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Poncho Sanchez and Ramon Banda
"Poncho Sanchez and Ramon Banda showcase a world class Latin jazz band that travels the world yearly. Poncho's electrifying presence during a 7 1/2 year stay with the legendary Cal Tjader group catapulted this impressive bandleader from musician to Latin jazz star. Ramon Banda has been Poncho's spiritual support since their childhood. He recorded on a couple of Cal Tjader's CDs before Cal's untimely death in 1982. Without question, Ramon has grown to be one of Latin music's top timbaleros. Ramon says that he likes "music that comes from the heart. Head-on blues, straight-ahead jazz and Latin music with lots of sabor. If it reaches me, it doesn't matter what kind of music it is. As long as the players are saying something." Poncho agrees that what moves him is the spirit and feeling that the musicians play with. "I'm not much into really technical players," he says. "It's great that they can play so well, but what moves me personally is the sound, the spirit and the soul that they play with. To listen to a band that plays as a unit really moves me. You have a group of people grooving along the same grooves and feeling the same feelings.""

Here are some reviews by Poncho Sanchez and Ramon Banda

Cal Tjader, Soul Sauce
CD (Verve/Poly. 521 668),Re-Issued 1994;
"This one has been one of our all-time favorite albums. When Ramon and I first started hanging out together, this album was almost new. And I played this album every single day for many, many years. Cal told me that the band had been playing together so much that they recorded this in a single day. After they laid down the title cut, 'Soul Sauce,' Lonnie Hewitt told Cal that it was missing something. That's when they called Willie Bobo to come to the session to do some overdubbing using the jawbones, or 'quija,' and the jive talk. They told me that Willie broke two of the jawbones during the session. He was slapping the thing hard! This CD also has a second version of 'Guachi Guaro' and three other tunes never before released from that same session. It features Donald Byrd on trumpet, Jimmy Heath on tenor."
Category: Latin Jazz => Latin Jazz
ORDER TL-13660.10 CD Add to My Shopping Cart

Cal Tjader, Monterey Concerts
CD (Prestige 24026),
"Not only was Willie Bobo a great timbalero, but this album showed that he was also a great jazz drummer. This album inspired me to pick up the timbales. The sound that Mongo gets on the congas is something that you can't hear on records today. I wonder how they did that. If you want to hear some great sounding congas, listen to this."
Category: Latin Jazz => Latin Jazz
ORDER TL-12480.10 CD Add to My Shopping Cart

Cal Tjader, Black Orchid
CD (Fantasy 24730),Re-Issued 1993;
"This CD has two complete previous albums, Cal Tjader Quintet and Black Orchid. I think putting two albums together on one CD is a great idea. This is one of my favorite periods of the Cal Tjader band. I've always loved the tune 'Bonita', written by Lonnie Hewitt, a very good friend of mine when I was with the Cal Tjader band. All of the parts to this bolero sound crystal clear--piano, vibes and bongos. Lonnie and Cal trade places on the tune 'Black Orchid.' Cal is playing piano and Lonnie is feeding Cal on vibes. This CD has a lot of great tunes."
Category: Latin Jazz => Latin Jazz
ORDER TL-12136.10 CD Add to My Shopping Cart

Conjunto Estrellas De Chocolate, Pa' Los Rumberos Y Otros Exitos
CD (AF 8007),
"This is one of my all-time top Cuban CDs that is available for purchase right now. I bought this album many, many years ago. It features Chocolate the conga player, not the trumpet player. They do some great rumbas like 'Pa' Los Rumberos.' This could be the original recording. This is one of the tunes that Tito Puente has established himself with, but this was recorded earlier than Tito's version. It has a guajira called 'La Brocha' which is one of my all-time favorites. The singer sings real funky and gets down, you can tell he's singing from his heart. The trumpet player is playing it nice and simple. It goes to show you that you don't always have to play high notes. You can stay in the mid-range and still come out with some great ideas and solos. It's classic trumpet stuff with great boleros. I picture the singer hanging out with his family and friends in his backyard, singing from his heart. I really love some of the boleros on this CD."
Category: Salsa/Son => Son, Guaracha, Guajira=> Cuba
ORDER TL-12812.10 CD Add to My Shopping Cart

Israel "Cachao" Lopez, Cachao Y Su Ritmo Caliente: From Havana To New York
CD (Caney 501),Re-Issued 1994;
"We were very happy when this was released on CD. All Latin musicians should listen to this religiously. These musicians were the best. You have to listen to Tata Güines (congas), Guillermo Barretto (timbales), Nino Rivera (tres) and Cachao (bass). When I play this for people they are blown away by how much fire these guys play with, and yet they're very relaxed. That's great control! This CD contains the classic 'Descargas En Miniature,' and some great sessions with top jazz players like Clark Terry (trumpet) recorded at a later date."
Category: Dance Traditions => Descargas/Mambo=> Cuba
ORDER TL-13387.10 CD Add to My Shopping Cart

Joe Cuba, Diggin' The Most
CD (Seeco 9259),
"My sisters had this album at home when I was a boy. These guys are playing together as a unit. They are as tight as can be, and I realized this when I was a little boy. This is one of the first albums that Ramon and I learned to play together, which is why it means even more to me. 'Arinara' has a lot of breaks that we learned. This album taught us to play tight. I like their version of 'Oye Como Va' and the great bolero 'Aunque Tu' which I recorded on my last CD."
Category: Latin Soul/Boogaloo => Latin Soul, Boogaloo
ORDER TL-12118.10 CD Add to My Shopping Cart

Tito Puente, Top Percussion / Dance Mania
CD (Bear Family 15687),Released 1958;Re-Issued 1993;
"I also heard this from my sisters when I was a very young boy. I've recorded 'Ti-Mon-Bo' from that album twice already. It stands for Tito, Mongo and Willie Bobo. They all play so smoothly, accurately and incredibly on that cut. Sometimes the early recordings sound better than the newer ones. You can hear everybody's playing crystal clear-timbales, bongos, congas, and the bass line that Bobby Rodriguez was laying down. As Ramon says, they were at their peaks. They were playing excellently. Dancemania was a great dance album. You can hear the original mambo sound and style, and the original cha cha cha feeling that Tito was so great at."
Category: Dance Traditions => Big Band Mambo Jazz
ORDER TL-12503.10 CD Add to My Shopping Cart

Tito Rodriguez, Tito, Tito, Tito
CD (WS Latino 4088),Re-Issued 1989;
"If you like Tito Rodriguez, you have to have this CD in your collection. I love every tune. I take this CD with me when I travel and listen to it quite a bit. 'Descarga Cachao' is one of the most played descarga tunes. Cal Tjader recorded it and we use it in our clinics and demonstrations. It has a standard bass line and coros that many musicians use as a descarga. 'Descarga De La Malanga' starts out in a 6/8 time signature then goes into a 4/4 mambo tempo. The two trumpet players take great solos and battle it back and forth with each other. They play the montuno style really well. It has the tipico early mambo style with the trumpets. So, if you're a trumpet player you should have this. 'Cosas Del Alma' is another classic bolero. I love the Tito Rodriguez sound, he had a great voice."
Category: Dance Traditions => Mambo, Cha Cha Cha, Pachanga
ORDER TL-10452.10 CD Add to My Shopping Cart

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