The two 7-inch singles previously released by Leon Michels’s New York-based Latin funk project Bronx River Parkway were solid, but this album is an entirely different beast. Evidently, Candela Records honcho Pablo Rodriguez realized that they could use some serious seasoning and invited them to Puerto Rico to throw down in his Casa Candela studio (located at 152 San Sebastian in San Juan) with salsa scene ringers Pupi Rodriguez, Tito Cruz and singer/songwriter Sammy Ayala, who currently fronts the current touring version of Bronx River Parkway. The plan worked astonishingly well.
San Sebastian 152 avoids all the usual happy-sappy fast-paced foolishness you sometimes get from horn-hyped European and Yankee jazzbos trying to update their favourite boogaloo and cumbia jams for the dance floor, and instead slowly simmers with soulful grooves that are far deeper and darker than you’d ever imagine.
Believe me when I say that San Sebastian 152 could easily be mistaken for a lost gold-label Fania classic, it’s just that smokin’ hot.