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Transplanted New York timbalero Bobby Matos brings his hot New York style salsa to his adopted home state of California on Made By Hand , a live '03 Pasadena concert recording by his Afro Latin Jazz All Stars, a group of fine players who are relatively unknown to listeners here in New York. Matos, who is strongly influenced as an ensemble leader by Mongo Santamaria and Tito Puente, pays homage to both of the somewhat recently departed masters with arrangements of their respective compositions "Afro Blue" and "Philadelphia Mambo" (the latter arrangement a collaboration with Fania All Star pianist Larry Harlow). He also pays tribute to "el maestro" Israel Lopez "Cachao," the inventor of the mambo, with an arrangement of the great bassist-composer's well-known "Descarga Cubano" (a Latin jazz staple from his Cuban Jam Session in Miniature) that includes Matos' original "Poem for Cachao."
The addition of a vocal coro to the very capable Latin jazz ensemble featuring saxophonist/flutists Michael James Turre and Frank Fontane, trombonist Jacques Voyemant, pianist Victor Cegarra, bassist Eliseo Borrero, conguero Robertito Melendez, and percussionist Jud Matos creates a more tipico mood on the remaining tracks, which include classics such as the danzon "Barbara Milagrosa" by Cachao's brother Orestes Lopez Rodriguez; "Lluvia Con Nieve," a guaracha by the great Puerto Rican bandleader Mon Rivera; and "Llegue," another mambo from the Puente repertoire, composed by Francisco Pastor. "Two son montunos," Turre's arrangement of the traditional "El Montuno De Almeja," and Matos' own original "Oye Mi Querida" nicely fill out this thoroughly enjoyable date, which is just as good for listening as it for dancing.
Track Listing: 1. Afro Blue
2. Babara Milagrosa
3. Descarga Cubana
4. El Montuno De Almeja
6. Philadelphia Mambo
7. Oye Mi Querida
8. Lluvia Con Nieve
Personnel: Bobby Matos: timbales, arrangements and vocals; Michael James Turre: flute, alto sax, baritone sax,
arrangements; Frank Fontane: flute, tenor sax,soprano sax, guiro, bell; Jacques Voyemant: trombone;
Victor Cegarra: piano; Eliseo Borrero: bass and vocals; Robertito Melendez: conga drums; Jud Matos:
shekere, guiro, claves, bell; Ismael "Eat" Carlo, Denise "China Eyes" Cook, Rogelio Mitchell: coro
(background vocals); Ismael "Eat" Carlo: lead voice on "Poem for Cachao."