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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, Marc Bridle, John Eyles, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby

Crotchet Midprice




The Best of the Concord Years

Concord CCD2-2228-2

  1. Serengeti
  2. Linda Chicana
  3. Aleluia
  4. Evil Ways
  5. Close Enough for Love
  6. Roger’s Samba
  7. Quietly There
  8. Besame Mucho
  9. Mambo Mindoro
  10. Don’t Look Back
  11. Bye Bye Blues

  1. Speak Low
  2. Will you Still be Mine?
  3. Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing
  4. Cuban Fantasy
  5. Guachi Guara (Soul Sauce)
  6. Naima
  7. Shoshana
  8. The Continental
  9. Santo Domingo
  10. Mindano

Cal Tjader – Vibraphone with collective personnel
Ramon Banda – Timbales & Percussion
Al Bent – Trombone
Bob Fisher – Bass
Garry Foster – Soprano
Roger Glenn – Flute & Percussion
Scott Hamilton – Tenor Saxophone
Mike Heathman – Trombone
Hank Jones – Piano
Vince Lateano – Drums & Percussion
Mark Levine – Piano & Fender Rhodes
Mundell Lowe – Guitar
Carmen McCrae – Vocals
Marshall Orwell – Piano
Poncho Sanchez – Conga & percussion
Dean Reilly – Bass

This two CD album was recorded between 1979 and 1982, the time of Cal Tjader’s untimely death from a heart attack. The album is a composite made from many of the albums he recorded for the Concord label. Unfortunately my review copy did not have a sleeve note so I have found it difficult to unravel who plays on which track, no matter however the music is absolutely stunning!

Cal started his musical career in the big time as the drummer in the Dave Brubeck Band, which is of course a very good place to start! After his stint with Brubeck finished he switched to Vibraphone, played with the George Shearing Quintet for a while before forming a Latin Jazz band which within a very short space of time was in the same league as his former bosses and in great demand everywhere. In his early bands he latched on to the best Latin music talent around hiring the likes of Mongo Santamaria, Tito Puente and Willie Bobo they provided the authentic sounds that made the band such a success.

Cal was never really a threat to Milt Jackson when it came to vibes playing, but as he demonstrates on these two CD’s, he was still a very good player. It was the band that was important to Cal and he was not in the slightest bit concerned that some sideman would steal the show, it was the band that was important to him!

There are some tracks which feature that excellent vocalist Carmen McRae, a far from obvious combination, but one that works very well, she sounds very happy singing with Cal’s Band.

I wish I had seen a live show by the band, the audiences on the live recordings are so enthusiastic and the music so full of energy and excitement, they must have been very special nights.

There is some great flute playing and a lot of fine musical performances here to make this record a very good buy; I recommend it without hesitation.

Don Mather

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