Following in the footsteps of Tito Puente and Frank "Machito" Grillo, Pucho and His Latin Soul Brothers present a fine new Latin-Jazz/Acid-Jazz disc. Now, Henry Lee "Pucho" Brown has been around for more than a few years, but here he again inspires the brothers to great heights, and with people like Fred Wesley, Dave Valentin, Louis Kahn and Lew Solkoff dropping in to lend a hand, oxygen may be needed!
The album gets off to a good start with the title track, a really funky acid-jazz number. It then gets better, with "Son Cubano" a very danceable salsa, which features superb violin work by Louis Kahn. Tito Puente's "Willie and Ray Mambo", with lovely pacey percussion is followed by "For the Love of Money" a funky number with fine bass riffs underlying good horn work and some fine sounds from the Hammond B-3.
The mid-part of the album slows down, with "Somewhere in the Night", which features Dave Valentin's accomplished flute playing. "Greene Street Jive" is another quite laid back number, with a heavy jazz feel including a well-arranged percussion and horns dialogue, a lovely late evening number.
Into the final third of the album, the pace picks back up with "Harlem Havana", a hot cocktail of throbbing rhythms, fine tres guitar and brass playing. The "Dolphy Mambo" then just makes you want to keep dancing, it features more top class trombone and violin playing from Kahn, as well as another burst of Valentin's flute.
This is followed by "Vietnam Mambo", first recorded in 1966, this classic has stood the test of time, it shows off the capabilities of every one of the contributing musicians, but it remains a coherent and genuinely wonderful piece of music. The album is rounded off with "Soul Magic" a soulful little Latin number.
The album has been well produced, and the mix by Katherine Miller is worthy of note. It sounds great in the car, on a Discman and blasting out of a top class sound system.
Finally it is essential to end with "Pucho" Brown whose exemplary leadershiphas given us a classy album that deserves a place in any collection.
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This review is copyright © 2001 by Ian Webb, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved. Copy, duplication or download prohibited without written permission. For permission to use this review please send an E-mail to Ray Stiles.
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