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Label Watch: Cubop

Jody and Mike McFadin

When I spoke to Michael McFadin who, with his wife, Jody, is founder of the Ubiquity, Luv ‘n Haight, and Cubop labels, he had just finished a recording session with Pucho and his Latin Soul Brothers for Cubop. This marked the first time that Pucho, who spends most of his time in New York City, had been to the West Coast, tangible evidence that Latin jazz artists are willing to go the distance for the San Francisco-based label. The recording also marked the first time the label is issuing new material by Pucho, whose classic ’70s releases, Yaina and Superfreak, are part of Cubop’s reissue catalog.

The McFadins’ interest in owning a label began with underground parties hosted by Jody, which in turn led to owning a record store and, eventually, in 1990, with only $1,000 and no bank loan of any kind, the founding of the Ubiquity label for the purpose of recording new music. Luv ‘n Haight is a reissue label focusing on funk, jazz, and soul grooves of the ’70s, and Cubop was started in 1995 for Latin jazz releases. The current Cubop catalog includes the Pucho material, releases by West Coast percussionists Bobby Matos and Johnny Blas, several Latin jazz dance compilations, the recently issued At the Point, V. 1 by New York trombonist Papo Vazquez, and the just released Agua de Cuba by renowned Cuban percussionist Francisco Aguabella. Other slated titles include two Aguabella reissues, Hitting Hard and H2O and a remake of the 1968 Cuban Roots, to be renamed Cuban Roots Revisited and featuring Aguabella, John Santos, Mark Weinstein, and Omar Sosa. Cubop expects to release about ten titles this year.

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