A really surprising turn in the career of Mongo Santamaria – especially after a run of successful mainstream Latin sides for Columbia and Atlantic
! The album's definitely "up from the roots", and features Mongo in a percussion-heavy exploration of older Afro-Cuban rhythms – served up here in really traditional modes, with a much more folksy sound than any of his other work for the time. Most instrumentation on side one is from percussion – but as the record goes on, the "history" of Latin music begins to seep in – with some great jazz lines from players who include Felix Watkins on flute, Carter Jefferson on tenor and soprano saxes, and Jon Faddis on trumpet – plus a bit of keyboards from Eddie Martinez. Neal Creque, Eddy Martinez, and Marty Sheller all help out on arrangement as the sound builds through the set – so by the end the record is nice and funky, and filled with plenty of soul! Titles include "Little Angel", "Sofrito", "Forked Tongue", "Jose Outside", "Para Ti", and "Conga, Bata, y Chequere".
(Red & green label Broadway pressing. Cover has some wear, with a promo sticker in the top right corner and a name in marker on both sides. Label has a name in marker.)