By José Arteaga (for Radio Gladys Palmera) 

Between On Top and Between Colleagues are 48 years old. On Top is an album of Fania Records recorded and released in 1967 by Monguito Santamaría and his group, in which the bassist Andy González debuted. Between Colleagues, meanwhile, is an album of Truth Revolution Recordings made in 2015 and released in 2016 by Andy Gonzalez and his friends. Between one and another album was a whopping 300 unrecorded recordings of Gonzalez as band director, bassist, arranger and producer. And I may be short on counting. But what differentiates one and the other, among Colleagues from the previous 299 recordings, is that it is the first that Andy Gonzalez does alone. Fort Apache Band was a project of his brother Jerry and Conjunto Libre was a project shared with his compadre Manny Oquendo. This is only Andy, and his almost 50 years of recording albums and records without stopping, is an event. It is not a unique case in Afro-Cuban music, even given the fact that the great Bobby Rodriguez, an eternal companion to the great bands of the Mambo era, never recorded solo; Or that his colleagues who carry a similar work rhythm as Rubén Rodríguez, have not yet made this foray with his name in the “top billing record.” What has Andy Gonzalez done late? Yes, but it excites especially knowing that he is having such a bad time in his personal life. Gonzalez has a serious kidney disease and since 2010 is on dialysis and has long suffered from chronic fatigue that can only be controlled after long periods of isolation and medication. But Ben Lapidus, author of the album’s footnotes states: “Once everyone was in the study, there was no dialysis, no illness, no fatigue; There was only beautiful music creation. ” Beautiful music sprinkled with sense of humor, which is the best treatment for a man who does not want to be depressed to know that he can no longer lead that life that led him to be part of the bands of Eddie Palmieri or Dizzy Gillespie, just to name two. And the subject of Dialysis Blues is a clear sign of it. The other is The Addams Family, a variation of the famous television comedy that Andy saw as a child and whose music made the great Vic Mizzy. The four initial chords of the subject are perfect for fingering on double bass, I dare to guess. The Addams Family was arranged for two bass. The one is Andy, of course, and the other is that of Luques Curtis, producer of the album and inspirer of this recording that he has considered as a tribute to his teacher and mentor. Young Curtis told Wilmer Zambrano, of the Acalibre portal, that: “I met Andy Gonzalez when I was 12 years old. He was in Hartford, Connecticut, where I am from, and gave me lessons and music counseling. He also gave me my first acoustic bass. ” Curtis has followed a meteoric career in salsa and jazz, highlighting with his brother Zaccai in the group The Curtis Brothers; And as a protégé of another crack in the music, Eddie Palmieri, who told La Hora Faniática: “It’s the only young man that, an incredible talent.” But he has not neglected his teacher since he is confined to his home in the Bronx receiving the grueling treatments. You know him well. That’s why he dared take him to the studios of his record label Truth Revolution. But the approach is curious, because it is acoustic, sounds like a discharge or jam session, and has a very high presence of strings. In fact, there are times when they cross and play in counterpoint the three of Nelson González, the guitars of Ben Lapidus and David Oquendo, and the four of Orlando Santiago. Why? Ten years ago Andy Gonzalez confessed to Pablo Larraguibel of the Anapapaya website: “I have a personal project, which I hope to have the time to do soon. They are only strings – acoustic bass, three, four, violin, mandolin and percussion. No metals. The name will be Strings Attach. ” Well that is what he has done with Curtis, has joined strings, taking advantage of so many friends musicians and doing something he also told Larraguibel at the time: he wanted to continue to be a producer. The boy who has his eyes on is Orlando Santiago, a prodigy of the four who nickname justice Most El, and whom González and Curtis leave their particular light on the subject El Mostro’s Aguinaldo. In short, we have gathered here young and veterans of the Afro-Cuban scene from different parts of the United States and Puerto Rico. Some have been students of González in The School of Jazz at The New School. Others are his lifelong friends. Nothing is fairer than calling this Among Colleagues.