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World Music CD Reviews Jazz

THE COLORS OF LATIN JAZZ: CHA CHA SOUL!

By Michael Stone

Concord

The legendary greats who wrote West Coast Latin jazz history all seem to have played with one another, and the Concord vaults tell all. Poncho Sanchez gives Eddie Harris' "Listen Here/Cold Duck Time" a blistering Latin funk workout, and he takes "One Mint Julep" due south, graced with an exquisite vocal cameo by the late Ray Charles. Sanchez also weaves his conga magic with Chick Corea's keyboards, Dave Samuels' mellow vibraphone and a host of Latin jazz all-stars on the Gillespie-Chano Pozo classic "Guachi Guaro." Vibes innovator Cal Tjader teams with Carmen McRae on an intriguing "Evil Ways," best known as a Santana hit. Timbales king Tito Puente returns the favor on a live "Oye Como Va" and a suave rendition of "Guajira Soul," both originals. On "Day Tripper," Mongo Santamaria reveals his genius for transforming pop tunes in startling ways. No Concord compilation would be complete without irresistible danceable scorchers by Caribbean Jazz Project (Herbie Hancock'Js "Tell Me A Bedtime Story"), Ray Barretto ("Guaji-Rita"), Eddie Palmieri ("Ay Que Rico II") and Pete Escovedo ("La Cuna"), making this funky jazz bagatelle a soulful Latin tour-de-force.