In 1960s Harlem, a lot of different styles of music were swirling around. Joe Bataan grabbed two of his favorites–doo wop and boogaloo, a sound mixing Latin rhythms with R&B and soul–and made something new. He debuted with “Gypsy Woman,” turning Curtis Mayfield’s original into a slowed down polyrhythmic dance, perfectly capturing Harlem’s vibrant Latin American community in a song. From there, Bataan helped turn Fania Records into a powerhouse Latin soul label; co-founded Salsoul, which integrated Latin elements into early disco; appeared on early rap tracks; and lent his raspy croon to hundreds of brilliant songs.
For the past few decades, Austin’s own genre-mashers Grupo Fantasma have continued Bataan’s trailblazing tradition. The band has expanded the porous boundaries of what Latin music is and can be, turning psychedelic, funk, soul, cumbia, salsa, and more into dance partners. On May 27, Grupo Fantasma and Joe Bataan team up for a one-of-a-kind show at the Paramount Theatre, presented by KUTX Live. And this week on My KUTX, Bataan and Grupo bassist Greg Gonzalez dive deep into Latin soul’s roots, talking about how the sound came about, how salsa pioneers like Ray Barretto contributed, and more. Hear My KUTX on Saturday, May 14 at 6 p.m. or listen anytime in the player above.
- Joe Bataan – “Under The Street Lamp”
- Grupo Fantasma – “Let Me Be” (feat. Tomar Williams)
- Joe Bataan – “Chicana Lady”
- Ray Barretto – “Pastime Paradise”
- Joe Bataan – “The Prayer”
- Eddie Palmieri – “Condiciones Que Existen”
- Joe Bataan – “Gypsy Woman”
- Bobby Valentín – “Amor Ciego”
- Harlem River Drive – “Idle Hands”