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Pete Escovedo: Live from Stern Grove

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At age 77, Latin percussion icon Pete Escovedo isn’t supposed to sound as vigorous today as he did on his last two live albums, 2003’s Live! and 1985’s Yesterday’s Memories-Tomorrow’s Dreams. But this show, recorded last summer on home turf in San Francisco, finds the timbales maestro consistently in the pocket and in command. Besides his confident playing, though, Escovedo’s strongest suit has always been his knack for choosing simpatico cohorts, and a good part of this set’s success is attributable to the supportive, slacker-free cast. Juan and Peter Michael Escovedo, Pete’s sons, liven up the percussion battery on congas and drums, respectively; the piano-guitar-bass team of Joe Rotondi, Michael Angel Alvarado and Marc van Wageningen contributes neat, well-crafted solos and serviceable accompaniment; and the five-piece horn army adds considerable body to each arrangement.

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