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

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Live From Stern Grove

Concord Picante
CPI 34111-02



1. Picadillo Jam
2. Take Some Time
3. Brasileiro
4. Dance
5. True or False
6. Solo Tu
7. Fly Me to the Moon
8. Suenos de los Toreros

Pete Escovedo - Timbales, vocals
Juan Escovedo - Congas, percussion, vocals
Peter Michael Escovedo - Drums, vocals
Joe Rotondi - Piano
Marc VanWageningen - Bass
Michael Angel Alvarado - Guitar
Mario Gonzales, Louis Fasman - Trumpets
Kerry Loeschen, Joel Behrman - Trombones
Melecio Magdaluyo - Sax, flute
Ray Obiedo - Guitar (track 3)
Sheila E. - Congas, vocals (tracks 4, 6)
Dave Koz - Sax (track 5)
Arturo Sandoval - Trumpet (track 8)


Pete Escovedo is in his late seventies but you might never guess it from the dynamism of this album, recorded at the 75th Stern Grove Festival in San Francisco. Perhaps it's his adherence to fasmily values that has kept Pete young, as his earliest band was with his brothers Coke and Phil - and this CD includes Pete's sons Juan and Peter Michael as well as his daughter, Sheila E, who is featured on Solo Tu.

Whatever the reason, this album conveys the full excitement of a live Latin jazz gig. The CD starts with Tito Puente's Picadillo Jam, which immediately displays the band's strong Latin percussion and the precision of all the musicians. There are powerful solos from saxist Melecio Magdaluyo and one of the trumpeters, and the rhythm is sufficient to make you start dancing. The group's handling of dynamics is evident when pianist Joe Rotondi starts a solo and the volume decreases to let him be heard.

The trombonists are also fine soloists, as can be heard in Take Some Time. Guest Ray Obiedo is featured on guitar in his own composition, Brasileiro. The band's guitarist, Michael Angel Alvarado, is equally notable on True or False, where saxist Dave Koz plays a very effective solo, backed only by minimal percussion.

Fly Me to the Moon makes a break from the Latin percussion as Pete Escovedo sings the song rather shakily with a swinging four-four beat. Finally Arturo Sandoval arrives to add his stratospheric trumpet to Suenos de los Toreros. Incidentally, Pete Escovedo's hobby is painting, and he painted the picture on the front cover.

Tony Augarde

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