204

Poncho Sanchez: Soul Of The Conga

Jim Santella By

Sign in to view read count
Viva La Familia!

Poncho Sanchez’ Latin jazz band is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. And what a way to celebrate. With organist Joey DeFrancesco adding soulful sounds to the band’s vibrant program, this session smokes with deeply rooted traditions. There are the Hammond B-3 organ grooves with powerful horn solos alongside. Then, there’s the lovely two-part vocal harmony Sanchez and Tony Banda express from a simpler, rustic, cultural standpoint. And then there’s Terence Blanchard’s contribution on a timeless ballad. But the biggest surprise comes from the Ortiz Brothers, who sing in the traditional changui style from Oriente, Cuba. Sanchez joins the brothers on congas, as they chant and sing in Spanish with a different kind of soul.

Sanchez has been inviting special guests to work with his band for a long time. Past visitors to the family’s affairs include Freddie Hubbard, Eddie Harris, Tito Puente, Mongo Santamaria, Dianne Reeves and the Jazz Crusaders. For this session, DeFrancesco works for half the album, Blanchard for one ballad, and the Ortiz Brothers for four.

"Haitian Lady" offers one of the most dramatic moments of the program, as DeFrancesco and the band stir up repressed emotions. As always, the three horns in this band’s lineup work together as a tight unit and step forward individually with outstanding solo presentations. Saxophonist Martin soars on alto through three bright numbers, on tenor for three more, and on baritone for a handful more. The combination of baritone saxophone with organ on "Bodacious Q" invites a fun-loving, party atmosphere. Several of the selections sweep gently to a danceable beat. It’s an opportunity for dancing couples to get involved physically with this band’s magic. But when the hot solos erupt, much of the dancing motion stops and the audience crowds around to see it firsthand.

Sanchez sings several of the songs with a natural charm and sincere expression. His powerful conga technique continues to impress. On the closing "Rumba de Po-Tiz," particularly, the leader tears up the place with the kind of percussive tales that he’s been relating for twenty years. Sounds like he’s got the strength to go at least another twenty.


Track Listing: Joseito; Oye Lo; Venga a Bailar Bailadores (Changui); Moon Pie; Haitian Lady; Cosas del Alma; Nengon; Virtue; Days of Wine and Roses; Fania Fungue (Co Co); Stella by Starlight; Bodacious Q; Asi Asi; Rumba de Po-Tiz.

Personnel: Poncho Sanchez- congas, lead vocals, percussion; David Torres- piano; Tony Banda- bass, background vocals; Ramon Banda- timbales; Jose "Papo" Rodriguez- bongos, percussion; Sal Cracchiolo- trumpet, flugelhorn; Scott Martin- alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone; Francisco Torres- trombone.

Guests:Joey DeFrancesco- Hammond B-3 organ; Terence Blanchard- trumpet on "Stella by Starlight."

The Ortiz Brothers:Alfred Ortiz- lead vocals, guiro, percussion; Eddie Ortiz- tres, vocals; George Ortiz- bongos, timbales, percussion, vocals; Johnny Ortiz- maracas, vocals; Julian Ortiz- bass, vocals.

| Record Label: Concord Music Group | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by Mark F. Turner
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Before The Silence CD/LP/Track Review Before The Silence
by John Sharpe
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Process And Reality CD/LP/Track Review Process And Reality
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1 CD/LP/Track Review Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 24, 2017
Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read "Momentum" CD/LP/Track Review Momentum
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: September 22, 2016
Read "Double Septet" CD/LP/Track Review Double Septet
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 10, 2016
Read "When You Wish Upon a Star" CD/LP/Track Review When You Wish Upon a Star
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 3, 2016
Read "Black Shuck" CD/LP/Track Review Black Shuck
by Karl Ackermann
Published: December 19, 2016
Read "Picking Order" CD/LP/Track Review Picking Order
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 17, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

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!

Buy it!