20 March 2008
SABU'S SATELLITES - IN ORBIT
Sabu Martinez for SMC (Spanish Music Centre) from 1960.
Sabu Martinez: conga
Irez: piano, organ
Del Valle: bass
Here is a very brief synopsis about this LP from hipwax.
As is often the case with great artists, Sabu's finest hour was something of an accident. Returning from California in 1960, Sabu was offered a chance to record with Al Santiago of Alegre Records. But first Sabu needed a band, and a chance meeting with Louie Ramirez led to the famed Jazz Espagnole session.
Sabu's Jazz Espagnole was and is a masterpiece of modern Latin jazz. Most of the credit is due to ensemble founders Marty Sheller and Louie Ramirez, however. As Lasse Mattsson puts it in the liner notes to Groovin' with Sabu, Sabu usually creates an avalanche of sound. Had he truly initiated the work (instead of joining the band in-progress), he might have created a sound more like his previous Afro-Latin, Afro-Cuban bop, and exotic jazz records.
Fortunately, the record was a success, although success seems to have caught up with Sabu. The band dissolved after only a few months of missed dates and unreliability. But this was not the same band that had played on the Alegre recording. Sabu had had the unenviable task of finding new players, teaching them the repertoire (which he may have failed to do), and coping with new success in New York's Spanish Harlem (El Barrio) -- which was as much a mecca for Latin music as Harlem was for jazz.
The In Orbit and Astronautas de la Pachanga sessions were recorded November 15, 1960 in the wake of Jazz Espagnole. (Gabriel Oller and his recording studio, New York's Spanish Music Center, merit another chapter in the history of Latin jazz.) The musicians this time were either unknowns or listed under pseudonyms, although there is suspicion that the vibes player was Louie Ramirez. In any case, we are lucky to have two more works by the master. And once again, they sound like almost nothing else-Hipwax
And here's a nice review from Thom Jurek(although I'm not sure what he had been taking to get the penultimate sentence together but I'd like some before I write my reviews !):
After his Astronautas de la Pachangas band, Sabu utilized the same anonymous group of musicians, minus his more mysterious vibes player, and concentrated on a more Latin sounding jazz ensemble driven more by the Hammond B# and the piano. Using a three-piece percussion section, a double bass, two pianos, and an organ, the band cut four tunes. Three of them burn as salsa originals and move along the high wire of the lounge jazz/exotica phenomenon. "Libido Blues," however," holds to the same Latin and pop jazz pairing that was making such a mark in that magical 1960 year for Tim Jobim. In fact, there are traces of "Girl From Impanema"'s melody in the harmonic bridges in the tune. Here, too, while the arrangements of these four tracks don't quite get to the genius that Louie Ramirez's did for Jazz Espagnole, recorded earlier that year, they do get to the heart of the great cipher of Latin jazz, where rhythm and harmonic conception, as well as melodic architecture, build a road to another world, full of darkness and light, passion and pathos. A wonderful recording. ~ Thom Jurek, All Music Guide
This was reissued in 1997 as part of a double lp package by Lazarus Audio Products which also includes the Astronautas De La Pachanga sessions.The vinyl is now long out of print and one went on ebay for over $80 last week.I snapped mine up in New York the week it was reissued for $15 -I knew nothing about the album and thought I had died and gone to heaven when I saw it in Rocket Scientist! An original as shown in the top photo(in a generic SMC sleeve) will knock you back $600 or more-take a look at popsike.
Lazarus also put this out in cd format which also looks to be difficult to get hold of now.
I've ripped this from the Lazarus vinyl issue @320 which means that you lucky people(katonah are you out there?) will also get a rip of the Astronautas session at a later date!