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Cuban Fantasy

Cal Tjader

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Album Review

Cuban Fantasy consists of previously unissued selections from two 1977 concerts by Cal Tjader at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco, though this is anything but an example of clearing out tape vaults simply to issue new product. Joined by pianist Clare Fischer, conga player Poncho Sanchez, guitarist Bob Redfield, bassist Rob Fisher, and drummer Pete Riso, Tjader energizes the crowd with his interpretation of Ray Bryant's infectious "Cuban Fantasy," switching over from vibes to timbales to build it to an exciting climax. Fisher contributed the subtle "Guarabe," while the engaging arrangement of Mongo Santamaria's "Tu Crees Que?" would have had the audience on their feet dancing had this been recorded outdoors. This is one of Cal Tjader's best groups, and it is a shame that this music remained hidden for a quarter century.

Biography

Born: July 16, 1925 in St. Louis, MO

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s

Cal Tjader was undoubtedly the most famous non-Latino leader of Latin jazz bands, an extraordinary distinction. From the 1950s until his death, he was practically the point man between the worlds of Latin jazz and mainstream bop; his light, rhythmic, joyous vibraphone manner could comfortably embrace both styles. His numerous recordings for Fantasy and Verve and long-standing presence in the San Francisco Bay Area eventually had a profound influence upon Carlos Santana, and thus Latin rock. He also...
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Cuban Fantasy, Cal Tjader
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