Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

162

Mongo Santamaria: Afro Blue: The Picante Collection

Robert Spencer By

Sign in to view read count
Mon Dieu! Mondo Mongo is a great place! Mongo Santamaria is the man who gave the world "Afro Blue," a song that caught the ears of John Coltrane and many others for its soaring and dignified spirituality — a songmadefor Trane. That the composer himself, meanwhile, is no one-hit wonder is abundantly proven by this Concord Picante collection, aptly titled Afro Blue: The Picante Collection.

There's a hybrid spirit of melancholy and resolution to many of these tracks, a spirit Mongo and Trane seem to share. Here the mood only peeks in occasionally, to give way to a dancer's more proper exuberance. "Un Dia de Playa" and "Mayeya" both contain these small interludes of introspection. The beat doesn't drop, but the spotlight turns inward long enough to establish an attention-grabbing counterpoint to the dance mode.

Mongo is the conga king (on this planet, anyway). The always-superior Bobby Porcelli is here on baritone, along with John Andrews (Johnny Andreu Almendra), timbales and traps; Bob Quaranta, piano; Ray Vega, trumpet and flugelhorn; Mitch Frohman, tenor sax and flute; Bernie Minoso, bass; and Eddie Rodriguez, bongos and percussion. Marty Sheller conducts, and there is a superabundance of guest instrumentalists and vocalists. The musicians themselves form the heart of the coro on many of the tracks, and a splendid time was had by all. I personally liked Ray's brief Milesian turn on "El Campesino," accompanied on the same track by a Coltrane impersonation from Mitch Frohman that starts out like "Freddie Freeloader" but ends up more like "Africa." Among the other soloists, everything Porcelli does is right. Sound is mostly fine, as always with Concord, but I did find Charlie Palmieri's guest piano on "Mayeya" a mite trebly.

It's a beautiful mondo, Mongo. When considering this CD the buyer must once again weigh whether the excellence of these tracks is going to send him back to the original discs in time anyway, so that this one might well be passed up. Newcomers, however, or non-specialists just looking for some great dance music, will find it here.


Title: Afro Blue: The Picante Collection | Year Released: 1997 | Record Label: Concord Music Group


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Baby It's Cold Outside CD/LP/Track Review Baby It's Cold Outside
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 13, 2017
Read Wrong Turns And Dead Ends CD/LP/Track Review Wrong Turns And Dead Ends
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 13, 2017
Read Lavaman CD/LP/Track Review Lavaman
by Mark Corroto
Published: December 13, 2017
Read Paimon: Book of Angels Volume 32 CD/LP/Track Review Paimon: Book of Angels Volume 32
by Don Phipps
Published: December 13, 2017
Read Bad Hombre CD/LP/Track Review Bad Hombre
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 12, 2017
Read Aladdin's Dream CD/LP/Track Review Aladdin's Dream
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 12, 2017
Read "Metal Na Madeira" CD/LP/Track Review Metal Na Madeira
by Jim Trageser
Published: January 6, 2017
Read "Juxtaposition" CD/LP/Track Review Juxtaposition
by David A. Orthmann
Published: March 9, 2017
Read "Planetary Prince" CD/LP/Track Review Planetary Prince
by Christopher Hoard
Published: March 11, 2017
Read "Autumn Tales" CD/LP/Track Review Autumn Tales
by Chris Mosey
Published: June 20, 2017
Read "Snowmelt" CD/LP/Track Review Snowmelt
by Ian Patterson
Published: March 6, 2017
Read "Running After The Sun" CD/LP/Track Review Running After The Sun
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: June 7, 2017

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!