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Various Artists: The Colors of Latin Jazz

Woodrow Wilkins By

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The title of this compilation may be a bit misleading, or at least incomplete. Certainly, the music fits into the Latin jazz category. However, once it starts, The Colors of Latin Jazz '- Soul Cookin' sounds like a smorgasbord of sounds one might expect at an African-American or Hispanic family barbecue. This collection of party music does indeed have the percussive, horn-driven sounds of Latin jazz, but the vocals also season the mix with Southern soul and Delta blues.

The disc starts with one of two tracks by Pucho & His Latin Soul Brothers, a tune aptly named "Hot Barbecue. That's followed by one of four by Mongo Santamaria, "Fatback. This track, perhaps more than any other, sets the mood for this feast of fourteen delicious entrees. Poncho Sanchez also serves up three dishes, including the spicy "Chile Con Soul and the etiquette-deficient "Lip Smacker. One can almost hear the title personified during the trombone solo. Latin jazz master Cal Tjader brews up "Guarachi Guaro (Soul Sauce), a straightforward condiment of sound.

Chico O'Farrill contributes a backyard barbecue rendition of Dizzy Gillespie's classic "Manteca. While many interpretations of this song do credit to Gillespie, this one offers up a vocal tribute as well as a sizzling fajita of a trumpet solo. While jazz tends to offer musicians the opportunity to stretch out on extended solos, O'Farrill pours so many ingredients into this two-and-a-half-minute tribute, the listener doesn't feel teased by its brevity.

Sanchez returns with "Bodacious Q, an organ-flavored track that is at home at a Mississippi Delta blues club as on the menu of a Latin jukebox. After Santamaria's "Corn Bread Guajira, Pucho & His Latin Soul Brothers come back with "Greasy Greens, another delicacy that brings to mind a Southern family gathering. Santamaria's third offering is the straightforward "Tacos. Latin jazz legend Tito Puente's "Picadillo A Lo Puente follows. Sanchez's "Bien Sabroso (Very Tasty) ends his contribution to this set. The song features a soft trumpet lead that brings to mind such frontmen as Hugh Masekela and Herb Alpert. Santamaria's final cut is "Sweet 'Tater Pie, a musical entrée taken straight out of a soul food cookbook. Eddie Palmieri closes the set with "Ay Que Rico (Oh How Good), a party platter of textbook Latin rhythms, tantalizing horn sounds, and a sweet, Dave Valentin-like flute solo for dessert.

Soul Cookin' is comprised entirely of previously released material. Even so, it makes for an appetizing collection that's bound to make you hungry—for the music, if not for food.

Track Listing: Hot Barbecue, Fatback, Chile Con Soul, Manteca, Bodacious Q, Cornbread Gaujira, Greasy Greens, Lip Smacker, Tacos, Picadillo A Lo Puente, Bien Sabraso (Very Tasty), Sweet

Personnel: Pucho & His Latin Soul Brothers, Mongo Santamaria, Poncho Sanchez, Cal Tjader, Chico O

Title: The Colors of Latin Jazz | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Concord Music Group


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