Ray Mantilla – Grant’s Tomb - July 18, 2018
Conga master Mantilla (from the Bronx) is of mixed Puerto Rican/Peruvian descent (he called it “Peruvo-Rican), so the set got divvied up accordingly, offering a full helping of diversity. He’s been on the scene so long, he came up with Xavier Cugat (yeah, go google that). He gives names to his various ensemble configurations, it’s never just the Ray Mantilla band. Winds-man Castro split his time between flute and baritone sax – go figure! To underscore the vibrancy of the Latin-American music scene in New York, it was the second time around for me sketching most of these players, from various diverse other gigs.