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Instant Party

Mongo Santamaria

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Album Review

Instant Party includes 11 tracks by the late bandleader and Latin percussion master Mongo Santamaria that focus on his '80s and early-'90s recordings for the Concord label. Taken from the albums Soca Me Nice, Olé Ola, Soy Yo, and Live at Jazz Alley, tracks like "Soca Me Nice," "Tropical Breeze," "Mother Jones," and the Lennon/McCartney standard "Day Tripper" are pleasant, fun, and festive, but lack the heat of his earlier sides on Fantasy and Columbia. While it is impossible to properly highlight Mongo Santamaria with only 11 tracks, Instant Party comes in handy for the novice listener trying to sort out the various periods of his recording career.


Born: April 7, 1922 in Havana, Cuba

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

A Mongo Santamaria concert is a mesmerizing spectacle for both eyes and ears, and even in his seventies, this seemingly ageless Cuban percussionist/bandleader could energize packed behemoth arenas such as the Hollywood Bowl. A master conguero, Santamaria at his best creates an incantatory spell rooted in Cuban religious rituals, quietly seating himself before his congas and soloing with total command over the rhythmic spaces between the beats while his band pumps out an endless vamp (a potent example...
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Instant Party, Mongo Santamaria
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