A tasty 2-in-1 CD that brings together some of Mongo's sweet early sides for the Riverside label! Mongo Explodes is filled with lots of tight jazzy moments, courtesy of an all-star cast that includes Nat Adderley, Ronnie Capers, and Jimmy Cobb – along with Pat Patrick from Sun Ra
's Arkestra! The vibe is hot and heavy, and a totally full-on Latin jamming approach, lots of tight conga by Mongo, and some firey solos on reeds! Tracks include lots of short hard Latin cuts, like "Skins", "Fatback", "Dot, Dot, Dot", and "Tacos". Watermelon Man is a seminal moment in the career of Mongo Santamaria – and probably the first record to show that he was destined for greatness! As you might guess from the title, the set features Mongo's key recording of Herbie Hancock's "Watermelon Man" – served up here in a sharp-edged Latin jazz version that pushed the tune into a whole new audience, and which was one of the first big groovers of its type in the pre-Latin Soul years! The group here is totally great – with players that include funky flautist Mauricio Smith, baritone genius Pat Patrick, and the always-great Bobby Capers – all key players who illustrate Santamaria's genius for picking horn players. Titles include "Watermelon Man", "Yeh Yeh", "Funny Money", "Go Git It", "Sauvito", "Cut That Cane", and "Bayou Roots".