Grupo Fantasma, Joe Bataan, Eddie & the Valiants

Nine deep and 21 years vested, Austin’s Grammy-winning Latin brass locomotive Grupo Fantasma backs Spanish Harlem soul pioneer Joe Bataan one time only – solamente una vez! – as curated by Paramount booker/music apostle Zach Ernst. Bassist Greg Gonzalez answered a crucial question.

Austin Chronicle: Describe the importance of Joe Bataan and this opportunity for locals to experience him live and in the flesh?

Greg Gonzalez: Joe is an Afro-Filipino, Smithsonian-recognized musician, vocalist, and songwriter who grew up in East Harlem in the Forties and Fifties. He spent time in a local street gang and ended up in prison. Upon release, he turned to music with a conviction to change his life. He soon formed his first band of teenaged Puerto Rican musicians, including Willie Colón and Bobby Valentín, blending the local boogaloo, salsa, and doo-wop.

At 19, he released “Gypsy Woman” on Fania Records and [scored a] crossover hit. In 1973, he combined salsa, disco, and soul, and co-founded the Salsoul label, one of the most memorable imprints of the disco era. A chance encounter there led him to record one of the first rap songs, “Rap-O Clap-O.”

Joe represents one of the last remaining members of the New York music community whose innovations and experimentations led to some of the most influential Latin music. His musical legacy reflected our own as an outlier who embraced a more expansive pan-American sound, unafraid to take chances and mix genres.

Raoul Hernandez
Past date: Fri., May 27, 8pm
713 Congress, 512/472-5470
austintheatre.org, info@austintheatre.org

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