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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf

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Agua Dulce




1. Agua Dulce (Cool-Ade)
2. Curacao
3. Somewhere in the Night
4. Gimme Shelter
5. Ran Kan Kan
6. Descarga
7. Invitation
8. Now
9. Morning

Cal Tjader - Vibes, percussion
Luis Gasca, Pat Houston, Frank Snow - Trumpets
Gerry Gilmore, Mel Martin - Flutes, saxes
Bill Perkins - Tenor sax
Al Zulaica - Fender Rhodes
Rita Dowling - Moog Synthesizer
Jim McCabe, Ron McClure, Phil Escovedo - Bass
Richard Berk, Lee Charlton - Drums
Michael Smithe - Congas
Pete Escovedo - Congas, vocals
Coke Escovedo - Timbales, vocals


Although Cal Tjader is best-known for Latin-American music, he was also a jazzman, having started his career playing vibes and percussion with Dave Brubeck and George Shearing. His interest in Latin music dated from the early 1950s and his groups included such famous Latin musicians as Mongo Santamaria, Willie Bobo and (as on this disc) Pete Escovedo.

Agua Dulce was recorded in 1971, and the title-track's easy lilt owes much to Cal Tjader's vibes, which give the music here and throughout an airy feel, contrasted with the down-to-earth Latin percussion. There is some fiery timbales playing on this cut. Other outstanding tracks include the Rolling Stones' Gimme Shelter, which is some distance from the Stones' original rocking number, although it uses the tune's basic three-note pattern as a foundation for some buoyant playing.

Ran Kan Kan is a Tito Puente composition that flows along breezily. Bronislau Kaper's Invitation is a striking tune that has become a jazz standard: it is only marred by the female choir which also gets in the way of some other tracks. Morning is an attractive tune, although that ethereal choir is again an impediment.

Despite its undoubted appeal, this album lasts for only 35 minutes. Indeed, it has previously been reissued on a CD together with the Live at the Funky Quarters LP. But this CD is worth buying if you can get it for mid-price or less.

Tony Augarde

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