Louie Ramirez Louie's Grooves

Vampisoul continues its active year of reissues and new platters, and this is the cream of the crop for the fall. Louie Ramirez was one of the most talented and original arrangers New York had to offer from the ’60s through the ’90s. While he made many fine records as a leader, particularly those in a fusion vein during the ’70s, this comp brings together a wide variety of his tunes, productions and arrangements for himself and other artists during the ’60s. The set overflows with ingenious grooves. Most notable are his productions of Jimmy Sabater, the soulful vocalist of the Joe Cuba Sextet ("Bang Bang”), on the proto-funk groove of "Times Are Changing.” He also excelled at jazzy grooves, especially his settings for Charlie Palmieri’s virtuoso piano, and a killer Cubop cut with Sabu Martinez called "The Oracle.” His sonic inventiveness, which would become much more important to his sound in years to come, is already in evidence with the marimba driven "Rush Hour in Hong Kong,” and the lush strings/vibes/electric piano guiro-driven funk of "Barrio Nuevo.” The best part of this disc is its roundup of many artists who are extremely hard to find on CD, or vinyl for that matter. Louie died young in 1993, and has never been the subject of a proper compilation: this one opens the door on the ’60s, hopefully his ’70s work will be given a similar treatment. (Vampisoul)