This most highly recommended outing from veteran percussionist, composer, vocalist and father of the equally talented Sheila E combines crack, infectious big-band Latin grooves ("Mis Amigos") and lush, romantic moments ("Setembro") to great effect.
The leader's deft percussion work is wonderfully supported and further enhanced by the tart, questing solos of reedman Justo Almario, (who is particularly invigorating on "Mis Amigos" and the rhythmically slippery "Ah Bailar Cha Cha Cha"), trumpeter Ramon Flores and the barrio-meets-the-'hood basswork of Oskar Cartaya.
Escovedo's vocal work adds a sublime and, in the case of the bolero "Si Te Contara," hauntingly romantic element to the proceedings. Even if you are unfortunate enough not to understand Spanish, his heartfelt outings still manage to tell you everything.
Daughter Sheila contributes percussion and vocals on the lovely "Praise and Worship," and healthy doses of syncopation on the rhythmic feasts "E Street Mambo" and the closing "Escolandia."
In addition to mining the always fecund Spanish tinge, Escovedo and friends pay funky and convincing homage to latter-period Miles Davis with trumpeter Ray Vega's "Miles Away." Vega showcases his own tumbling lyricism, and Miles' muted poetry, while the Escovedos revel in some head noddin' go-go swang.