23 May 2007
LATIN PERCUSSION JAZZ ENSEMBLE - LIVE AT MONTREUX JAZZ FESTIVAL 1980
The Latin Percussion Jazz Ensemble recorded this for Martin Cohen's Latin Percussion Ventures lable in 1980.In the mid-1970s,THE Latin Percussion manufacturer Martin Cohen asked Tito Puente, and a handful of other Latin percussionists to make some records to help him market congas, timbales, and bongos. The recordings eventually became must-have's for Latin music aficionados and this album has become one of the most treasured.
Latin Percussion had a stall at the Northsea Jazz Festival for many years during the 80s and it was from this that I got most of my LPV albums. Martin Cohen has a couple of websites and they are highly recommended CONGAHEAD and Latin Percussion from which this review is taken:
In 1979, Martin Cohen launched a series of tours that promoted the cause of Latin music. The Montreux Jazz Festival was a highlight in 1980, celebrated on video and on the cover of the jazz magazine, Downbeat.
The the touring band hit the famous Swiss venue, it was hot. It consisted of Tito Puente on timbales, "Patato" Valdez on congas and percussion, Alfredo de la Fe on violin and percussion, Carlos and Michael Viñas on bass and the late, great Jorge Dalto on piano.
Rather than a pandering repertoire of "watered down" Latin for European audiences, the band chose difficult arrangements in a surprisingly contemporary format. "My Favorite Things" is a good example.
Alfredo de la Fe's electric violin recalls the work of Jean Luc Ponty, complete with the echoplex and phase shifter effects so popular at the time. His pensive, solo intro leads into a version as rousing as Coltrane's. Tito Puente prods the song forward with his sparkling ride cymbal work, working off Dalto's piano.
A percussion interlude featuring Patato's earthy sounding congas and Puente's timbales segues to a 6/8 portion; then it's back to common time, a high-speed montuno, and more of de la Fe's violin. You can hear that the players are having a great time! Tito Puente acts as M.C. At one point, while explaining Cuban song form to the audience, Tito claims his colleague Patato has been performing this one for "one hundred and two years!"
Patato opens the last tune with congas playing a melodic line that signals a Tito Puente song made famous worldwide by Santana. Quickly the audience picks up on a familiar refrain - the hit "Oye Como Va". In an unusual touch, Patato's harmony vocals predominate in the stereo mix (perhaps Tito was off-mic), providing the melody with an unusual twist. It is a vibrant closing to this stellar example of small group Latin musicians.
This is ripped from the cd reissue @320 as I cant burn any vinyl at present.