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Dimension Latina


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Dimensión Latina was Venezuela’s premier band at the height of salsa’s popularity in the country during the 70s.
Originally formed in the early 70s, a band bearing their name continued to exist into the 90s. They began as a sextet, initially called Oscar Y Sus Estrellas, performing in a bar named La Distinción in Venezuela’s capital, Caracas. After a couple of changes of pianist and a joint album with Clan De Victor, the personnel that appeared on their 1973 debut ¡Triunfadores! comprised: composer/arrangers Oscar D’León (b. Oscar Emilio León Samoza, 11 July 1943, Antímano, Caracas, Venezuela; lead vocals/bass) and César Monje aka César Monge (trombone/vocals), José Antonio ‘Rojitas’ Rojas (trombone/vocals), Jesús ‘Chuíto’ Narváez (piano), Elio Pacheco (congas), and José ‘Joseíto’ Rodríguez (timbales). On their second release, En La Dimensión Latina, they were joined by co-lead singer Wladimir Lozano (b. 2 March 1950, Venezuela), who specialized in boleros. A third trombone, played by Carlos Guerra Jnr., was added on Dimensión Latina ’76/Salsa Brava.
D’León left in 1976 to front his own band, Salsa Mayor, and Monje took on the mantle of musical director. The bass playing slot was filled by Gustavo Carmona. Veteran singer Argenis Carruyo was brought in as co-lead vocalist just for Dimensión Latina 77/Internaciónal. Shortly afterwards, the band pulled off a considerable coup when they managed to lure Andy Montañez (b. Puerto Rico) away from El Gran Combo with a better contract. For the previous 15 years, Montañez had been one of Latin music’s most popular singers. He made his recording debut with Dimensión Latina on Los Generales De La Salsa. Sharing lead vocals with Montañez and Lozano on this album was Rodrigo Mendoza (ex-Los Satélites), who possessed a powerful voice with a high-pitched timbre. The same trio of lead singers appeared on 780 Kilos De Salsa.
Lozano departed in 1978, teaming up with D’León to record the double album Oscar D’León Y Su Salsa Mayor Con Wladimir, then recording with his own short-lived band, La Constelación. Conga player Elio Pacheco left to form the charanga band La Magnifica, and later directed La Mafia Latina. He was replaced by Carlos Jesús ‘Pacuso’ Guillen. Luis ‘Perico’ Ortiz arranged and directed three tracks, including his own composition ‘Cantante Errante’, on ... Tremenda Dimensión! (1978). In 1979, pianist Jesús ‘Chuíto’ Narváez and Mendoza left to form the band La Amistad. Argenis Carruyo returned to replace Mendoza and Samuel Del Real took over on piano.
In November 1980, Oscar D’León reunited with Dimensión Latina for Dos Colosos En Concierto, recorded in concert at the Poliedro Stadium in Caracas. Montañez went solo in 1980, while Del Real formed his own band and recorded two albums in Venezuela before relocating to the USA. Narváez, Pacheco and Lozano re-grouped for Dimensión Latina’s Producto De Exportación in 1984. César Monje went on to work as a freelance arranger, musical director, session musician and producer, collaborating with his old band from time to time. The only 70s members in the early 90s version of Dimensión Latina were Mendoza, Lozano and timbales player Joseíto Rodríguez, who had assumed the role of musical director. Rodríguez, Monjes, Pacheco and Narváez and Rodrigo Mendoza reunited in 2002 under the name Los Generales De La Salsa.


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