Alfonso Lovo - La Gigantona
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The son of a prominent Nicaraguan politician, Alfonso Noel Lovo was an obvious target when Sandinista rebels hijacked a Managua-bound flight from Miami in December of 1971, ultimately putting several rounds through the talented musician’s torso and hand. After several years, and as many surgeries, he would break ground on this psychedelic pastiche of Latin jazz and pan-American funk, recorded in his nation’s capital in 1976. The binary stars of the sessions would be the agile Lovo and percussionist Jose “Chepito” Areas, whose timbale work can be heard on watershed records by Carlos Santana, including the Latin-rock milestone, “Oye Como Va.” Lovo’s unreleased masterpiece, combining the talents of Nicaragua’s most notorious players, recalls at once the spiritual funkiness of Herbie Hancock’s Mwandishi, the studio trickology of Lee “Scratch” Perry, and the dense propulsion of Billy Cobham’s Spectrum. Fusion begets confusion, as hand-plucked guitar melodies tumble into synthesizer meltdowns with wasted grace. More experimental than Jamaica’s heaviest dub plate, La Gigantona lays in a groove that is, at times, as deep in the pocket as it is in the clouds.