It all begins with the contagious rhythm of the bongos. Bam! The music hits you like a grenade exploding in the middle of La Saguesera. Then the piano joins in. And at this point, you start involuntarily shaking your shoulders.
You try to stop, but then the band surges and thrusts, and you're out on the dance floor shaking that ass like rumba royalty. Damn, you didn't even know a set of human hips could gyrate this wildly. But hey, good Latin music usually has that effect on people.
Especially if it's produced by Louie Vega, the Grammy-winning producer who's shared the stage with Marc Anthony and Tito Puente. He bleeds the same blood that ran through the veins of the his uncle and legendary salsero Hector Lavoe.
And this month, Vega and his orchestral crew, Elements of Life, will unleash a new album, Eclipse, on Fania Records, the first release in 15 years on a label that, according to Louie, "is to Latin music what Motown is to R&B and soul."
The two-disc collection showcases the group's new tracks while also paying homage to Fania Records and the Fania All-Stars.
"We created new choruses," Vega tells Crossfade, "and named just about every single Fania All-Star musician [in the tribute track]. I'm really happy with the way it all came out. When you listen to the whole piece, it's epic and beautiful."
As for their live Miami gig, Vega and Elements of Life are planning to shower la turba at Pax with a serious shot of sazón.
"[The music] gets Afro, Latin, jazz-ish, very danceable. It's got all the elements," Louie exclaims. "It feels good. It feels strong. It has an energy."
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SHOW ME HOW
Bring it on, salseros, bring it on.
Louie Vega & Elements of Life with Josh Milan, Anane Vega, Jose Mangual, Luisito Quintero, Sahr Ngaujah, Oveous Maximus, and DJ Joe Claussell. Tuesday, March 19, at Pax, 337 SW Eighth St., Miami. The show starts at 8 p.m., and admission is free with RSVP at fania.com/eol. Call 305-640-5847, or visit paxmiami.com.