Lost but not least! Antonio Ocasio – A Celebration Of Life (Tribal Winds)
‘A Celebration Of Life’… A most likely the life of one of the most talented producers of his generation.
Music is nothing but the tool. Differently said, the expression form which South bronx-based producer Antonio Ocasio came to embrace to display his Puerto Rican ancestral roots. Something he most definitely shares with Joe Claussell. With the whole resulting in some of the most introspective compositions one may think of.
Marking his debut back in 1988 on his on Tribal Winds label, ‘A Celebration Of Life’ illustrates the richness of his outstanding musicianship. This while jammin’ with Gino Diaz on congas along with Jessica Valiente‘s Magic flute…
‘A Celebration Of Life’… Pretty much standing like a birth as a matter of fact. But also a renaissance like the awaited return of Spring…
“I am not the one to come check out. I’m not going to play a jam just because everyone else is playing it. On the other hand, I welcome the music lover/dancer who know their music and want to hear all kinds of good, quality sounds and even get educated to some degree…” As many words pretty much describing What Antonio Ocasio is about. And probably also what he’s gone thru. With his older brother eventually introducing him to the music of Santana who would become a major influence.
A native of the South Bronx, Ocasio found there a natural home to get him fully aware of his Perto Rican/Latin and Afro American culture. Itself being for much on his deliberately open minded vision. With thanks to his exposition the old Latin Boleros. But also Latin/Jazz and African rhythms such as Yoruba. This in addition to Soul, Funk, Gospel, Disco and Rap.
Luckily enough a neighborhood DJ by the name of Rookie took him under his wing back in 1972. Teaching him the art of mixing, and eventually allowing him to play with him at times. Meanwhile, although under-age at the time, the mid-70’s got him to get into many clubs of the Big Apple. Then to most likely become a fan of The Loft, The Paradise Garage and The Funhouse.
By January 1998, Antonio Ocasio gave birth to his own label, Tribal Winds, with the aim to only put out the music in his heart. Such as the aptly titled ‘A Celebration Of Life’, his first release. But also the one of a kind ‘Waves’ by the likes of Gabrielle Roth & The Mirrors. Itself featuring the late Boyd Jarvis on keyboards and Joe Claussell on percussion. Meanwhile launching his own parties in the Big Apple stood as a natural step forward. This by the likes of WEPA NYC along with promoter Joann Jimenez. An event speaking of which its protagonists said… “We are cultural and musical preservationists. We bring people together to honor our roots and pay homage to our ancestors through music, drum and dance.
¡WEPA! provides a foundation and shrine to experience the true meaning of tradition, joy and freedom.”
Unsurpsingly, the list of luminaries Antonio has happened to work with is quite impressive. From the late Boyd Jarvis who co-produced ‘Agua De Coco…, Bien Dulce’ among others for the label back in 1999. To ‘Mamoska’ along with Vinnie Colaiuta and Herbie Hancock the year after. Not to mention ‘Eesti’ with Def Räädu four years after to name a few. The Afro-Caribbean fueled ‘Echu Aye’ standing among his definitive masterpieces back in 2004.
And how not to mention the intoxicating ‘The Present’ that saw him sharing the bill with Deep Tenor City back in 2016?!? Then the touching ‘Soulmates’… A blowin’ gem that saw him sharing the bill with Josh Milan by the end of 2018.