1. Golden Wings
2. Paper Butterflies (Muy Lejos Te Vas)
4. African Bird
5. Corre Nina
6. Pieces: Tombo, La Escuela, Tombo, The Last Goodbye
Hugo Fattoruso - keyboards, vocals, percussion
Jorge Fattoruso - Drums, vocals, percussion
Ringo Thielmann - Bass, vocals
Hermeto Pascoal - Flutes, percussion
David Amaro - Guitars
Airto - Congas, percussion
In the 1920s, Jelly Roll Morton was talking about the importance of the "Spanish tinge" in jazz, yet Latin-American rhythms only appeared spasmodically in jazz until the late 1940s with the arrival of such bands as Machito's Afro-Cubans - and Dizzy Gillespie's hiring Cuban drummer Chano Pozo for his big band. Latin jazz really only became widespread in the sixties and was still a strong influence in the 1970s.
This album was recorded in 1976 under the aegis of percussionist Airto Moreira, who had become a significant force in fusing jazz with Latin Americana. Opa was a trio led by the brothers Hugo and Jorge Fattoruso, who came from Montevideo in Uruguay. The brothers were often used by Airto Moreira in his bands. With the help of various guests, they recorded this session of Latin jazz fusion, using elements of rock music alongside the jazz and Latin elements.
Hugo Fattoruso employs a large range of keyboards, with several percussionists contributing to the complex rhythms, which make the music particularly hot and animated. In the title-track, Hugo's keyboards create the sound of a whole orchestra, while his brother Jorge supplies a solid underpinning of jazz-funk drumming. David Amaro's keening guitar adds an effective solo.
Paper Butterflies is slower and sentimental, with poignant vocals (sadly incomprehensible unless you are multilingual). The effect of the harmony vocals is reminiscent of the Beatles in their gentler moments, and there are attractive decorations from Hermeto Pascoal's flute. Totem is more fiercely rhythmic - close to tough Weather Report mode, especially through Ringo Thielmann's assertive bass guitar.
African Bird lowers the temperature again, with a Sergio Mendes-style chorus and delicately fluttering flute. The vocals in Corre Nina maintain the Mendes touch against a danceably hustling beat. Hugo's meandering keyboards take centre stage in Pieces, which has a touchingly wistful mood. Groove closes the album in jazz-funk territory, with rock-star guitar and swirling flute.
Every track proves Jelly Roll Morton's point about the value of the Spanish tinge. This album has been reissued before: back in 1997 on a CD shared by another Fattoruso LP, Magic Time, so it is rather a pity that those five extra tracks have not been included here, especially as this CD lasts for barely 40 minutes. Nevertheless Golden Wings provides plenty of musical satisfaction on its own.