Manteca is just one of the baddest bands out there, and certainly a talent deserving wider recognition. Their instrumentation is much like that of the Cuban band Irakere (two trumpets, two saxophones, keyboards, bass, drums, two percussionists, but no guitar), but Latin is only one of the genres that the Mantecians blend into their own unique sound.
This CD is a set of live recordings made at various times and in various countries between 1990 and 1992. Only two tunes are presented here for the first time, but the others differ enough from their original studio versions that their representation in this live format is most welcome. The masterful soloists sizzle, the drums and percussion function as one, and the compositions are creative and unique, but still highly listenable. The only flaw with this album is that saxophonist Phil Dwyer's solos venture too far outside the chord changes and are often reduced to just honking and squawking as a means to generate excitement. But that's just a quibble; this is an excellent, exciting album from a richly talented band.
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