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Poncho Sanchez: Freedom Sound

The presence of Jazz Crusader Wilton Felder on four of 11 cuts brings a needed edge to what is becoming a very polished Sanchez sound. I always look forward to a release by the California conguero, but this time around I would have preferred less perfection and more abandon. Still, there’s much to like here. “Brown & Blue” has Felder’s fine tenor solo. Another Jazz Crusader, trombonist Wayne Henderson, is heard on four cuts, including his own compositions, “Scratch” and “MJ’s Funk.” The cha cha cha, “Baila el Suave Cha,” features Scott Martin on flute. Ramon Banda delivers a spicy timbales solo on “Latin Bit.” The ballads include “You Don’t Know What Love Is” and “When We Were One,” with Martin playing sensitively on tenor on the latter. Stalwart trumpeter Sal Cracchiolo is dependable throughout while Sanchez provides subtle, persuasive rhythmic accompaniment, along with conga solos on “Aleluia,” “Prestame tu Corazon” and “Scratch.”

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