World & Latin

Quite A Find

23 JUL 10 JOHN C. BRUENING

When New York-born Latin percussionist Willie Bobo died in 1983, he left behind an ambitious body of work on 14 albums recorded between 1963 and 1979. But there was more in the can that no one knew about for several years after his death. Lost And Found features hours of unreleased material he recorded in the '70s on reel-to-reel tape. You wouldn't have the opportunity to hear it if not for Willie's son Eric Bobo, who discovered the recordings tucked away in a closet sometime in the mid-'90s.

Eric, a conga player who'd toured with Cypress Hill, teamed up with producer Mario C. (best known for his work with the Beastie Boys) and distilled the unearthed material into Lost And Found, a 2006 release that mixes previously unheard compositions with some of Bobo's older songs recast in a new light.

Among the album's twelve tracks are alternate takes of Bobo favorites like the swaggering and loose "Broasted Or Fried," the churning "Soul Foo Young" and a silky rendition of Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Dindi." In the midst of these are noteworthy songs that had been hiding in the closet, including the rousing "Round Trip" and the slinky "Midnight Lover," both of which preserve Willie's original groove yet pack sufficient punch (thanks to Eric and Mario's embellishments) to propel the music into the 21st century.

Lost And Found provides a sort of parallel-dimension view of Willie Bobo's music -- some alternate versions of what was, alongside glimpses of what never was but might have been. His death at the young age of 51 was undoubtedly a loss. This posthumous final message is a true find.