Saturday, 13 April 2013

The Biggest Disco Band: Vince Montana's Salsoul Orchestra

The Salsoul Orchestra


Formed 1974 in New York, U.S.A. Disbanded in 1982. The house band of Salsoul Records.
This prime Disco big band was a big influence in inspiring club house music, they were fusing Philly Soul, Funk and Latin Music in a danceable disco sound. The Salsoul Orchestra included up to 50 members with instrumental section, arrangers and conductors.
In the same way that MFSB were the 'house orchestra' to Philadelphia International, the Salsoul Orchestra performed the same task for Salsoul Records.
In 1974, Vince Montana was introduced to local entrepreneurs Joe, Ken and Stan Cayre (who ran a local Latin music label) by Afro-Cuban pianist Joe Bataan.
Within the Salsoul Orchestra, it was predominantly Vince Montana who wrote, conducted and produced the orchestra from the mid-70's to the mid-'80's.
Some of their finer moments included 'Ooh I Love It (Love Break)' (1975), 'You're Just The Right Size' (1976), 'Salsoul 3001' (1976), 'Runaway' (1977), 'Christmas Time Medley' (1981), 'Take Some Time Out' (1982) and the Patrick Adams-produced 'Seconds' featuring Loleatta Holloway (1982).
With arrangers, conductors and whole sections of instruments (including up to 18 violinists), contributing to the sound, the Salsoul Orchestra routinely included up to 50 members.
The orchestra also played on numerous recordings for the label's other groups and artists such as Charo's 'Charo And The Salsoul Orchestra' (1977), including 'Dance A Little Bit Closer'.
Many Salsoul contributors played on some of the best disco tracks of their time, including Trammps, Grace Jones, the Whispers, Loleatta Holloway and First Choice.
After dismantling the Salsoul Orchestra in the early '80's, Vince Montana led the studio group Montana and recorded with several pop stars of the '80's as well as the '90s.
Though Salsoul records had long been out of print, several were brought back in the mid-'90's.
Many of the more recent 'house' music offerings owe more than a passing nod to the recordings of this orchestra.

Various Artists

”Salsoul Disco Madness”
( 2 x Vinyl, LP, Compilation, Salsoul Records, 1978 )
Catalog # SA 8518

Salsoul Orchestra
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Salsoul Orchestra was the backing band for acts on Salsoul Records. It was formed 1974 in New York., U.S. and disbanded in 1982. Their music featured elements of Philly Soul, Funk, Latin Music and disco. The Salsoul Orchestra included up to 50 members with instrumental section, arrangers and conductors. The Salsoul Orchestra was conducted by Vincent Montana Jr.(1975- 1978)
Production duties came,from 1978 to 1983, by Tom Moulton, Stan Lucas, Patrick Adams & Bunny Sigler.
The Salsoul Orchestra consisted of the most of the original members of MFSB, who had moved on to Salsoul as the result of a disagreement with Gamble & Huff over finances. Other members began performing as The Ritchie Family orchestra, and John Davis and the Monster Orchestra. On later MFSB recordings, Gamble & Huff uses a new rhythm section which caused them to have a slightly different sound.
Their song, "Love Break (Ooh I Love It)" has been sampled in rap songs such as 50 Cent's "Candyshop" and Eric B & Rakim's "Paid in Full", but most notably in Madonna's "Vogue".

* "Salsoul 3001"
* "Dance Little Bit Closer" feat Charo
* "Sun After The Rain"
* "It's Good For The Soul"
* "Salsoul Hustle"
* "Resorts International"
* "212 North 12th"
* "How High" feat Cognac
* "Seconds" & "Take Some Time Out" featuring Jocelyn Brown
* "You're Just The Right Size" (1975)
* "Chicago Bus Stop" (1976)
* "Tangerine" (1976) - Billboard Hot 100 - # 18
* "Nice 'N' Naasty" (1976) - #30
* "Runaway" (1977) featuring Loleatta Holloway, covered in 1996 by Nuyorican Soul with musicians from the Salsoul Orchestra

* "Staying Alive" & "You Should Be Dancing" (by BeeGees) & "Somebody to Love" (Jefferson Airplane) & Getaway by Earth, Wind & Fire


The Salsoul Orchestra Biography
The music world's prime disco big band during the late '70s, the Salsoul Orchestra recorded several of the tightest, chunkiest disco themes of the 1970s, both on its own productions and as the backing group for several prime vocalists. Organized by Vincent Montana, Jr. in 1974, the band was an experiment in fusing funk, Philly soul, and Latin music together in a highly danceable discofied style with plenty of room for solos by individual members. With arrangers, conductors, and whole sections of instruments (including up to 18 violinists) contributing to the sound, the Salsoul Orchestra routinely included up to 50 members. Though the Salsoul sound became passé in the wake of disco music's explosion and rapid commercialization during the late '70s, Salsoul was a heavy influence on house music in the 1980s and even the return of disco-inspired electronica during the following decade.

The beginnings of the Salsoul Orchestra (and Salsoul Records) lie with nominal head Vincent Montana, Jr. A longtime jazz vibraphonist, bandleader, and session man with Philly soul groups like Harold Melvin & the Bluenotes, the O'Jays, and the Spinners, Montana dreamed of constructing a large studio orchestra which could fuse polished soul and brassy funk with Latin percussion and live strings. In 1974, he was introduced to local entrepreneurs JoeKen, and Stan Cayre (who ran a local Latin music label) by Afro-Cuban pianist Joe Bataan. With their blessing (and financing), Montana spent months recruiting dozens of musicians from the streets and studios of New York -- including more than a half-dozen percussionists alone. The collective recorded three tracks, which impressed Bataan and the Cayres so much that they decided to form a new label -- named Salsoul for its connotations of salsa and soul -- to release a full-length LP.

One of the original Salsoul Orchestra recordings, "The Salsoul Hustle," was released in mid-1975 and it placed well on the charts. Salsoul's second single, "Tangerine" (an unlikely cover of a Jimmy Dorsey tune), hit the Top 20 in early 1976 and pushed the eponymous Salsoul Orchestra LP to number 14 on the album charts. Follow-up singles like "You're Just the Right Size" and "Nice and Nasty" did moderately well on the charts but soon a glut of similar-sounding material began to flood the market, cheap imitations of the amazing instrumentation of Salsoul Orchestra members -- guitarist and producer Norman Harris, bassist Ronald Baker, drummer Earl Young, arranger Don Renaldo, percussionist Larry Washington, and vocalists Jocelyn BrownPhyllis RhodesRonni TysonPhilip Hurt, and Carl Helm. Many Salsoul contributors played on the biggest and best disco tracks of the era, including TrammpsGrace Jones, the Whispers, Loleatta Holloway, and First Choice.

Salsoul's third LP, the slightly amusing Christmas Jollies, displayed a predilection towards the growing disco novelty trend. The slip was hardly improved upon with 1977's Cuchi-Cuchi (which teamed the Orchestra with Charo) or 1978's Up the Yellow Brick Road (a takeoff on +The Wiz). After disintegrating the Salsoul Orchestra in the early '80s, Vince Montana led the studio group Montana and recorded with several pop stars of the '80s as well as dance inheritors of the '90s like Mondo Grosso and Nuyorican Soul. Though Salsoul records had long been out of print, several were brought back in the mid-'90s, as well as a prescient two-disc retrospective titled Anthology. ~ John Bush, All Music Guide

R E C O M M E N D E D S A L S O U L G R O O V E S:

Vincent Montana Jr.

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