On Good Vibrations, expect some standards done Latin-style. The album kicks off with two, “Flying Home” (with the crunchy baritone of Enrigue Fernández, who also doubles on flute here) and “Midnight Sun.” Paralleling that are Latin numbers with a jazz twist, in this case salutes to mambo kings Noro Morales (his signature tune “Maria Cervantes”) and Tito Puente (“Ya No Me Quieres [Bolero for Tito]” and “Camino Al Cielo Too”). There’s always something bluesy (“Blues for Queen D”), an original or two and a percussion workout—here the exuberant closer, “Bari Con Bata.”
What distinguishes this from past offerings is the heat quotient. With vibes (Mike Freeman) rather than horns in the lead, this is a decidedly #cooler# set. But that’s also the point, as all the compositions are from vibes and percussion players. The unity of conception and delightfully intricate rhythmic latticework constructed by Mantilla and band (veteran Latin pianist and original Space Station member Edy Martinez, along with Fernández, drummer Bill Elder, bassist Cucho Martinez from the New Space Station lineup of 2004’s Man-Ti-Ya, and guest percussionist Steve Berrios) may give off more subtle vibes, but they’re good nonetheless.