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A.B. Quintanilla’s All Starz Hypnotize with “Hipnótika”

A.B. Quintanilla’s All Starz is no understatement because an all-star ensemble participated in “La Vida De Un Genio,” his latest musical production.

His own All Starz are vocalists Jason “DJ Kane” Cano and Lee “JR” Gómez, Chris Pérez, guitar; Gilbert “Gipper El Animal” Nieto, accordion; Robert “Bobbo” Gómez, keyboards; Nick Banda, keyboards; Liz, congas; and Joey Jiménez, drums.

However the list of Class-A international all-stars which recorded on different tunes in his most recent compact disc are José Feliciano, Jon Secada, Gilbert Santa Rosa, Marciano Cantero of Enanitos Verdes, Shaila Dúrcal, Julio Ramos, artistically known as Voltio, Jorge Celedón, Alex Lora of El Tri, Albita, Luis Enrique, Reyli Barba plus other surprise artists.

This coup d’état was made possible by Luigi Gilrado, the groups musical arranger. Last but not least are the remaining Dinos, Suzette Michelle Quintanilla, Pete Astudillo, Ricky Vela and Joe Ojeda, who are recording and performing together for the first time since 1995.

The All Starz arrived in San Antonio straight from Chiapas, Mexico and before that they had put on shows in Bogota, Boliva and Medallin, Colombia. But jet-lagged as they must have felt during their sound check at Sea World, they were energetic and in great spirits.

Backstage, AB, who wrote the entire contents in this compact disc, said, “I dedicated this CD (“The Life of a Genius”) to my dad because my father is a genius and at the beginning, we sometimes experienced hunger, but he pulled us through this and many other obstacles by pushing us to the limit. And I’m glad Ricky (Vela) was able to pull everyone together for this project.”

When they appeared on the Cristina Show on Monday, May 10th, Cristina looked over at his father and said, “Abraham, it’s hard to see if you are happy or proud because you always have the same stern face.” But off camera, around family and close friends, Abraham smiles, laughs and his face glows with love and pride for his kids and grandchildren.

AB’s pride in his family and his love for his late sister, Selena is overt because it is tattooed all over his body. His right forearm alone bears a beautiful tattoo of Selena surrounded by roses and the song title, “Cómo La Flor.” The latter actually preceded the image and roses. On his wrist is “Marcella,” his mother’s name. Skipping the thumb, four fingers bear his birth year on his right hand and the word “Loco” on his left hand. And that’s just the beginning. Enough said this article is on the CD and not the tattoos.

From the opening notes, “Hipnótika” mesmerizes the listener with a James Bond theme-like intro followed by a creative mix of vocals by DJ Kane and Marciano plus Voltio’s rap. During live performances, AB and JR fill in for the two guest artists.

The same applies to “Naci Para Sufrir,” a haunting international ballad with a taste of mariachi featuring Feliciano and Astudillo. Again, JR fills for Feliciano at each gig.

While the Capitol Latin CD is being described in concept as like Santana’s “Supernatural” album because of the number of guest artists, A.B. told Billboard’s Ayala Ben-Yehuda, “It’s cumbia villera but on steroids.” By this he was referring to a mid tempo, synth-heavy street style with a nearly reggae beat.

“I was able to take what they’re doing with scratchy, raw loops and put electrónica on top of it and layer that with tropical brass and the A.B. Quintanilla flavor. And just went to town on the singers alone . . . it’s eclectic, weird, down to Jorge Celedón singing with El Tri on ‘Dia de Los Muertos’ with the harmonica playing on a cumbia — it’s the weirdest, coolest thing you’ll ever hear.”

The album is scheduled to go on sale, here and in Mexico, on Tuesday, May 18th. However, fans were privy to hearing a preview of some tunes during the All Starz’ Sea World concert. Then AB stayed at the Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort in the Alamo City until Monday in order to do an exclusive early morning interview with Jonny Ramírez at KXTN, Tejano 107. That same night everyone appeared on the Cristina Show.

Following the initial release, Capitol Latin is considering an August release in Colombia, Argentina, Chile, Spain and even Japan. Meanwhile the record label will have AB on an extensive grueling promotional tour of radio stations, television programs, meet-and-greets plus even doing acoustic sets at Wal Marts all over the United States.

As for this writer, I thank Abraham for inviting me and Jesse García of Los Agues to accompany him to Sea World and afterwards giving me a flashback to the past when after the show, we pulled into a Whataburger parking lot and he gave me an audio sneak preview into his latest musical discoveries – Elissa and Olinda Cordova — more on these two talented young songbirds in a future article.

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