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This compilation album is drawn from nine sessions recorded over a 14-year period by Bobby Matos and his Afro-Cuban Jazz Ensemble. The emphasis here is on the "Jazz" side of "Latin Jazz." Matos, a percussionist and vocalist, leads the various groups through a wildly eclectic assortment of originals, traditional Latin tunes, pop songs, and modern jazz.
How's this for diversity: an English / Spanish rendition of The Rascal's '60s hit "Groovin," three different takes on Herbie Hancock's funk-jazz classic "Chameleon," and a stripped-down version (just rhythm section and voices) of Pharaoh Sanders' free-jazz epic "The Creator Has a Master Plan." Somehow, Matos - who is joined over the course of the album by some two dozen musicians from the interconnected worlds of jazz and Latin music - makes it all make sense. This is "world music" in the best and truest sense of the term.
As a kid, my mom told me I'd like jazz. I thought she was nuts. Then I went to hear Cannonball Adderley (with Nat Adderley, George Duke, Walter Booker, Roy McCurdy and Airto) and everything changed. Yeah, mom knows best.