Compared to What? Latin Soul feature’s the formidable percussionist and bandleader Poncho Sanchez

As jazz enthusiasts, we are generally overly critical of this beloved music, especially to who plays it, or anyone who doesn’t partake (listen) to it. Without question, classic jazz and its kindred spirited brethren encompass a unique montage of original recordings from a period in time that is simply unmatched by a host of exceptional artists. It’s not productive, unnecessary, unfair, and a waste of time to “compare” any of today’s artists to what’s previously been created, played, and recorded.

In the past two decades, conguero Poncho Sanchez has emerged as the West Coast’s foremost Latin-jazz bandleader. Latin Soul–his 19th release for the Concord Picante label–is a cooking set recorded live at the Conga Room in Los Angeles and Yoshi’s in Oakland. This is no loose-blowing session, but a showcase for Sanchez’s road-tight nonet featuring the Banda brothers Ramon and Tony on bass and timbales, plus a powerful four-piece horn section. Sanchez’s conga solos are seldom flashy, just rock solid.

He pays homage to the inspiration of Mongo Santamaria on “Watermelon Man” and “Besame Mama” and recalls the golden age of mambo with Tito Rodriguez‘s Mama Guela.” He sings an invitation to dance on “Ven Pa Bailar” and turns the horns loose on Eddie Cano’s boppish “Ican.” The soul side of the equation is represented by a funky medley of Eddie Harris‘s “Listen Here” and “Cold Duck Time.” ~Rick Mitchell | Amazon

At your leisure, be sure and spin the intoxicating “LATIN SOUL” by Poncho Sanchez 

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