Music is the greatest time and space traveler so when the snow and cold of New York has me needing to be somewhere warmer, I always turn to Cortijo.
Rafael Cortijo’ career spanned over 50 years and countless genres. The beauty of Cortijo was his ability to balance the traditional with the contemporary and equally challenge both. Nowhere is this better showcased than on his 1973 masterpiece “Cortijo & His Time Machine – Y Su Maquina Del Tiempo”. Cortijo went so far ahead on this album that we haven’t caught up yet.
The album takes the listener on a dope ride through various rhythms and emotions. ”Gumbo” for example is a mix of funk, jazz, merengue, and a few other flavors all slow cooked to perfection.
On “La Verdad” Cortijo speaks to the political awaking that was occurring in Puerto Rico during the time. The song is questioning the listener as to why people in the island are forced to consume the products and culture form the outside before those that are from the island.
Another killer is “Carnaval” which sounds and feels like a carnival through the streets of Loíza. The movement of the track always transplants me and I can almost feel the love and warmth of the people marching through the streets.
All this snow and cold in New York City has me with the heavy desire to be swaying in a hammock with the sun blessing my skin and the sound of Coquis singing to me. In the meantime, I can always, and will always play Cortijo.