MONGO SANTAMARIA - MR. WATERMELON MAN - LA BAMBA
Mongo Santamaria at the height of his Latin Soul years – working on a cool Columbia session titled after an earlier hit, but served up with his new lean sound of the late 60s! The album's got that perfect Santamaria combo from the time – a group that features trumpet and these wonderfully sharp arrangements from the great Marty Sheller – plus very smoking reed work from a young Hubert Laws, wailing away on flute and tenor, and Bobby Capers on alto and baritone – both players who mix jazz and soul instrumental modes, to bring a hell of a lot of feeling to the overall sound of the band – in ways that really get past more familiar use of trumpet or trombone in other Latin combos. The band grooves nicely on original material like "Streak O Lean", "Ricky Tick", "Do It To It", "Fatback", "Coconut Milk", and "Jose Outside" – and they also reprise Mongo's big hit "Watermelon Man" ~ Dusty Groove
TONY BENNETT / COUNT BASIE AND HIS ORCHESTRA - IN PERSON!
The story with this 1959 release is that the original live recording proved unusable, so a substitute studio session was scheduled with applause etc. tacked on afterwards. The session is certainly up to the high standards of both prime Tony Bennett and Basie's "New Testament" band, if slightly constrained by the artificial set-up. Still, as always, Bennett gives his all, especially on the impassioned near-gospel renditions of "Without A Song" and Kurt Weill's "Lost In the Stars." /Count Basie & His Orchestra. Recorded at CBS 30th Street Studios, New York, New York on December 22 & 30, 1958. Originally released on CBS (8104). Includes liner notes by Didier C. Deutsch. Personnel: Tony Bennett (vocals); Count Basie (conductor); Frank Wess (flute, saxophone); Charlie Fowlkes, Frank Foster, Billy Mitchell, Marshall Royal (saxophone); Wendell Culley, Joe Newman, Thad Jones, Snooky Young (trumpet); Al Grey, Henry Coker, Benny Powell (trombone); Ralph Sharon (piano); Fred Green (guitar); Eddie Jones (bass); Sonny Payne (drums); Candido Camero (bongos). Q (3/95, p.112) - 4 Stars - Excellent - "...No Bennett fan should be without this." Q (3/95, p.112) - 4 Stars - Excellent - "...No Bennett fan should be without this." ~ cduniverse
SADAO WATANABE - SWISS AIR
A hard-burning live set from the great Sadao Watanabe – still very much in his bolder, more spiritual style of the early 70s – despite a more fusion-styled look on the cover! The tracks are long, and Watanabe's work on reeds is really brilliant – informed and opened up by the work of Coltrane, yet voiced in that offbeat tone he brought to his music from his earliest days on record. The group's got a hell of a lot of power, too – with piano from Takehiro Honda, bass from Osamu Kawakami, and drums from Shinji Mori – three players who really propel the record with a soulful, modal vibe. Titles include "Masai Steppe", "Way", "Tanaznia E", and "Pagamoyo". ~ Dusty Groove