Poncho Sanchez

Latin Soul

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Recorded live at two leading California nightspots, ~Yoshi's in Oakland and the Latin-specializing ~Conga Room in Los Angeles (the actual sound in ~the Conga Room is never as good as that on this CD), Concord no doubt hoped for an exceptionally hot live session from this tireless defender of the Latin jazz tradition. What they got was merely a decent album, listenable, danceable, yet lacking that extra flash of Latin fire. Sanchez leads his usual eight-piece ensemble -- augmented at ~Yoshi's by Mike Whitman on baritone sax -- and feeds the percussive polyrhythmic battles with his congas (as well as a turn on the timbales on "Guaripumpe"). On the "Latin soul" agenda, there is a dead-on faithful rendition of "Watermelon Man," with a few histrionic things at the close, and a reprise of Eddie Harris' "Cold Duck Time," which soon turns into "Listen Here" and "Everything I Play Gonh Be Funky." There are also some spirited passings of the bop baton from trumpeter Sal Cracchiolo to trombonist Francisco Torres to tenor saxophonist Scott Martin and back again on "Ican." It's OK, but not Sanchez' best. ~ Richard S. Ginell, Rovi

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