Songlines, November/December 08
“Hepcats of salsa and mambo”
This latest Nascente box-set confirms that their Beginner’s Guide series offers outstanding value. DJs Lubi Jovanovic and Simon Hodge have compiled an intelligent package full of thoughtfully sequenced goodies. The chronological split works better than other themed sets on the market and makes it a genuine guide.
The first CD’s overview of the 1940s, 50s and 60s starts, appropriately, with a Tito Puente classic, but eschews the predictable en route to Dizzy Gillespie’s evergreen ‘Tin Tin Deo’: we hear Charlie Parker with Machito, an essential slice of 60s soul jazz from Les McCann, Eddie Cano’s quirky take on ‘A Hard Day’s Night’, and a cracking cut from Louie Ramirez; these are but a few of the gems included.
There’s more of a South American focus to the second CD’s skip through the 70s: Gilberto Gil, Airto Moreira, Gato Barbieri, the splendid Spanish-based Jayme Marques and the infectiously funky Banda Black Rio. Cold Blood’s version of Donny Hathaway’s ‘Valdez in the Country’ is a leaping beauty and Malo’s ‘Oye Mama’ should get you searching the cut-out bins for more. CD three then brings us up to date via the likes of Bobby Matos’s excellent splicing of ‘So What’ and ‘Impressions’, Pucho’s torrid version of ‘Sex Machine’, Tania Maria’s vocal gymnastics on ‘Dear Dee Vee’ and Hilton Ruiz playing piano on ‘Michael’s Mambo’ then organ on ‘MAW Latin Blues’, with the special guests of Nuyorican Soul. We end, highly appropriately, with Tito Puente – this time live in concert. The applause is thunderous.
This set is highly recommended for beginners and veterans alike.