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David Ortiz's Hot Five of 2023

Joseph V. Labolito
/
Temple University

Without question, 2023 gave us some great music. From new releases and debuts to limited reissues and archival finds, there was something special for almost anyone.

We asked our jazz hosts to give us their five favorite tracks of 2023, so have a listen and read what they have to say. With pleasure, we present WRTI's Hot Fives.


Rumba Calzada, “Suena El Timbal”

From north of the border comes a tribute to the timbales with an awesome solo by Rafael Geronimo (who plays all the percussion on this recording). Timbales are an excellent example of an instrument that “moves” you to the beat, whether you want to or not. One of my favorite tunes.

Ottawa Latin Jazz Orchestra, “Guines Que Le Pasa a Tata”

A tribute to Cuban master percussionist Tata Guines with an immersive, fiery flavor finding its way throughout the song, thanks to the fine performance on congas by guest artist Jorge Luis Popioako. I love conga, timbales and bongo solos throughout a song that intensifies the rhythm even more. I truly enjoy this particular selection.

CSAN-II, “Persephone”

It’s ironic how this young man, Celestino Sanchez, and I literally grew up across the street from each other in North Philly. Both of us are now involved in Latin music in one way or another. Persephone was the Greek goddess of spring, yet this song reminds me more of a hot summer day, because it sizzles! I enjoy it every time I play it.

Johnny Rivero, “Mejor Que Nunca”

Mejor Que Nunca (“Better Than Ever”) speaks the truth, as a percussionist and native New Yorker does his thing all over this release. I picked the title track just because it says it all! Not to mention, it’s an awesome song!

Pedro Bermudez, “Para Los Polllos”

This was a hard choice, simply because all the songs on La Revelación are great. However, “Para Los Pollos” is an intense salsa song that just soars a little higher than the rest. It features guest vocalist Luisito Carrion, and a piano solo by Bermudez that’s awesomely played. I LOVE this song!!!!!!

For over 40 years, David has been connecting thousands of loyal WRTI listners to the sounds of salsa, mambo, and Latin jazz via his popular radio program on WRTI 90.1, El Viaje.