11 Songs, 55 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Latin Jazz has been around for more than half a century and the undisputed capital of the genre is New York, but one of the style’s key figures, conguero and bandleader Poncho Sanchez, is based in Los Angeles. Early in his career, the Mexican-American percussionist played in vibraphonist Cal Tjader’s group, but he's been recording as a leader since 1982 and 2009’s Psychedelic Blues is a keeper. It’s a no-nonsense affair that simmers throughout, featuring sharp arrangements and fine solos. (Guitarist Andrew Synowiec is especially good.) The tribute, “Willie Bobo Medley,” is comprised of three songs by or associated with the late percussionist: “I Don’t Know,” “Fried Neck Bones and Some Home Fries,” and “Spanish Grease.” Psychedelic Blues includes several other covers, including versions of Herbie Hancock’s “Cantaloupe Island,” Freddie Hubbard’s “Crisis,” John Coltrane’s “Grand Central,” and Horace Silver’s “Silver’s Serenade.” The album closes with René Touzet’s “Con Sabor Latino,” a fitting wrap-up for this nice slice of West Coast Latin jazz: the Cuban native Touzet led a popular group in L.A. in the ‘50s and ‘60s.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Latin Jazz has been around for more than half a century and the undisputed capital of the genre is New York, but one of the style’s key figures, conguero and bandleader Poncho Sanchez, is based in Los Angeles. Early in his career, the Mexican-American percussionist played in vibraphonist Cal Tjader’s group, but he's been recording as a leader since 1982 and 2009’s Psychedelic Blues is a keeper. It’s a no-nonsense affair that simmers throughout, featuring sharp arrangements and fine solos. (Guitarist Andrew Synowiec is especially good.) The tribute, “Willie Bobo Medley,” is comprised of three songs by or associated with the late percussionist: “I Don’t Know,” “Fried Neck Bones and Some Home Fries,” and “Spanish Grease.” Psychedelic Blues includes several other covers, including versions of Herbie Hancock’s “Cantaloupe Island,” Freddie Hubbard’s “Crisis,” John Coltrane’s “Grand Central,” and Horace Silver’s “Silver’s Serenade.” The album closes with René Touzet’s “Con Sabor Latino,” a fitting wrap-up for this nice slice of West Coast Latin jazz: the Cuban native Touzet led a popular group in L.A. in the ‘50s and ‘60s.

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