When you hear the name Seguida those of us who were fortunate to either see them live, in the 70's, or hear their recordings are quickly reminded of the East Coast's hottest Latin Rock band in New York.
Seguida (to follow quickly without interruption) had two distinctive sides as far as many of us are concerned and as we will clear up in this special piece of history as it was experienced in the streets of New York.
One side of the band is the one you hear on their debut LP, "Love Is‘«™Seguida", from 1974 and part of their follow-up "On Our Way To Tomorrow" in 1976 and the other Seguida is the true rock band you witnessed at clubs and festivals throughout the city.
The Latin Rock band was the one you saw in person but on recording the band had a more danceable (The Hustle) approach as requested by Jerry Massucci of these teenagers that were just trying to be known.
The original band members that formed the band in 1972 hailed from various parts of 'Da South Bronx' including Soundview, Rosedale Avenue and the Bronx River Projects.
What these young mavericks and many of us recall from that era was the blaring music that came from all over the city, the parks, the store radios, the fire escapes and apartment windows. This was an everyday happening especially during the nights when the city streets would became a school for aspiring young and old musicians. The influences were incredible as you heard the latest soul sounds from one window and rock or jazz from another. You had the Latin sounds pouring out from another spot as the rumberos in the streets and/or in the parks jammed along.
All these variations of sound is what influenced the different musical tastes in each and everyone of us that lives still today.
During the year 1970-71 four friends (guitarist Louie Perez. vocalist Lori Rose, percussionist Carlos 'GoGo' Gomez & drummer Steve Adorno) formed a dance band, Devoshun, that generated a Top 25 12" Dance hit for the SMI label, "No No My Friend" during the early stages of what became the Hustle which gave birth to Disco music.
A second group, Latin Soul Inc., featured percussionist Angel Nater, Pete Nater & Eddie Montalvo and both played at the local high school dances, parties and street fairs. They would perform the latest AM radio hits of the time with a twist of Latin Funk standards by Ray Barretto, Joe Bataan, Willie Colon and others.
The early influence that set these teenagers in that direction was Carlos Santana's smash hit interpretation of the Tito Puente composition "Oye Como Va". As Steve Adorno tells it‘«™"my dad came home one day with this new recording under his arm that changed all our lives‘«™Santana's "Abraxas" LP".
Steve explains that "Louie Perez had met through his brother a rock bassist/arranger who was looking for a group that could realize his musical dream of combining the electric power of a rock band with the exciting power of a rhythm section‘«™ his name was Randy Ortiz". The concept was taken a bit further with the addition of a 'conjunto' style horn section that was the rave at the time Randy Ortiz became the musical director while Angel Nater Jr. & Louie Perez became the band leaders. The sound that ensued was like no other and it grew to become the New York hybrid of Rock & Salsa!
The attention the band received soon led them to be the opening act for many Salsa legends like Willie Colon, Ray Barretto, Larry Harlow, and Eddie Palmieri. What was to follow was a recording contract from Fania Records and the 1974 release of "Love Is‘«™Seguida". The rock sound the band was already known for took a different twist on record as the label felt the band should record the hip new youth sound that would become Disco music and could be heard on this first recording as well as Side A of their follow-up. In my conversation with Steve Adorno I now understood why the band on record sounded different from the electrifying rock band in live performances.
Never the less the debut recording was well received by both Latinos and the American Rock media both in Puerto Rico and new York and the Village Voice even named them 'Sons of Santana'.
In my curiosity I asked Steve if the band was aware of the Latin Rock craze occurring in the West Coast's bay area at the time but they were not into what was happening outside the tri-state area of New York and Puerto Rico.
'Mambo Rock' became their first big hit and was used as the theme for Izzy Sanabria's TV show "Salsa" and they also became the shows house band. This also led to them opening for the historic 'Fania All-Star' concert, at Yankee Stadium, that would come to an abrupt end when fans poured out onto the field and stormed the stage during Ray Barretto and Mongo Santamaria's "Congo Bongo" conga duel exchanges.
Their performance at the Village Gate's 'Salsa Meets Jazz' series, in September 1976 was the beginning of a North East tour where they opened for acts such as James Taylor, Sly & The Family Stone, ACE, Richie Havens, Crown Heights Affair (one of my favorites form the Hustle/Disco era) and others.
On the B-Side of their second LP, "On Our Way To Tomorrow", you could experience more of their rock style as they created new fusions such as "Yo Nunca Te Olvidare" that was Salsa with English lyrics and Spanish soneos. This song traveled the world and gave Seguida the momentum heading into a third album with Fania but the label had chosen to concentrate on their own in-house Latin crossover‘«™the Fania All-Stars.
Steve Adorno explains "One of our vocalists, Eric Alexander, was not a favorite at Fania and they wanted Randy to try a new upcoming vocalist that he refused to even listen to. We had gone through many changes for the label and Randy was tired of what was going on and did not listen to the demo of this vocalist that turned out to be‘«™.Ruben Blades!"
In 1978 there was a third LP but it was never released.
Seguida went on to form the Salsa band "Somos" that included Ronni Amoro, Angel Nater Jr. & Eddie Montalvo and a second group, The New York Big Apple All Stars (Randy Ortiz, Lori Rose, Lou Perez, and Seguida's present bandleader Steve Adorno), which was a hot session band that specialized in recording popular Disco tracks, translated into Spanish, for the Mexican & South American markets.
Steve Adorno stayed involved with the music and went on to perform with many of the Disco acts of the late 70'sand in 1980 joined the hot Arista recording artist GQ. "Rahiem LeBlanc was a friend of mine I met in the local clubs and who lived a few blocks away from me. In 1979 he was searching for a drummer and asked me to join his band. I did not understand who he was at the time and was amazed when I saw Rahiem's face on the cover of GQ's "Disco Night" LP. I joined the band and went on tour with them until 1991, performing on music TV shows and concerts the hits "Disco Night (Rock Freak)", "Standing Ovation", "I Do Love You" and more. One of his closest friends is Kevin Zambrana, who I personally know from my RMM days when he did sound engineering for Ralph Mercado's events, who would also fill in as a percussionist on these GQ tours. Check them out on you-tube under disco or GQ for a blast from the past.
In 2007 Seguida returned with "Seguida III", for Onroda Records, Adorno, Lori Rose, Pete Nater & Louie Perez with some arrangements by Randy Ortiz are joined by others and special guests Kevin Ceballo (who does the new version of 'Yo Nunca Te Olvidare) and Larry Harlow. One of my favorites is the young vocalist Anthony Leon on "Stay With Me". Expect the band to release "Seguida IV" during the summer and a second project "Tribute to The Fania All-Stars" where they will do the bands crossover covers (Coro Miyare, En Orbita, etc.) Seguida style.
What I see in this band is a unit of dedicated musicians who want to take it to the next level and by all indications will do so in 2009. Major League Baseball has chosen the band for their MAJOR LEAGUE ARTIST SERIES internet entertainment site at MLB.com.