That Levy Boy

July 25th, 2009 | admin | No Comments | Categories: Art Raymond, Blog

  • There were plenty of Jews who got tangled up in the Latin music scene in the 40s and 50s, but only a few went for the name-change masquerade (think radio man Dick “Ricardo” Sugar). Alfred Levy could have become Alan Land but instead opted for Alfredito and morphed into a top percussionist on the NYC mambo scene. He gigged with Tito Puente and Joe Quijano before cooking up his own mambo unit that eventually got signed up to Tico Records (run by two of his lantzmen, George Goldner and Art “Pancho” Raymond). Early on Alfredito’s insider-outsider status produced tracks like Chinese Cha Cha Cha which first appeared on Rainbow Records’ Alfredito Plays Mambo! 10″ and later as one of the “tantalizing rhythms” on Tito Puente’s Latin Spectacular LP showcase alongside cuts from Puente, Machito, Tito Rodriguez, Joe Loco, and Martino Savanto. In 1966, Alfredito went boogaloo for a Cotique release that showed him dabbling in Latin soul and R&B and even grabbing the mic. On Sweets For My Sweet he does a classic from Doc “Jerome Felder” Pomus that was first made famous by The Drifters (even then it had a Latin shuffle to it), then covered by a host of folks including dubnaut Lee “Scratch” Perry.

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