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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, Marc Bridle, John Eyles, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke


Recorded in New York and Hollywood between 1954 & 1960.

BMG 74321-93948-2



1. Night Hawk - Tito Puente & His Orchestra
2. Algo Sabroso ( Something Tasty ) - Eddie Cano & His Sextet
3. Lullaby Of Birdland - Perez Prado & His Orchestra
4. Yesterdays - Eddie Cano & His Sextet
5. Un Poco Loco - The Big Band Of Shorty Rogers
6. The Late, Late Scene - Tito Puente & His Orchestra
7. Night In Tunisia - Eddie Cano & His Sextet
8. Manteca - The Big Band Of Shorty Rogers
9. Deep In A Drum - Eddie Cano & His Sextet
10. Ican - Tony Martinez & His Sextet
11. Ecstasy - Eddie Cano & His Sextet
12. Leo's Special - Perez Prado & His Orchestra

Latin music seems to have gone through phases when it has been highly popular. Today there is something of a boom in the appreciation of this style - hence, I would imagine, the reason for this reissue. This is a type of music which is very much a matter of taste and I would recommend this disc to the Latin or Big Band follower rather than to the real Jazz enthusiast. As a style it seems to have drawn many of the so called East Coast musicians who made their living at this time in the studios and on the fringes of serious Jazz.

There are some obvious exceptions to this concept here with the presence of Tito Puente and Perez Prado who both led genuine Afro- Cuban bands around this time, but even their groups have many of the aforementioned musicians as soloists. The overall effect is somewhat lightweight with rather glib improvisations often moving from real Latin rhythms to a swing style. The redeeming feature on many of these tracks comes from the authentic use of percussion.

The arrangements are rather heavy in many cases and unfortunately the balance often slips from the even Cuban feel to a rather Teutonic delivery. This is particularly noticeable on some of the Puente selections and on the Shorty Rogers version of "Manteca". There is no comparison here to the wonderful brooding versions of this number with which Dizzy Gillespie delighted listeners down through the years.

On a more positive note the Eddie Cano tracks which feature Larry Bunker on vibes are most enjoyable and as five of the twelve numbers are by this group it is quite a bonus. Perhaps it would have been better to issue another CD concentrating on smaller Latin bands as this is an altogether lighter sound.

The larger aggregations all seem to interpret the orchestrations with a high degree of accuracy and it is good to hear such an instrument as the piccolo used to great effect on the Shorty Rogers ensembles. I would imagine many of these selections would be popular with dancers but I feel the Latin Jazz enthusiast would do better to search out more recent artists such as Jerry Gonzalez or Hilton Ruiz.

Dick Stafford


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