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Machito’s big band had a high-powered brass identity. From 1940 until his death in 1984 the bandleader espoused Afro-Cuban jazz around the world by marrying traditional rhythms with inspired jazz soloists. Just over a half-hour in length with each track averaging under three minutes, the session does not allow enough space for soloists to stretch out sufficiently. Furthermore, the sound on this 1957 reissue isn’t clear, and errors in the original liner notes haven’t been corrected. However, several stars of the jazz world appear in featured roles and contribute outstanding performances.
Alto saxophonist Cannonball Adderley and trumpeter Joe Newman are featured on "Congo Mulence," "Oyeme," "Conversation," "Tururato," "Minor Rama" and "Frenzy." Doc Cheatham is featured on "Holiday," a festive cha cha cha that allows his pure trumpet tone to sweep the room confidently. Newman is featured on "Blues à la Machito" with a sweet and brassy open tone that searches out common elements between the Afro-Cuban tradition and jazz. Naturally, stellar performances from Adderley, Candido, Patato Valdes, Jose Mangual, Jimmy Russo and Ray Santos, Jr. lift the session. Unfortunately, all pieces of the production puzzle do not fit as well.
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