Ignacio de Loyola Rodríguez Scull, aka Arsenio Rodríguez, was a Cuban musician, bandleader and prolific composer who developed the son montuno and other Afro-Cuban-based rhythms. Today, he is seen as one of the most important figures in Latin music, with his influence reaching beyond the Spanish speaking world to also include African popular music of the 20th century, though when he died he was not widely known by the public for his contributions and influence. He is also recognized (along with Israel "Cachao" López and Dámaso Pérez Prado) as one of the creators of mambo, what Rodríguez himself often referred to as "ritmo diablo". Some of his best-known, and most-often covered recordings from the '50s and early '60s are included here, among them "Dame un cachito pa' huele'," "Dundunbanza," "El reloj de pastora," "Cambia El Paso," and "Hay Fuego En El 23". Never one to stand still creatively, by the early 1960s Arsenio began introducing other experimental modes of expression taken from his new adopted home (jazz, r&b, rock) into his conjunto, incorporating saxophones and "walking" bass, as well as amplifying his guitar and even singing a few tunes himself (in a jocular, gruff tone). True to his racial pride, he often utilized African religious terms, melodies, rhythms and sonorities. Leaving New York and moving to Los Angeles in 1969/1970 to try his luck on the West Coast, Rodríguez unfortunately remained relatively unknown in California, and by most accounts audiences were indifferent to his by now old-style Cuban music, especially with the rise of Latin rock. In the late '60s and early '70s, Johnny Pacheco, the Dominican bandleader and musical director of Fania Records, had been recording versions of the conjunto and son montuno sound that Rodríguez and others like La Sonora Matancera had pioneered decades before, complete with trumpets and tres, and similar arrangements. Arsenio's innovative techniques, arrangements and compositions have had far reaching consequences because not only was the rise of salsa in the late '60s and '70s fueled in part by his Afro-Cuban son conjunto aesthetic, but one could argue that his pioneering influence can still be felt today through the edgy deconstructionist jazz and punk inflected music of Marc Ribot's Cubanos Postizos and Jacob Plasse's thrillingly eclectic ensemble Los Hacheros. The tracks here have been remastered and restored and some are presented on vinyl after many years. 350g cardboard printed on the reverse side.