Ray Barretto —
Senor 007 ... LP United Artists, 1965. New Copy (reissue)...
One of our favorite Ray Barretto albums of the 60s – a real gem from the pre-Latin Soul years! The album's a clear attempt to cash in on the cash in on the James Bond craze of the time – issued by United Artists, who were releasing the Bond films, but also had Ray under contract during the period too. But despite that simple gimmick, it's a great little set – with a quality level that goes way beyond Bond soundtracks, or the usual from Barretto at the time! The tracks are all hard and groovy, with an excellent jazz feel – and some killer arranging from Ray that's right up there with the work he did for his legendary Charanga Moderna album! You may recognize the song titles – but their versions here are superb, and the album's filled with many many wonderful moments that step out with mad rhythms and great jazzy touches. Titles include "Mister Kiss Kiss Bang Bang", "OO7", "Search For Vulcan", "Thunderball", and "Goldfinger". Nice "spy" shot of Ray on the cover, too! LP, Vinyl record album
A Latin classic from the word "bang"! This album was the one that busted Joe Cuba out of the Latin ghetto – into the sound of 60s soul, early funk, and beyond. The record's a stone winner – filled with boogaloo tracks delivered by Joe's firey young sextet, a killer ensemble that was setting the Latin world on its ear at the time. The title track – "Bang Bang" – is one of those tracks that you'll recognize from a million references, but which never sounds as good as it does on this impeccable version from Joe. The whole album follows in a similar suit – blending Latin, jazz, and soul with effortless ease – shifting between English and Spanish lyrics in a genre-busting style that really captures all the freshness of the era. The whole thing's great, and titles include "Asi Soy", "Alafia", "Triste", "Mujer Divina", "Oh Yeah", "Sock It To Me", and the "Bang Bang" follow-up, "Push, Push, Push". Great, hard, and a heck of a lot of fun! LP, Vinyl record album
Pure brilliance from Coke Escovedo – an artist who really finds a way to make so many different things come together perfectly – with results that are even stronger than his previous work in Azteca and Santana! The set's got a warm blend of Latin roots, modern soul, and jazzy fusion – all produced by the great Pat Gleeson with the same sort of genre-bending care he brought to his own work as a musician! Gleeson makes things smooth and spacey, but never slick – really layering the sound at a level that's somewhere in the Mizell family territory, but with a bit of a different vibe. Coke's percussion is wonderful – and the set features vocals from Errol Knowles, plus backing from The Waters, and guest instrumentation from both Joe Henderson on tenor and Gabor Szabo on guitar. The whole thing's great, and titles include the sublime groover "I Wouldn't Change A Thing", a sweet remake of Willie Bobo's "Fried Neckbones & Some Home Fries", and the tracks "Back Seat", "Runaway", "Hangin On", "Somebody's Callin", and "Diamond Dust/Vida". (Soul, Latin)LP, Vinyl record album
(Part of the Free Soul anniversary series from Japan!)
Tight and soulful grooves from the team of Pete and Sheila Escovedo – a set that still has elements of the pair's Latin roots, but which also explodes in a flurry of funk, soul, and fusion moments too! As with their first Fantasy album, the duo have Billy Cobham on deck to produce – giving the record a sweetly soulful sound that's a bit like his own work of the late 70s, only a bit more Latinized in the percussion. Cobham also plays drums – and other players include Eddie Henderson on trumpet, Mark Soskin on keyboards, and Ray Obiedo on guitar. Titles include "Bolinas", "Ain't That The Truth", "Hello Like Before", "Burrito Bandito", "Cueros", and "Bridges (Travessia)". LP, Vinyl record album