227

Dave Samuels: Tjader-ized: A Cal Tjader Tribute

Douglas Payne By

Sign in to view read count
Following Poncho Sanchez's 1995 tribute, Soul Sauce (Concord Picante), this is the second Latin jazz tribute to the undersung vibraphonist Cal Tjader (1925-82). Tjader began playing drums for George Shearing in the 40s then later for Dave Brubeck. He switched to vibes and began exploring his love of Latin music on a series of successful records for Fantasy. In the early 60s, Verve recorded him with orchestras in rather unusual contexts (bossa nova, eastern jazz and finally pop rock). He recorded pop jazz for his own record company and, by the mid 70s, returned to the Latin jazz he loved so much. His popularity, of course, brought critical disdain and neglect.

But Tjader's substantial influence remains alive in recordings like this. It's no wonder Dave Samuels – currently of the Caribbean Jazz Project and formerly of hitmakers Spyro Gyra and the little known Double Image – would cast himself in a Tjader tribute. Like Tjader, Samuels is an imaginative soloist with a distinctive, appealing sound. He is a restrained player who never rushes a good idea and never loses his listener in a flurry of wasted notes.

Samuels has invited some notable heavies to participate in Tjader-ized too: young lion David Sanchez, flautist Dave Valentine, pianists Eddie Palmieri (a former Tjader partner) and Michael Wolf and guitarist Steve Kahn. The menu includes a few obvious choices ("Soul Sauce," "Triste), some nice surprises ("Tres Palabras" and Clare Fischer's "Bachi," both originally from Tjader's 1978 disc Huracan and Eddie Palmieri's excellent "Resemblance"), and several new pieces, including former Tjader pianist Chick Corea's "Hand Me Down."

But perhaps due to its exclusive reliance on Latin or Latin-ized themes, Tjader-ized is rather uneventful too. Something nags at this listener that a Tjader tribute on Verve should reflect more of the musical diversity Tjader exhibited during his seven years at the label. Latin themes were actually a small part of the work he crafted at Verve between 1961 and 1968. And it seems that Samuels, who is interesting and worthwhile throughout these near-dozen tunes, would be the ideal artist to provide such diversity. Knowing nothing about the politics or business that went into staging this tribute, it's also surprising that a Tjader tribute on Verve does not include the participation of keyboardist Lonnie Hewitt and, especially, Armando Perazza. That is not to say what remains isn't solid contemporary Latin jazz of the first order. It is. And if Tjader-ized inspires others to explore Cal Tjader's music, then it is also a success.

Tracks:Tjader-ized; Bachi; Soul Sauce; Delta Sierra; Viva Cepeda; Triste; Tres Palabras; Resmblance; Yeah; Hand Me Down; Duo Plus Four.Collective

Personnel:

Collective David Sanchez: tenor sax, soprano sax; Dave Valentin, Bob Franceschini: flute; Barry Donelian: flugelhorn; Ozzie Melendez: trmbone; Dave Samuels: vibes, marimba; Eddie Palmieri, Alain Mallet, Michael Wolff: piano; Alain Mallet: Wurlitzer piano, accordian; Joe Santiago, John Benitez: bass; Steve Kahn: electric and acoustic guitar; Bobbie Allende, Marc Quinones, Karl Perazzo: percussion; Ray Baretto: congas; Horacio "El Negro" Hernandez: drums

Title: Tjader-ized: A Cal Tjader Tribute | Year Released: 1998 | Record Label: Verve Music Group

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.

Rediscovery
Album Reviews
Read more articles
Afro Bop Alliance

Afro Bop Alliance

Heads Up International
2008

buy
Mosaic

Mosaic

Concord Picante
2006

buy
Here and Now - Live in Concert

Here and Now - Live...

Concord Picante
2005

buy
The Gathering

The Gathering

Concord Music Group
2002

buy
 

Paraiso

Concord Music Group
2001

buy
 

New Horizons

Concord Music Group
2000

buy

Related Articles

Read Getz At The Gate Album Reviews
Getz At The Gate
By Chris May
June 19, 2019
Read Keep Talkin' Album Reviews
Keep Talkin'
By Dan McClenaghan
June 19, 2019
Read Night Owl Album Reviews
Night Owl
By Dan Bilawsky
June 19, 2019
Read Let's Play Album Reviews
Let's Play
By Don Phipps
June 19, 2019
Read Hidden Corners Album Reviews
Hidden Corners
By Dan McClenaghan
June 18, 2019
Read Special Album Reviews
Special
By Jakob Baekgaard
June 18, 2019
Read Land Of Real Men Album Reviews
Land Of Real Men
By Friedrich Kunzmann
June 18, 2019