Los Calvos came to life in Caracas in 1967, the product of musician Ray Perez’s restless mind. It was a band that sounded different to everything that had gone before, and everything that would come after. They were the encapsulation of what Perez, who was nicknamed “El Loco”, had already achieved in his music career: the rock, salsa, jazz and Latin rhythms that he played in groups like Trío Hambay, Los Singers, Los 5 de Romero and the legendary Los Dementes.
To create the band’s line-up Perez turned to heavyweight names in Venezuelan music at the time, recruiting Frank “Pavo” Hernandez on drums – who curiously thought it was crazy to introduce a drum kit to salsa; Pedro Garcia on percussion; Miguel Angel Silva on bass; Rafael Araujo on trombone; and Lewis and Josue on trumpets; all supporting dual vocalists Carlos “Carlín” Asicio Rodríguez and Carlos Yanes “Calaven”, the latter an
innovative and charismatic singer who added a touch of jazz to salsa, scatting like one of the greats.
They only ever released two albums, a debut in 1967, followed by a second in 1968 that offered the same power and quality as its predecessor, with one review defining them as “dazzling and avant-garde”. Unfortunately, the ever-busy Perez, who was always working and travelling with groups like Los Dementes and his newly-formed Las Kenya ensemble, decided to abandon the project shortly after that second album came out, devoting his energies elsewhere. Curiously, the group never performed live, yet these days, Perez considers these recordings the most enjoyable that he experienced in his whole career.
Take a listen and you’ll understand why.