Lo Que Tengo


2022 repress. Alfredo "El Inca" Linares is one of the best and most beloved musicians in the history of salsa. Fans love his piano playing because of his authentic Cuban feel and "swing" combined with progressive arrangements and uncompromising phrasing that puts one in mind of Eddie Palmieri. As a composer, arranger and band-leader Linares is highly respected as well. Lo Que Tengo is full of rock solid dancefloor killers and no filler, played with verve and flair. Unlike some of his other records that were patched together from various sessions made in different studios, this album has the advantage of being produced, recorded, and mixed by Alfredo Linares all in one studio and block of time, and backed by hand-picked seasoned professionals. The album was recorded in 1980 in Caracas with some of the cream of the crop of contemporary Venezuelan salsa musicians and launched there on the indie label A.L.G. Records as ¡Con Todo!, and then a year later on the much larger Velvet Records with a different cover. The LP was also released in Colombia and the US, both editions utilizing the Velvet Records cover. During this time Linares had been in Venezuela for some five years and was under contract with a nightclub in Caracas. After the contract was up Linares was a free agent again and he was able to draw on his friendship with Mango and assemble a band to back him, first for the Colombian/Venezuelan production Salsa de Verdad (1976) and then again with ¡Con Todo!/Lo Que Tengo. One of the distinctive aspects of Alfredo Linares tunes is the "break" (la cierre) -- there are always plenty of dramatic hand-clapping breakdowns followed by an infectious tumbao (sustained vamp) section. In addition, Linares always lets his musicians stretch out, especially in the percussion section. Again, Lo Que Tengo is no exception: there are so many examples of typical arrangements here that one could call this a classic Alfredo Linares album, but with the updated studio sound of 1980s Caracas, which was awash in petro-dollars at the time and so had the latest equipment and a strong consumer base for the salsa market. With five perfectly paced salsas, one funky cha cha chá, a steamy bolero and a dance-friendly Latin jazz number to top it off (note the bluesy piano solo from Linares and the sublime vibes of Mango's Freddy Roldán), there is something for everybody on this record. Presented in its original artwork and pressed on 180 gram vinyl.