There's something special about a live session. It's bound to be full of surprises. Exceptional artists may have a bad night, microphones may cause glitches, unheard-of talent may rise up to be noticed, or unexpected partnerships may appear out of nowhere. As explosive as volume 1, this live session retains the loose spirit and comes with solid audio-recording expertise. Past and present members of the Poncho Sanchez band appear alongside veteran all-stars who represent the many faces of Latin jazz. Artists with deep roots in Cuba, Peru and Colombia jam with those who grew up listening to LP and radio jazz. Marking KLON Radio's FM 88.1 ten-year anniversary of José Rizo's Friday night Latin jazz program, volume 1 and volume 2 capture the live performance presented last year at B.B. King's club in Southern California.
An impressive guitar solo from Juan Carlos Quintero stands out. Using an acoustic instrument and bending notes expressively, he brightens up "Jazz on the Latin Side" with creative energy. Susie Hanson and Danilo Lozano bring a charanga combination to "Presentimiento" to represent another pleasant surprise. Emerging from Cuba in the early 20th Century, charanga features flute, violin, piano, bass, percussion, and singers. The rhythm section provides a seductive dance foundation, while the flute and violin add elegance. Here, Lozano thrills with a spicy, high-riding flute feature. Part of the session drives to a salsa dance scene, while much of this jam settles down with a hard-edged jazz groove. Francisco Torres' "What If?," for example, offers hot solo workouts from tenor saxophonist Justo Almario and veteran conguero Francisco Aguabella (on bata for this one). The album's final track summarizes this evening's action, as 20 minutes of jamming heralds solos from Alex Acuña (on caja), Robert Incelli, conguero Poncho Sanchez, Danilo Lozano, Francisco Aguabella (on congas), Al McKibbon, Ramon Flores, Luis Conte (on timbales), Papo Rodriguez and Arturo Velasco. "Mambo Niles" represents a lovely tribute to Chuck Niles for his 45-year tenure as a figurehead of Los Angeles jazz broadcasting. "Descarga Borgers" honors KLON's brother and sister team, Ken and Helen, for their 10-year support of Rizo's exceptional Friday night radio show.
Personnel: Joe Rotundi- piano; Tony Banda, Al McKibbon, Rene Camacho- bass; Cougar Estrada- drums; Ramon Banda- timbales, drums; Alex Acu