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Verve’s New Latin Jazz CDs

In June Verve released four Latin-tinged reissues, including Dave Pike’s Manhattan Latin and Candido Camero’s Candido. The discs-which also include a Machito album never before released on CD and a 1968 collaboration between “Patato” and “Totico” of Buena Vista Social Club fame-come in digipacks that reproduce the look and feel of the original vinyl LPs. Additionally, each disc comes with a fold-out reproduction of the album’s back cover and is painted with a reproduction of the album’s original label-for example, Candido Camero’s Candido (pictured) first came out on ABC, thus the reissue CD features the colorful, Möbius-strip ABC logo of yesteryear on its face. Here’s some info on each release:

Candido Camero – Candido

Of the four, this one may appeal to straightahead jazz fans the most. It’s conguero Camero’s first album as a leader and features bop-minded tenor saxophonist Al Cohn and pianist Dick Katz among its personnel. The date was produced by Creed Taylor in 1956 and also included guitarist Joe Puma, bassist Whitney Mitchell and drummer Teddy Sommer. With Candido on conga and bongo, the group puts a Latin-jazz spin on standards like “Stompin’ at the Savoy” and “Cheek to Cheek,” but also plays a few originals penned by band members like Puma’s “Candi Bar” and Sommer’s “Candido’s Camera.”

Machito and His Afro-Cuban Orchestra – Vacation at the Concord

Though not a live album like the title suggests, Vacation at the Concord still finds famed Latin-band leader Machito and his orchestra in quite a lively spirit, working through these dozen cha-chas, mambos and sambas with infectious dance grooves. The exact personnel on the October 1958 sessions that yielded the disc is unknown. Originally issued on Coral, Verve brings the disc to CD for the first time.

Patato & Totico

Long before the Buena Vista Social Club boom of the ’90s brought wider attention to the work of these Cuban masters, Verve was on the case with this 1968 disc that features percussionist Carlos “Patato” Valdes and vocalist Eugenio “Totico” Arango. The band, which includes tres guitar legend Arsenio Rodriguez, bassist Israel Lopez, plays 10 vocals-heavy tunes, most of them written by the leaders.

Dave Pike – Manhattan Latin

Never mind the cheesy, sexist cover, this 12-song set (originally released on Decca) is rife with genuine Spanish Harlem rhythm. The result of three 1964 sessions, Manhattan Latin features vibraphonist/leader Dave Pike playing with pianist Chick Corea, drummer Willie Bobo, reedist Hubert Laws, trumpeter Dave Burns, “Patato” Valdes and Israel Lopez, among others.

Originally Published