801 Latino


Manzanera releases ‘801 Latino’ on 2nd July on Expression Records. Phil, currently on guitar duties with Roxy music’s first world tour for 18 years, again demonstrates his love and empathy for Cuban music and the country of his childhood. He says about his new album:

‘The idea for ‘801 Latino’ came about when I was clearing out a room at home in July 1999 and came across some photos of the last time I played Havana in 1997. I was there at the invitation of one of Cuba’s most famous singers, Augusto Enriquez. We had played together at a concert in the National Auditorium off Revolution Square. I had recorded the Manzanera/Moncada album when he was the lead singer of the group Moncada at the Karl Marx theatre in Havana…it reminded me that I should reciprocate and invite him to England to play a concert. Also, that summer I had seen an 19 year old pianist in a Channel 4 documentary called ‘Tuning with the Enemy’ and to my surprise he then appeared at The Royal Festival Hall the same night as La Vi ja Trova Santiaguera, playing one of his own compositions - he was brilliant and I thought “let’s get some young Cubans over” and that was how the ‘801 Latino’ project evolved.’

‘The original 1976 ‘801′ concept of bringing together different musicians from a wide musical spectrum,for a short time,recording them in a live concert, still seemed valid some 25 years later. This time I wanted to see if 801 would work with Latin players. Aldo, the Cuban prodigy, suggested 20 year old Mosca, top drummer with Omar Portuando, Augusto recommended Yamile, a young, hot, female singer and I completed the band with my Colombian friend and ex-Eurythmic bassist Chucho Merchan.


During rehearsals there was a lot of creatively charged Latin passion and mucho mucho talking in rehearsals. I don’t know how we managed to get it together in such a short space of time but somehow from the chaos, this selection of Latin music emerged. It spans the period of the 40’s to the 90’s and in many ways is a snapshot of the music that has accompanied my musical journey starting in Havana in 1957.’

Aldo Lopez-Gavilan was born in Havana, Cuba to internationally acclaimed classical musician parents. His father is a conductor and composer, his mother is a concert pianist and brother Ilma is a violin virtuoso. At the age of two, Aldo had written his first musical composition. At four, his mother introduced the budding child prodigy to the piano. Aldo’s formal training began at the age of six and between the ages of ten through fourteen he won fifth place in all the Cuban National competitions. Additionally he was honoured with an award for best interpretation of Cuban music, which were his original compositions.

Aldo’s first international triumph was at the age of eleven when he won the Danny Kay Children’s Competition awards that were organised by the UNICEF organisation. His unique interpretation was highly appreciated by actors Roger Moore and Audrey Hepburn. His first solo appearance with an orchestra was at the age of twelve where he brilliantly performed Mozart’s concerto No. 13. At fourteen he was invited to an International Competition in Italy and he received the Laureate award. Aldo also toured throughout Cuba, Latin American and Europe.

At fifteen he won the National Havana Competition (professionals of all ages) where he also received recognition by Leo Brower (guitarist and composer). Parallel to his extraordinary classical abilities, he developed remarkable improvisational qualities. He was invited to perform in the world famous Havana Jazz Festival with the jazz legend Chucho. Chucho said “he’s simply a genius, he’s a star”.

Carlos “Mosca” Valde
Born in Havana this 21 year old percussionist /drummer started showing signs of brilliance at an early age whist a pupil at the National Conservatory. He was a member of the National Youth Orchestra and played all over Cuba. At the age of 17 he was chosen to give his first solo concert at the Lecuona Room at the Gran theatre in Havana to great critical acclaim and as a result he was asked to join the Youth Philharmonic Orchestra of New England touring the USA. He was also played with the Oakland Youth Orchestra on a tour of Cuba. In 1998 he began working with Aldo Lopez Gavilan as a jazz duo and performed to critical acclaim at the Havana Jazz Festival and recorded a CD with Aldo. In the same year he started working with the famous veteran singer Omara Portuaundo (Buena Vista Social Club) and has toured in Europe with her getting excellent personal reviews from le Figaro and the press in Berlin.


Yamile from Habana started her career as vocalist for a quartet called ‘Sol’ but soon soon became the the main vocalist for the most relevant salsa band of the 90s called PG Poder de la Generación. In 1998 she recorded her first solo CD for Egrem, Cubas’ state label, called ‘Llego hasta ti’, produced by Augusto Enriquez and José Manuel García. The musicians on the CD were, Pucho López, Roberto Fonseca, Gema 4, Vocal S.A., Frank Bejerano, Chicoy, Carlos Valdés, César López, Trompetica, Carmelo, Fáez, Emilio del Monte, Mendiola and the Orquesta Sinfóanica Nacional de Cuba. This record established her as one of the leading exponents of popular music in Cuba. She subsequentally sang on Augusto Enriques’ CD and toured with him extensively in Europe as vocalist in his 19 piece Mambo band ,as well as performing at the Living Treasures festival in Durban .

Chucho Merchan
Chucho from Bogota, Colombia was discovered by Pete Townsend, when he was playing at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Cwith lub in London with Mose Allison. He played with Pete’s band and then David Gilmour from Pink Floyd. He then joined the Eurthymics and has since been one of the top electric bass and double bass players and Producers on the European and Latin American scene playing with the most famous artists in Latin, Jazz and Rock music.