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September 07, 2013
Presented in association with the San Francisco Filipino American Jazz Festival
Saturday, September 7
7:30pm $35 & 9:30pm $35
Boogaloo, Latin Soul, Rhythm and Blues, Salsa, Disco, Latin Funk, Latin R&B Latin Jazz, Rap .... What didn't Joe Bataan sing? Joe Bataan was born and raised in Spanish Harlem (East Side of Manhattan New York) in 1942 to an African-American mother and Filipino father. His given name was Bataan Nitollano.
Wikipedia Music Encyclopedia defines Latin Soul as " a blend of mambo and pop tinged with R&B and Latin Jazz, emphasizing short, ultra-catchy tunes and infectious rhythms." I would like to add to this definition " authentically created by Joe Bataan" Self taught on the piano, he organized his first band in 1965 and scored his first recording success in 1967 with " Gypsy Woman " on Fania Records. " Gypsy Woman " crossed over to R&B radio along with " Subway Joe " The title track of Gypsy Woman was first aired by radio DJ Dick "Ricardo" Sugar, became an instant hit in New York's Latin community. Ironically, Mr. Bataan had initially written the song " Gypsy Woman" with Spanish lyrics for the band's co-lead vocalist Joe Pagan to perform. It didn't seem to work, so he started singing the song himself in English at gigs and received an enthusiastic reaction. The late George Goldner, boss of the Cotique label (a rival of Fania at the time), disapproved of Bataan's rendition and advised him against recording it. Clearly, Joe's refusal to take this advice proved to be the sounder judgment.
Another smashing hit from the Fania label was the Latin Soul ballad " Ordinary Guy " Addressing an ex-lover, Mr. Bataan plaintively sings: " I don't have thousands to spend, Or a seaside cottage for the weekend, I'm just an ordinary guy, you left behind." You were guaranteed at least four hits or more on a Bataan's album. Even songs that did not hit the billboard charts were phenomenal. Several songs were mainly about his life experience.
By the mid 70's Latin Soul music began to fade away. Another genre of music was making the scene and it was called Disco. Bataan's next big hit in 1979 was " Rap-O Clap-O " on Salsoul records, which he co-found. It was the first Rap Disco hit with a smooth disco rhythm. While it didn't chart domestically, " Rap-O" went top 10 throughout Europe. " Rap-O, Clap-O" was accredited as the first Rap song in Europe. No recording artist has more impeccable street credentials than Joe Bataan, the originator of the New York Latin Soul style that paralleled Latin Boogaloo and anticipated Disco.