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Various Artists: The Jazz on the Latin Side All-Stars, Vol. 1

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Latin jazz on the West Coast has a different feel than Latin from Manhattan because players on the West Coast come from more diverse backgrounds than the very traditional, predominantly Cuban/Puerto Rican spheres of NYC, the West Coast sound, just like that of the 1950s jazz world, is a bit lighter, perhaps just a bit less dogmatic. Jazz on the Latin Side All Stars’ album offers a great snapshot of the current, mostly Los Angeles, scene, taken last year during a burning nightlong tribute to the dedicated Latin-jazz programming of L.A. radio station KLON.

Like any descarga, or jam, there are some less than stellar moments, but overall, this live recording from B.B. King’s L.A. club presents the cream of the West Coast Latin crop in a context that boils with all the excitement that must have been present that night. Just to list the names of just a few of the participants should be enough: Alex Acuna, Francisco Aguabella, Justo Almario, Luis Conte, Al Mckibbon, Pancho Sanchez.

Though it’s hard to beat those old live recordings by the Fania All Stars-Live at the Cheetah and Live at Yankee Stadium-for pure electricity and virtuoso-level interplay, these two discs more than adequately transmit the feel of top notch Latin musicians doing what they do best: setting up a groove that is impossible not to dance to.