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Various Artists: Latin Legends Live

The Latin Legends are Malo, El Chicano and Tierra, three West Coast-based bands recorded live at The Hop in Puente Hills. Most of disc one is given over to Malo while disc two is dominated by Tierra. Wedged in between are three cuts by El Chicano. Malo opens their set with the rhythmically exciting “Techno Rumba,” a fusion of Latin rhythms, rap and rock. “Ritmo Tropical” blends salsa and rock and features a wild guitar solo by Gabriel Manzo. Saxophonist Andy Nejera is a bright light on several numbers. Their big hit “Suavecito” is included here, though sounding a bit frayed.

Tierra’s “Zoot Suit Boogie” has the honking style saxophone of Victor Cisneros paired with drum cymbals and a corny quote from “In the Mood.” On “Celebrate with Tierra” percussionist John Valenzuela takes the first solo, succeeded by Cisneros’ kinetic saxophone. “Let’s Just Kiss and Say Goodbye,” with Tierra leader Rudy Salas on vocals, is based on the Chi-Lites’ “Have You Seen Her.” In case the group’s R&B, soul, rock and jazz influences aren’t enough, there’s also a disco medley, “Memories.” “Margarita” has funky horns riffing a la Tower of Power.

The standout on the three cuts by El Chicano is Hammond organist Bobby Espinoza. There’s some good music on these two discs, especially the percussion, along with a significant ’70s nostalgia factor, which the audience appears to have loved.

Originally Published