Giovanni Hidalgo “Tribute to the King” The Concert


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This review was written by former basketball player and photographer Conrado Pastrano on his Facebook account. I thought it was such an excellent piece of writing that with his permission we share it with you at Latino Music Café. The photos are also the intellectual property of Conrado.

The Universe and its strange Divine conspiracy made this past Saturday one for history.
First, a stationary bad weather front was announced over the northern and eastern part of the island, which seemed to frustrate plans to stage the tribute to the legendary figure of Maestro Tito Puente, in celebration of the centennial of his birth, prepared by percussionist Giovanni Hidalgo and his work group to take place in the amphitheater that bears the name of Maestro Puente in Hato Rey, Puerto Rico.

All this caused a delay of just over an hour, after a torrential downpour that threatened to “water down” the party.

The audience, who had already settled in the stands, stayed firmly in their chairs with their umbrellas and waited patiently for the rain to subside. The sky began to clear and the rain stopped, restoring hope to the attendees that the event would take place, and it did.

The musicians began to take the stage and the already impatient audience began to applaud and whistle. Giovanni then addressed the audience, thanking them for their attendance, for waiting, and for the good vibes that radiated and they could feel.

Giovanni Hidalgo and his big band at the Tribute to the King concert, a tribute to Tito Puente.
Giovanni Hidalgo and his big band, directed by maestro José (Joe) Madera.

When the orchestra struck to start, its powerful and exquisite sound was not long in coming and immediately took over the amphitheater and its attendees, giving way, in our opinion, to one of the best concerts of this genre performed on the island in the past two decades.

The all-night synchronization of this orchestra only showed the three long days of rehearsals that this group of talented Puerto Rican and New York professional musicians had under their belts as they pooled their talents to support Giovanni in his commitment to honor the memory of his mentor, friend and musical father.

This project, which began eight years ago, culminates this year with the release of the album entitled “Tribute to the King” available now on all digital platforms. The concert was based on the songs recorded in this album, which were chosen with great care, from the extensive discography of Maestro Puente, where the percussionists of this orchestra, are given a real feast as in the case of Giovanni, José Madera, Johnny “Dandy” Rodriguez, Anthony Carrillo and David Rosado Cuba.

The entire brass section also excelled in their “Solos”, with Franky Perez on Alto Sax and Flute, Reynaldo Jorge with some sweeping solos, Humberto Ramirez on Trumpet, and Richard Trinidad, with a very well-articulated piano solo.

Rico Walker and Erick Noel Rosado stood out in the vocal part.

Completing this strong ensemble were Victor Román on Baritone Sax, José “Furito” Ríos on Saxophone, Roby Texeira and Gabriel Duprey on Trumpets, Hommy Ramos and Toñito Vázquez, Trombones.

It was a spectacular night, full of energy and positive vibes, one of those you wish wouldn’t end and where you are left with the desire to continue in the “Rumba”. It is very difficult to describe what happened there and sin to omit so many emotions that can only be felt by being present.

This is the first chapter of a series of three, which Giovanni has on his agenda. Hoping that God, the Universe, and Life will allow him to see it come true.

Thanks to Lidda Garcia and Grandes Eventos and their team.

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