detail, with personal interviews
with the legends who PRECEDED that umbrella term "Salsa," and they
share with us how it came to happen.
Many of the Latin musician legends such as
Cruz, Tito Puente and
Rodriguez are no longer living, but their
enormous contributions to the Palladium-era remain!
There have been several films, recently, which touch
upon the "Palladium"
times, in New York City, which mentioned many other Latin legends like
Machito, Beny Moré, Perez Prado, Tito Rodriguez, and many
others. But, "La Epoca" takes it much, much further
into the stories and the inside-never-heard-before informative details
of the Mambo origins, the relationship between the musicians and most
importantly, the legendary musicians who were behind the scenes of the
major band-leaders. In addition, the film puts to rest the controversy
of Dancing "on 1" vs. Dancing "on
"2," and it also exposes the controversy over the umbrella
terma "Salsa" and the generations that have followed since its
"La Epoca" is a major success in comparison to
ALL other documentaries and documentary-films and all other films EVER
done on Latin music and the Palladium. There are ONLY 2 other films
that have plenty of following - those films are "Buena Vista Social
Club," which is a documentary-film. Buenta Vista is a fine film and
has its value, however, we find that it only focuses on a small group
of musicians and does little to provide history. The other movie is
called "Mambo Kings." But, do you know what's so funny about that? May
of the legends, from the Palladium-era, who we've spoken to us, have
all made it absolutely clear that Mambo Kings did no justice for
Latin-American roots and rhythms and dance - and that it "watered
"La Epoca - The Palladium Era" incorporates BOTH
Palladium-era Latin music AND dance AND IN ADDITION to this, it
incorporates the Palladium-era musicians AND the dancers - so this
movie has got it all covered. We go back to the origins - the roots
and follow it up to present day. The movie is not ONLY about the
Palladium Ballroom, located at 53rd and Broadway in Manhattan, but
about the Palladium-era to present day - all the clubs open at the
time and the music born at the time - comparing the dancing of back
then to the dancing of today. We even have interviewed those who tell
us who it was that started "on 1" Salsa dance, which happened in the
We have intimate interviews with major musicians
and performers of the Palladium-era that NO other producer has been
able to get!! That's so important! It's because of this - that the
movie has continued to expand. The 2-hour long feature-legnth
documentary-film premiers in each state that producers filmed in -
Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, North Carolina and South Carolina
during the month of August. Then, in September, the film hits select
Charlie Rodriguez, the tres player of Johnny
Pacheco and who also worked with Larry Harlow and Pete "El Conde"
Rodriguez, says in his interview exactly what this film is about.
Speaking in Spanish, he says (translated), "Much of today's youth does
not know how to distinguish between the origins of the rhythms. Today,
they call all those rhythms by one name - Salsa." To have such a major
player for the Palladium say this - is amazing and to actually get it
on video is even more amazing.
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