20 March 2008


Sabu Martinez for SMC (Spanish Music Centre) from 1960.
Sabu Martinez: conga
Irez: piano, organ
Rios: piano
Del Valle: bass
Reynaldo: timbales
Fuentes: guiro

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!


bacoso said...


AvantGrape said...

Wow, this looks mighty sweet. Thank you.

Here's a little share that some Orgy fans may like:

Chet Baker - You Can't Go Home Again, 1977 (MP3 320 CBR)

-for those who like their fusion funky...w/John Scofield, Tony Williams, Alphonso Johnson, Ron Carter, Kenny Barron, etc.


Jazz-Nekko said...


it may surprise you to know that both of these exist on CD reissues here - hahahaha (greedy okinawan devil laugh) ad for a mere 2,300 Y a piece -

however, i will be gracious (perhaps unintentionally obnoxious) bugger and enjoy your vinyl rip instead,



katonah said...

You've turned up trumps again bacoso.
Many thanks for this "stonker"!
Those nights out with the clowns must rock
I would ask everybody : would you own an original copy or take the money?
For me, it's the vinyl everytime

Jazz-Nekko said...


based on my recent hunting experience in the states (and hauling ;-) i would have to agree with you. there is something about holding the big jacket in your hands, the warmth of the audio quality and even the smell somehow is a part of the vinyl experience for me. . .


oui said...

sabu... c'est bon!

Geordie said...

Thanks this was missing from my Sabu collection

Jungle Percussion
Palo Congo
Afro Temple
Sabu's Jazz Espagnole

and now Sabu in Orbit.

Thanks again.

Geordie said...

not too mention the stuff he did with Art Blakey.

bacoso said...

avant grape-thanks for the rip.Following this donation I am in the process of putting another blog together for shares and contributions to o.i.r.so watch this space.
j-nekko-yes it does surpise me that sabu in orbit is on cd in japan.Is it the lazarus reissue which couples both albums or a japanese issue?
And you are bang on the mark with your comments about vinyl I'd sooner have an lp than a cd anyday.As much as many people may think it odd the smell of an original album has something wonderful about it and I have discussed this with other people so it's not unique to you and i.Vinyl sniffers of the world unite-you are not alone!!!

Jazz-Nekko said...


it is a lazarus reissue which (seems to) couples both albums. the cd cover is a colourised version of the small b/w you have posted. . .



Mulata said...

Hy Bacoso,

Would you be a player to perhaps?
Great music!!
Love the Sabu Albums,
I'm missing 3 out of six.
And yes, me love blogland to:)
Is it possible for you to update these links?
Bet thy are great:

*Horace silver-silver percussion

*salah ragab and the cairo jazz
band present egyptian jazz

*Dave pike plays the music of joao donata-bossa nova carnival

Infact wy not just update the hole 2006 links,
would help us allot:)

Anyway, big schouts to you for supporting!!
Greetings from Belgium.

Ibrahim 'Ibi Mulata' Elitas

PS:Have some albums of the Hatian group
"La Perfecta"?

katonah said...

so it's not just me that sniffs the gatefold !?!

mind you, in darkened room?
all alone? ...

troods said...

Lol, sniffing vinyl alone in a dark room......my heart goes out to you. Having lived through the days of vinyl, I am not nostalgic about it, but so so grateful that you reproduce it in mp3 a part of technology I accept in how simple it is to play without getting up to change sides. However, I can still get up and groove, though not as wildly as I did when I was playing vinyl!! Thank you much for my man Sabu. It's so good to hear him again.

Leif said...

Nice blog! And I like Sabu Martinez music a lot, great that you write about him :)

I found your blog when I googled "Spanish music centre", and I'm working on a book about Moondog, and I know that Moondog also recordes several recordings at that place. And now I wonder if you know anything more about that studio. I have'nt found much on the internet, about it. It would be wonderful if there existed photos of that place!