TONIO RUBIO: RHYTHMS IN ACTION

Tonio Rubio: Bass In Action No. 1 + Latin Leitmotif
From Rhythms (Tele Music, 1973)

I didn’t include this in my year-end wrap-up because, technically, it wasn’t a discover; I’ve known about it for years, it just took until now to finally track down a copy. As I’ve written in the past, I’m not a heavy library collector by any means but there are a few titles that I’ve chased throughout the years, none more so than this Tele Music title from Tonio Rubio. In terms of sheer bang-for-buck, I’d rank this as high as any library LP out there though for me personally, this is primary a 2.5 tracker.1

“Bass In Action No. 1” is on the short list of “songs that sounded like a hip-hop beat 15-20 years ahead of time.” I mean…c’mon: the slow, lumbering bass line, the drifting electric piano, the way the breakbeat patiently waits to pop in around the one minute mark. It’s straight up proto-trip-hop.

Edit: James Burgos made a great observation: “That track reminds me of [Cannonball Adderley’s] “Hummin‘.” The Rhodes seems like it even quotes some of the horn phrasing.” I think he’s 100% correct; this sounds like a riff on “Hummin.'”

“Latin Leitmotif” is equally delicious, least of all for its phasing effects and that killer montuno that’s played on…actually, I’m not sure what the hell it’s played on. Piano and bass in tandem? (My wife describes it as “a dirty piano” and that works for me). This track is so fun and funky, it makes you wonder what the hell Rubio and the Tele Music crew were thinking (or smoking) when they sat down to tape it.

Like I said, took me years to track down a copy but all good things to those who…

  1. The half track is for “Bass In Action No. 2” which is very similar to “No. 1” except for the added scat singing.

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