The following is an excerpt from the Reaching for the Skye" chapter of Cal Tjader: The Life and Recordings of the Man Who Revolutionized Latin Jazz by S. Duncan Reid (McFarland, 2013). Tjader had reached the East Coast by November and on November 17, he arrived at Van Gelder Studio for a session ("Willow Weep for Me" and Joey Joey") that probably included tenor sax man Jimmy Heath and trumpeter Donald Byrd. Two days later, Heath, Byrd, ...read more
Cal Tjader / Stan GetzSextetOriginal Jazz Classics Remasters2011 (1958) The presence of Latin and Afro-Cuban enthusiast, vibraphonist Cal Tjader, has created a widespread misconception that Sextet was the album which sparked tenor saxophonist Stan Getz's fascination with Brazilian music and, ultimately, bossa nova. The notion has, over the years, been reinforced by the inclusion of pianist Vince Guaraldi's Ginza Samba," whose theme statements were played over a samba beat, and which, ...read more
Cal Tjader began his career as a stalwart member of the West Coast jazz scene, swinging his vibes through breezy versions of standards with the likes of Vince Guaraldi and Stan Getz. Along the way he delved into Latin music and after that it colored almost everything he did. His progression as an artist is explored on this compilation of performances from the Monterey Jazz Festivals, spanning the time period from 1958 to 1980. The first five ...read more
Here are three sets of music by musicians associated under the expansive banner of Latin jazz. Stan Getz is usually credited with starting the fusion of Brazilian music, especially bossa nova. However, classically trained guitarist Charlie Byrd (and his sideman, perhaps most importantly the drummer Buddy Deppenschmidt) was among the first to go on a South American U.S. State Department tour, about a year before they put out their collaborative Jazz Samba. Vibraphonist Cal Tjader is arguably only known for ...read more
Norman Granz's inspired pairing of Anita O'Day with Cal Tjader pays big dividends on 1962's Time for 2. The singer's megawatt personality perfectly complements the vibraphonist's tweedy, polite style. If Tjader's highly pureed blend of cool bop and Latin jazz impeded O'Day, it does not show. Her saucy phrasings and subtly ironic wit gently layer over his thoughtful vibes work.
The Latin isn't overdone here; Time for 2 is only lightly seasoned with congas and mambo rhythms, perhaps Tjader's nod ...read more
From 1979 to his death in 1982, Cal Tjader recorded six albums for Concord. The record label created a new imprint, Concord Picante, for his Latin recordings. Concord has now released The Best Of The Concord Years, which is made up of two 55 minute CDs, comprising more than a third of Tjader's output for the label. Tjader never recorded a bad album, so a collection taken from six is going to be good.
For these recordings, Tjader went to ...read more
The Best of the Concord Years celebrates the acclaimed composer, bandleader and vibraphonist Cal Tjader’s last four years, 1979 through 1982. Tjader combined Latin, be bop and cool West Coast themes into an inspiring and influential blend of some of the best modern recordings of jazz. This double disc package opens with two Mark Levine penned tunes, “Serengeti” and “Linda Chicana.” Both of these recordings set a tone that the remaining recordings easily follow: simply nothing short ...read more
Vibraphonist/percussionist/bandleader Cal Tjader said it right when he claimed “I am not an innovator. I am not a pathfinder. I am a participator.” While he never pushed the envelope of Afro-Cuban music, he did go a long way in popularizing it. With albums like La Onda Va Bien winning a Grammy award, the humble Tjader managed to bring a wider audience to the music, much the same way Dizzy Gillespie did. The Best of the Concord Years brings together two ...read more