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Perez Prado - Don Alfio
Vinyl LP
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Perez Prado

Don Alfio

Schema SCEB Series

Released: 17th November 2014 | 12 track electro-funk album

Known as Pantaleon Perez Prado,was the younger brother of the famousKing of

Mambo.Pantaleon, who came to Europe in the 1950s, recorded several albums with

Unifunk.A powerful Big Funk Band sound featuring: Tullio De Piscopo, Mario Rusca,

Paolo Tommelleri, Pino Prestipino and others….vocals Don Alfio

Includes Circle a strong track with a killer groove written by Mario Rusca.

For this second LP, the obscure vocalist Don Alfio had gained enough prestige within the

band to share the top of the bill with the bandleader. That's probably because, in October

1973, the Love Child 45rpm (which has nothing to do with the 1968 Supremes' hit) had

enjoyed a good airplay on Supersonic, a daily Italian public radio show that presented a

lot of freshly released records. The DJs explicitly credited the record to Don Alfio with

Perez Prado. The reviving of Chicago banana from Escandalo!, plus many new tracks

including Circle, Imperfect and the jazzy Chato, gave the record a precise latin-funk

attitude. Bossanova evergreen Bahia (also known as Na baixa do sapateiro) and a synthled

version of Ciliegi Rosa (Cherry pink and Apple Blossom White) are the only two

concessions to Latin standards.

A hispanic-looking thin moustache, two hands drumming hot Latin rhythm on congas,

bongos and tumbas, and a well-known stage name: Perez Prado. Were we in the

presence of the ʻKing of Mamboʼ? The man who got the whole world dancing to hits such

as Mambo n°5 and Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White? Well, as weʼll see, there was

a certain controversy behind this identification.

The King of Mambo's first name was not Perez and his family name was not Prado.

This little known fact would help in explaining this situation. Actually, the great musician

from Cuba, born in 1916, was christened Damaso. Perez-Prado was his double-barreled

surname. Damaso Perez-Prado also had a younger brother named Pantaleón, who was

born in 1928.

Pantaleón Perez-Prado was the owner of the moustache and hands we had been talking

about earlier. Yes, Pantaleón was a musician too, a good percussionist, bass player and

arranger. However, since he grew up in his brother's shadow, he tried to make the best

of it. Pantaleón began travelling around the world to play on stage as Perez Prado.

People were not aware of this name/surname issue, and simply said: Oh, sure, itʼs

Perez Prado, the King of Mambo.

It would have been pointless to accuse him of being an impostor as he would have only

shown his ID and said: Itʼs not my fault, señor, if I have the same surname as

my hermano. This is also the reason Pantaleón gave a French judge in the early sixties,

when he was sued for impersonation. Sources are divergent about the result of the suit,

but the fact remains that it was due to this controversial stage name that he was able to

carry out a career as a musician and bandleader in Europe for two decades. This is

where we meet the most interesting side of Pantaleón Perez Prado.

After wandering around between Germany and Italy, in 1972 our hero settled in Milan.

This happened when Ariola, the German label that had signed the musician, sealed a

distribution deal with the newborn Italian label Unifunk. Pantaleón Perez Prado was

chosen as the star of the roster, so the label surrounded him with a big band that

involved some of the most promising musicians from the Milanese jazz scene. Amongst

them was drummer Tullio De Piscopo (a popstar-to-be), bassist Pino Presti (who was a

session man and arranger for Italian superstar Mina throughout the Seventies) and

pianist/organist Mario Rusca (a Unifunk habitué). The resulting LPs ʻEscandalo!ʼ and

ʻPerez Prado - Don Alfioʼ were released in 1972 and 1973 respectively and are still

considered to be two incredible musical gems. After the sunset of mambo fever,

Pantaleón was able to reveal a funky attitude that comes out in these amazing


Pantaleón died on Saturday December 3rd, 1983, at the age of 57 following a short

illness. The obits that were published in Italian newspapers described the life and career

of the older Perez Prado, Damaso, who was alive and kicking at that time. It took at least

two days before journalists discovered the clash of identities between the two Perez