A rich lore of Latin jazz remains to be mined, and this collection offers a great lead-in. Cuban music takes off on different tangents, giving it a wide body encompassing a richness of sound, a munificence of rhythm and an abundance of emotion.
The collection here evokes these images. It gets off to a propulsive start with “Just Another Guajira,” embellished in the nicest way by the driving harmonic pulse of pianist Omar Sosa and a bass outing from Carlitos Del Puerto, who finds room to quote “La Bamba.” Bobby Matos whose sense of percussion is one of the cornerstones of Latin jazz, finds a sensuous sway on “Kimbisa,” a song that grabs right off the bat.
When it comes to the drums, perhaps no one has greater stature than Jack Constanzo. “Bemba Colora” is an absolute delight coming off on the vocals of Marilu, the horns singing in vivid tones, the beat sashaying madly and Constanzo spurring the gang on the congas. And there is more to savor, like the rare track from the Har You Percussion Group, which had just one album. “Barrets Bag” brings in unison horn lines, a funky bass and a saxophone that blows long and hard just a tad away from a Latin discourse to indulge in bop finery. This fine primer includes unreleased and rare tracks as well as the more familiar.
Personnel: Cuban Roots; Bobby Matos; Francisco Aguabella; Ray Armando; John Santos; Johnny Blas; Pucho
& Latin Soul Bros.; Papa Vazquez; Har You Percussion Group; Derf Reklaw; Dave Pike; Snowboy;