The Bottom Line
Putumayo Presents Latin Jazz is a wonderful, upbeat compilation album featuring some of the best known names in Latin music. All the tracks are cool, smooth and sweet from artists like Tito Puente, Poncho Sanchez through Ray Barretto and The Bryan Lynch/Eddie Palmieri project. A genuine crowd pleaser, perfect for a Sunday afternoon while you're doing - well, almost anything.
- Ten great classic Latin jazz tracks by world reknowned artists
- Not a lot of variety in style (not that it matters)
- Ten cool tracks of Latin jazz by some of the masters.
- Performances by Machito, Poncho Sanchez, Tito Puento, Ray Barretto, Hilton Ruiz and others
- Released by Putumayo World Music
Guide Review - CD Review: Putumayo Presents Latin Jazz
Compilations can be tricky in any genre, especially the way Putumayo World Music does the job. They pick a wide field of music and then select 10 or so tracks to represent it. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't and it's always a matter of taste.
With Putumayo Presents Latin Jazz, they've succeeded brilliantly - at least for my taste. The album is unified by a conscious (or unconscious) theme - Latin jazz that's cool, smooth and fairly unchallenging. Of course it helps that they've selected classic numbers by some of the best Latin jazz artists of all time. The tracks represent the finest in Afro-Cuban jazz; there's no Brazilian or more experimental music on this CD. But who cares. It's a wonderful album for the area on which they've focused.
The CD starts with Machito and Cannonball Adderly performing "Congo Mulence" with a sneaky "Hernando's Hideaway" or "Pink Panther" type introduction followed by lyrical sax and trumpet solos. Poncho Sanchez is up next with "El Sabroson", followed by Icelandic bassist/composer Tomas Einarsson's "Rumdrum" (I've noticed I can't wait for this number to come up).
Then we've got Tito Puente's "Cha Cha Cha', Chico Alvarez with "La Clave, Maraca Y Guiro" and a super version of "Summertime" by Ray Barretto. Manny Oquendo & Libre are a total delight with "Cuando Se Acabara", and Chocolate Armenteros shine with a son montuno "Trompeta en Montuna". The final track is performed by the 2005 collaboration of trumpeter Brian Lynch and Dr. Eddie Palmieri. It sounds like vintage Palmieri with the addition of Lynch's dynamite jazz trumpet.
I've listened to this album at least 10 times; I have the feeling that this is one that will reach 3 digits before I get tired of it.