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.

Title: Soul Of The Conga | Year Released: 2000 | Record Label: Concord Picante

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Catching Up With
Live Reviews
Album Reviews
Film Reviews
Album Reviews
Interviews
Album Reviews
Read more articles
Live In Hollywood

Live In Hollywood

Concord Picante
2012

buy
 

Chano Y Dizzy!

Concord Picante
2011

buy
 

Psychedelic Blues

Concord Picante
2009

buy
Raise Your Hand

Raise Your Hand

Concord Picante
2007

buy
Do It!

Do It!

Concord Picante
2006

buy
Do It!

Do It!

Concord Picante
2005

buy

Upcoming Shows

Date Detail Price
Jul19Fri
Poncho Sanchez
Blues Alley
Washington, DC
Jul19Fri
Poncho Sanchez
Blues Alley
Washington, DC
Jul20Sat
Poncho Sanchez
Blues Alley
Washington, DC
Jul20Sat
Poncho Sanchez
Blues Alley
Washington, DC
Jul21Sun
Poncho Sanchez
Blues Alley
Washington, DC
Jul21Sun
Poncho Sanchez
Blues Alley
Washington, DC
Jul25Thu
Poncho Sanchez
Jazz Alley
Seattle, WA

Related Articles

Read New York Trio Album Reviews
New York Trio
By Troy Dostert
July 18, 2019
Read Invincible Nimbus Album Reviews
Invincible Nimbus
By Jerome Wilson
July 18, 2019
Read Syzygy Album Reviews
Syzygy
By Don Phipps
July 18, 2019
Read Visions Album Reviews
Visions
By Friedrich Kunzmann
July 18, 2019
Read Shafted Album Reviews
Shafted
By Edward Blanco
July 17, 2019
Read Live at the Bird’s Eye Jazz Club Album Reviews
Live at the Bird’s Eye Jazz Club
By Don Phipps
July 17, 2019
Read New Year Album Reviews
New Year
By Dan Bilawsky
July 17, 2019