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Chicano Chant

El Chicano

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Album Review

El Chicano was never an easy band to categorize. Were they Latin rock, brown-eyed soul, funk, jazz fusion, or salsa? Truth be told, the Los Angeles combo offered all of those things. And while comparisons to Santana — an equally adventurous Mexican-American outfit from a different part of California — were inevitable, El Chicano had an energy of their own. This collection, which MCA assembled in 1997, looks back on the band's early-'70s heyday. Chicano Chant isn't really a best-of because some essential tracks are missing — most notably, the hit "Tell Her She's Lovely," which only reached number 40 on the pop singles chart but became a favorite in Mexican-American neighborhoods. Nonetheless, the tracks that MCA does offer are excellent, and the majority of them are Afro-Cuban-flavored jazz fusion instrumentals. The most famous is El Chicano's hit 1970 version of pianist Gerald Wilson's "Viva Tirado"; however, lovers of '70s jazz fusion will also find a lot to admire about "Viva La Raza," "El Grito," and "Juntos," all of which are quite loose and free-spirited. Meanwhile, "El Cayuco" is an infectious cha cha along the lines of Tito Puente's "Oye Como Va" (a major hit for Santana in the early '70s), Ray Barretto's "Cocinando," or Poncho Sanchez's "Sonando." Although the cha cha beat was created in Cuba, "El Cayuco" demonstrates that you don't have to be Cuban to take advantage of it. Two of the vocal-oriented and less-jazz-minded tracks are "Sabor a Mi" (a romantic Latin-style bolero) and El Chicano's arrangement of "Gringo in Mexico." But instrumental jazz fusion is the thing that dominates this rewarding CD.

Customer Reviews

El Chicano is the band for you if you like a free spirited latin jazz sound!

If you like Santana, WAR, or Tierra, you would love El Chicano. They are a household name from the 70's till present in Los Angeles. They are original in sound and have a high spirited tone! This album is great! Although El Chicano offers a lot more great tracks not in this album, this one captures most. I would absolutely RECOMMEND this album.

Biography

Formed: Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Alternative & Rock in Spanish

Years Active: '70s, '90s

Over the years, El Chicano has often been compared to Santana and, to be sure, there are a lot of parallels. Both are from California (although different parts of the state), both are led by Mexican-Americans, both have recorded in English as well as in Spanish, and both have favored a very eclectic and unpredictable mixture of rock, soul, funk, jazz, blues, and Afro-Cuban salsa. Further, there is no getting around the fact that El Chicano (whose Spanish name means "the Chicano" or "the Mexican-American")...
Full Bio
Chicano Chant, El Chicano
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