Afro Blue: The Picante Collection
These ten tunes are taken from Mongo Santamaria's four Concord Picante releases. Five numbers are from "Live at Jazz Alley," two from "Ole Ola," two from "Soy Yo," and one from "Soca Me Nice." There's much to recommend here: Charlie Palmieri's piano and Piro Rodriguez's trumpet on "Mayeya," along with a vocal chorus that includes the great Cuban singer, Merceditas Valdes; the backup vocals by Colombian singer Claudia Gomez and San Francisco's own Bobi Cespedes and Luis Cespedes on "La Tumba;" Ray Vega's conjunto trumpet style on "Bonita;" the baritone sax of Bobby Porcelli and the tenor of Mitch Frohman on the classics "Manteca" and "Afro Blue;" the charanga numbers "Para Ti" and "Come Candela," featuring Mitch Frohman on flute; a fine congas solo by Santamaria on "Con Mi Ritmo;" and the understated arrangements of Marty Sheller. Additional percussion is provided by Johnny Almendra on timbales and Eddie Rodriguez on bongos, excepting on "Con Mi Ritmo" and "La Tumba," where Humberto Hernandez is featured on bongos.