A smoking set of work from Tito Puente – four classic albums, wrapped together in a single package – with a bonus album of rare material too! First up is Cuban Carnival – one of Tito Puente's finest albums for RCA, with a tight hard bunch of cuts that have a Cuban big
band sound, and a lot more drive to them than some of Tito's other work for the label. Ray Bryant wrote the great track "Cuban Fantasy", and Tito contributed most of the other tunes on the set – a really unique batch of material that includes "Yambeque", "Elegua Chango", "Que Sera", and "Cha Cha De Pollos". The percussion is nice and hard, and the band grooves in tight ensemble playing throughout! Night Beat is a really jazzy effort that was cut with a top
-shelf list of players! The groove's a bit different than some of Tito's other work – but in a good way, and one that has him stretching past straight Latin to mix in a heavy dose of jazz – really getting the most of players who include Eddie Bert on trombone, Gene Quill on saxes, Bernie Glow on trumpet, and Barry Galbraith on guitar. The rhythms are key – and in addition to drums from Jimmy Cobb, the album also features Mongo Santamaria on congas and Willy Correa on bongos – not to mention more percussion from Tito himself! Dance Mania is a burner of a set from Tito Puente – very well titled to suit the energy of the session! The tracks are all highly rhythmic numbers – short, but filled with jazzy horn flourishes and the kind of snapping rhythms that made the Puente group one of the biggest crossover favorites of the 50s. Tunes nicely mix up vocals with some more pronounced jazz soloing – getting a heck of a lot into a relatively small space, and really keeping up the energy of the record overall. Revolving Bandstand is a joint project from Tito Puente and Buddy Morrow – both leaders who recorded some great work for the label in the 50s, sounding great here in a unique variation on their classic sounds! The album has both Morrow and Puente playing back to back – creating a "revolving bandstand" that has both groups playing the same tunes at the same time – a very odd approach, but one that comes off well here – mixing Tito's Latin and Buddy's swing nicely, without too much confusion in the instrumentation. There's some great vibes on a few tracks! Last up is Tito Puente Quatro Bonus Edition – a set that features 13 rare tracks, with singles, outtakes, and more – including "La Virgen De La Macarena", "Moonlight In Vermont", "The Continental (alt take)", "Blue Moon (alt)", "Ran Kan Kan", "Timbal Y Bongo", and many outtakes of "Pa Los Rumberos"! All LPs on 180 gram vinyl – with liner notes too!