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Quick and to the Point: A terrific live documentation of Puente’s distinctive foray in Jazz.
The group and music in this gig is already documented in two recordings. At first, the live ‘92 Village Gate performance as part of the now defunct “Salsa Meets Jazz” series. At that time, Paquito D’Rivera and Claudio Roditi were in the group instead of Mario Rivera and Charlie Sepúlveda , who became the mainstays through the duration of the existence of this ensemble. That ’92 aggregation, however, can be heard in the production Tito Puente’s Golden Latin Jazz All Stars “Live at the Village Gate” . Afterwards, in ‘94, In Session was issued. That studio CD features the same group that performed at the ’94 Playboy Jazz Festival (PJF), with James Moody as guest in one cut. At the time, their appearance at the festival was part of the group’s tour supporting sales of In Session. Shortly thereafter, as expected in the case of all-star ensembles, Puente and his cohorts ceased to perform together. Last year in Puerto Rico, nevertheless, the Golden Latin Jazz All Stars unsuccessfully tried to resuscitate themselves with Jerry González playing congas and someone else other than the deceased Puente on timbales. It just didn’t work out. Without Puente, this ensemble simply cannot be. In having them issued live at the ’94 PJF, however, Concorde doesn’t hurt anyone at all...
Tito Puente Live at the Playboy Jazz Festival is a seasoned live star meet with Puente delimited, as was customary throughout his entire distinguished career, by evolving parameters given by young and veteran masters alike. Without a doubt, the Golden Latin Jazz All Stars, referred to in the CD’s liner notes, as well as the broadcast itself as the “Golden Latin All Stars,” tightly swung its thing for all to enjoy and see at the 1994 edition of the Playboy Jazz Festival. One sighs in remembrance of Puente’s familiar beats and drive with plenty of punch, entertainment, musical integrity, edge, swing and enjoyment at the time. Certainly, no less can be declared about his companions on this delectable set competently recorded for radio transmission.
Plenty of thrills and prudent frills fill this CD as it charges hard ahead with gruff cosmopolitan edged solos, at various virtuosic levels, worth looking at. The compositions and arrangements are friendly without sacrificing depth and challenge for audience, players and music alike. One can certainly have a great time with this one! What’s more, herein you will find yet another opportunity to listen to one of the last presentations of Mongo Santamaría who not long after retired from performing.