This week's Latin Soul selection on Saturday Jazz Caliente is "Viva Tirado," from the Fania All Stars 1974 collection Latin-Soul-Rock. The composition, written by the great jazz arranger Gerald Wilson, has an interesting history and has proved to be an enduring piece of shared culture.
Here's the original and just a few of the many different recordings of "Viva Tirado."
Gerald Wilson and the Bullfighter: Born in Misssissippi, raised in Memphis and Detroit, trumpeter Gerald Wilson moved to Los Angeles for good in 1944. He married Josefina Villasenor, a Mexican-American woman who influenced him with her family's culture. Wilson became a fan of the bullfights in Tijuana, and especially of the stylish matador José Ramón Tirado.
The Brown Sound and Chicano Soul: A group named El Chicano from East LA's Latino rock scene recorded their version of "Viva Tirado" in 1970. The title track single went gold, and it became the soundtrack to the Chicano Pride movement of the 1970s. The album also included their take on Herbie Hancock's "Canteloupe Island."
Percy Faith Plays El Chicano and Santana: Perhaps the most ill-advised recording of "Viva Tirado," with sappy strings and a somewhat stiff rhythm, from the album Black Magic Woman.
The Vocal Version: The lyrics aren't deep, but The 5th Dimension approached nearly every song they recorded with great vocal arrangments and a sweet mix of soul and refinement.
Listen for the Fania All-Stars playing "Viva Tirado" this week on Saturday Jazz Caliente!
Jazz Caliente airs Saturdays at 5:00 p.m. The program is hosted by Robin Lloyd and produced by KNKX Public Radio