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Friday, January 14, 2022

Dilo (Ugh!) - Perez Prado


Monitor Mambo

Dilo (Ugh!)
Perez Prado and His Orchestra
Produced by Herman Diaz, Jr.
RCA Victor LPM-1883

From the back cover: Perez Prado waves the only vocal baton in music.

The urgent, bellicose grunts that appear like punctuation marks in all Prado performances are no haphazard outbursts. These grunts are Prado conducting his orchestra in his own unique and fantastically effective way.

To the uninitiated ear, the Cuban bandleader seems to be roaring out, "Ugh!" But actually he is saying "Dilo!" – a Spanish word meaning "Say it!" or, in the context in which Prado uses it, "Give out!"

So, with his guttural cry of "Dilo!", he urges the brass section to "Give out!", he coaxes the saxophones to "Say it!" and he exhorts a trumpet soloist to make his horn rise and shine.

But Prado's "Dilo!" is more than a conductor's tool. In Prado's throat, it becomes a part of the number. It provides accents, it produces a shock that bursts a pool of calmness, and it sets the emotional tone that is an extremely important element in the excitement of Prado's music. No other conductor but Toscanini has been as forceful and inseparable a part of the music produced by the men under him as Prado.

Not the least intriguing aspect of Prado's musical war cry is how he manages to make "Dilo!" sound like "Ugh!" The exact technique is his own secret, but it would appear to the analytic ear that he accomplishes the transition by removing the vowels and the consonants from the word before exhaling.

But whether it comes out "Ugh!", "Dilo!" or "Say it!", his men know that it means "Give out!" And because they respond by giving out with all they've got, they produce the exhilarating, pulse-quickening music that is always expected from the ebullient Perez Prado – Watson Wylie

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