Joe Bataan


Joe Bataan (USA)

Joe Bataan, hailing from the Spanish Harlem, is one of today's most authentic embodiments of Latin soul. Born in 1942, this Afro-Filipino pianist-singer-producer has in his recordings laid the foundations of an entire genre: it was on Bataan's albums where the musical heritage of Brazil and Cuba came together with American funk and jazz for the very first time.

During the 1960s and 1970s, Bataan composed and recorded one hit after another. To name just a few, there is Gypsy Woman; then there's Rap-O Clap-O, an early anticipation of the form that later became known as rap; then The Bottle, a Latino take on Gil Scott-Heron's classic that became one of the first really big disco hits... Easy-going, catchy, richly orchestrated, totally rhythmical, these are some of the attributes habitually listed as trademarks of Bataan's songs.

But behind the music, Joe Bataan's private life has not been a party every day. He's been witnessing the everyday realities of New York firmly on the street level, living through many momentous social and musical transitional periods in his time. In his early twenties, he spent some time in prison, and that time had a crucial impact on young Bataan's life and his decision to concentrate on making music. In the early 1980s, when his most intensive hit song period started to wane, Bataan suddenly disappeared from view. For almost twenty years he did not publicise his whereabouts, let alone release any new music, but dedicated his time on working with juvenile delinquents instead.

Finally, in 1995, Bataan made his comeback, and ten years later released an entire new album. In the aftermath Bataan appeared shortly in Finland too, and according to witnesses' reports, his new material can very well bear comparison with his Seventies classics.

When the maestro gets onstage, just leave all control of the situation in his hands. It's safe to assume that with all that experience under his belt, he knows enough tricks to get the crowd moving into whatever direction he wishes.

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