In a world where name recognition is everything, A.B. Quintanilla has flipped conventional wisdom by tinkering with his group's moniker with certain regularity.
In a world where name recognition is everything, A.B. Quintanilla has flipped conventional wisdom by tinkering with his group's moniker with certain regularity. What began as A.B. Quintanilla III y Los Kumbia Kings evolved into A.B. Quintanilla III Presents Kumbia Kings, and finally A.B. Quintanilla III Presents Kumbia All Starz.
The mutations are not in name only. Possibly no other group in contemporary Latin music has produced as many offshoots as Quintanilla's Kumbia Kings and Kumbia All Starz, with a roster of alumni that includes Frankie J, DJ Kane and K1. Through it all, Quintanilla's fan base has remained stable, a remarkable feat for a bandleader who is not a lead singer. But as arranger/producer/composer/ bassist, Quintanilla is the architect of a particular urban cumbia sound that has managed to transcend years, names and vocalists.
"In the end, I think I can change the name to A.B. Quintanilla and whatever," Quintanilla says on the phone from Argentina, where he is filming three videos for new album "Planeta Kumbia." Due this week on EMI/Televisa, the 15-track set is his sophomore album with his new group, Kumbia All Starz, following his much-publicized breakup with longtime musical partner Cruz Martínez.
"The thing about it is, when people are buying Coca-Cola or Tide, it always has to be new and improved. Stronger-smelling, fresher," Quintanilla says. "But even though the chemicals may change, it's still the same brand. I believe when people hear 'A.B. Quintanilla,' they know they're going to buy a quality cumbia album."