All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

343

Mongo Santamaria: Montreux Heat!

Chris M. Slawecki By

Sign in to view read count
Even if not quite essential, this new release is drawn from the same 1980 Montreux Jazz Festival performance from which Santamaria’s live recording Summertime was previously released (Pablo, 1981) – including all three encores – and so helps to complete a more well-rounded portrait of the legendary Afro-Cuban conguero/bonguero as the 1970s transitioned to the ‘80s. It’s Afro- Cuban jazz from someone who helped forge the mold.

More warm than hot, this is one more fitting coda to Mongo's illuminative and illustrious career. Surrounded by a tight band of longtime associates in Lee Smith (bass), Doug Harris (flute, tenor and soprano saxophones), and Steve Berrios (drums and percussion), plus Milton Hamilton (piano), Allen Hoist (flute, cello, and alto and baritone saxophones), and trumpet player Tommy Villarini, Santamaria almost never puts himself in the solo spotlight. “T.V.” is programmed for the bassist and for the composer and trumpet player whose initials comprise its title, “Sofrito” for pianist Hamilton, and “Pájaro Cantor” for the cellist... but Mongo only puts himself in the spotlight two times, for a few quick bars toward the end of “Pájaro Cantor” and even more briefly in the “Watermelon Man” mid- song break. Still, his bongos and congas rock the music hard and are indispensable to its groove.

The eleven-minute playing time for “Sofrito,” the set’s best performance, is misleading, as it opens with seven minutes of often breathtaking improvised piano, mostly solo but with occasional percussion counterpoint. Villarini breathes fire in his “T.V.” spotlight, in the second encore (“Amanacer”), and in “Sofrito,” scaling incendiary runs with the precision of a scalpel in daring, “dizzy”-ing fashion.

“Watermelon Man” features Dizzy Gillespie on trumpet and Toots Thielemans on harmonica. Though Harris and Thielemans each take two solo turns, Gillespie plays only the melody and horn counterpoint lines and does not solo.


Track Listing: T.V., Havana, Sofrito, Pajaro Cantor, Watermelon Man, Come Candela, Amanecer, Para Ti

Personnel: Mongo Santamaria (congas, bongos); Dizzy Gillespie (trumpet); Toots Thielemans (harmonica); Tommy Villarini (trumpet, percussion, cowbell); Doug Harris (tenor sax, soprano sax, flute); Allen Hoist (alto sax, baritone sax, cello, flute); Milton Hamilton (piano); Lee Smith (bass); Steve Berrios (drums, percussion)

Title: Montreux Heat! | Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: EMI Music

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Oscar Peterson Plays CD/LP/Track Review
Oscar Peterson Plays
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 23, 2018
Read State Of The Baritone Volume 2 CD/LP/Track Review
State Of The Baritone Volume 2
by Mark Corroto
Published: April 23, 2018
Read Listening To Pictures (Pentimento Volume one) CD/LP/Track Review
Listening To Pictures (Pentimento Volume one)
by Chris May
Published: April 23, 2018
Read Friends & Family CD/LP/Track Review
Friends & Family
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 23, 2018
Read Northern Migrations CD/LP/Track Review
Northern Migrations
by Ian Patterson
Published: April 22, 2018
Read Egregore CD/LP/Track Review
Egregore
by John Eyles
Published: April 22, 2018
Read "Contra la indecision" CD/LP/Track Review Contra la indecision
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 10, 2018
Read "I Think I’m Going To Eat Dessert" CD/LP/Track Review I Think I’m Going To Eat Dessert
by Mark Corroto
Published: December 14, 2017
Read "Evolution" CD/LP/Track Review Evolution
by Greg Simmons
Published: April 23, 2017
Read "For Lew" CD/LP/Track Review For Lew
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 18, 2018
Read "Affirmative" CD/LP/Track Review Affirmative
by Jim Olin
Published: September 18, 2017
Read "The Return of Art Pepper" CD/LP/Track Review The Return of Art Pepper
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: August 8, 2017