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Raise Your Hand

Poncho Sanchez

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Album Review

Conguero Poncho Sanchez grew up on salsa and Latin jazz, but his musical influences also included large doses of Stax and Muscle Shoals R&B. So for his latest album, he decided to pay tribute to both traditions: the result is a strange but seriously fun jumble of soul, salsa, son and jazz. Gratefully, he generally avoids trying to fuse them all into a single hybrid musical style; instead, he jumps from one to the other. The album opens and closes with classic-style soul songs: "Raise Your Hand" and "Knock on Wood," both featuring singer Eddie Floyd, organist Booker T. Jones, and guitarist Steve Cropper. In between is a range of material that includes a brilliant straight-ahead salsa number featuring Andy Montañez titled "El Agua de Belen," the gorgeous "Amor con Amor," a very fine Maceo Parker showcase titled "Maceo's House" (which actually does blend soul and Latin influences, and carries it off nicely) and a couple of less compelling numbers as well. But even the nice-but-not-earthshaking "Gestation" offers plenty of fun, and there really is not a single track on this album that is anything less than thoroughly enjoyable. Highly recommended overall.

Biography

Born: 30 October 1951 in Laredo, TX

Genre: Latin Jazz

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

The imaginative rhythms of Poncho Sanchez have made him one of the most influential conga players and percussionists in Afro-Cuban jazz. In addition to recording as a soloist, Sanchez has been featured on albums by the Jazz Crusaders, Eddie Harris, Freddie Hubbard, Tito Puente, M***o Santamaria, Dianne Reeves, Joey DeFrancesco, and Terence Blanchard. Becoming a member of vibraphonist Caj Tjader's Band in 1975, Sanchez remained with the group until Tjader's death on May 5, 1982. By then, he had already...
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Raise Your Hand, Poncho Sanchez
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