Jazz CD Reviews

Cal Tjader – Cool Fire – double CD from “A Fuego Vivo” & “Good Vibes” – Concord Records

A nostalgic and welcome time with one of the most distinctive sounds in Latin jazz ever.

Published on July 16, 2008

Cal Tjader – Cool Fire – double CD from “A Fuego Vivo” & “Good Vibes” – Concord Records
Cal Tjader – Cool Fire – double CD from “A Fuego Vivo” & “Good Vibes” – Concord Records CCD2-2205-2 ****:

(Cal Tjader, vibes; Mark Levine, piano/Fender Rhodes; Rob Fisher, bass; Vince Lateano, drums; Poncho Sanchez, congas; Gary Foster, reeds; Ramon Banda, timbales (on A Fuego); Roger Glenn, flute & percussion (on Good Vibes))

Cal Tjader had a completely distinctive sound of his own in Latin jazz, and even in the face of all the Latin jazz available today, I still find it my favorite. His cool vibes soared over the hot Afro-Cuban rhythms of Poncho Sanchez and the others, and he never seemed to get stuck in the repetition of endless montunas that drive me up the wall with much Latin music today.  His was the sound defining West Coast Latin Jazz – as distinctive as his former boss Shearing’s locked-hands style with vibes in his albums. Both of these original LP albums were live performances – recorded in 1982 and 1984 – and  they are in probably the best fidelity they have ever had.  The first was an evening at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco in 1981 – a great venue.  The second album was recorded during the Concord Jazz Festival, and if I remember correctly, I was there. This white musician/tap dancer of Swedish heritage could swing with the most authoritative of the Afro-Cuban lights. Great stuff – dig it! 

TrackList:

Disc: 1
1. Serenata
2. Poncho Con Dos Amigos
3. Mindanao
4. Tesoro
5. Santa Domingo
6. Naima
7. The Continental
Disc: 2
1. Guachi Guaro (Soul Sauce)
2. Doxy
3. Shoshana
4. Speak Low
5. Broadway
6. Cuban Fantasy
7. Good Vibes

 – John Henry




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