Here’s a little plate of salsa and boogaloo from one of Puerto Rico’s most vibrant figures, José Juan Piñero González, better known as “Pijuan”. Taking a bit of inspiration from NYs other heavy weight sextets,namely Joe Cuba’s, the band sprung up in 1966 and was among the only sextets working the lounge and hotel circuit on the island. Six turned out to be the magic number for Pijuan and it gave the group a tight and versatile range of talent that enabled it to easily handle a variety of styles which included guaguancos, boogloo, son, salsa, and even Colombian folk songs.
Pijuan remained a strong force well into the 70’s and 80’s working in both television and film productions, started his own label as well as producing in 1973 “La Factoria de la Salsa” which became a “Soul Train” for salsa headz.
Here’s a trio of cookers from the sextet’s fourth album on Hit Parade “Sabor a Pueblo” from 1969, featuring Pijuan on piano, organ, and vocals. “Cocinando con mi salsa” and “Me voy pa’ carolina” are a pair of salsa groovers with some very tasty keys and plenty of jazzy flair from the group’s alto sax. “Cortaron a Elena” is a really sweet boogaloo with plenty of swing along with great arrangement that flexes the groups sweet electric guitar playing as well. Enjoy the tunes. EB