Thursday, August 14, 2008
Puente’s big 15-piece Latin jazz band plays with all of the charisma and virtuosic skill with which he was long associated. Interestingly enough, it was this concert that’s credited with bringing the great timbale player into the jazz arena and to the attention of not only the Concord Picante recording label but also jazz aficionados worldwide.
The joy of dance, always strong in Puente’s music, is strongly showcased throughout this concert. His composition, “Oye Como Va,” is much more deeply grooved than any of Carlos Santana’s versions, while “Pare Cochero” has such a spicy south-of-the-border sound that you’ll need a passport to load it in your CD player. At times, the horns lack a little precision, but the cavernous vigor of the percussion, and Puente’s hot playing, amply makes up for any inaccuracies.