El Padrino

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Machito led one of the two or three finest mambo orchestras during the classic period (the late '40s and early '50s), and his innovations only continued during the '50s and '60s, when he recorded the sides heard on this Fania compilation. Almost perfectly divided between music from the late '50s and the '60s, El Padrino may lack all of his early mambos (the heart of his legend), but nonetheless, it includes plenty of great material, none better than his torrid 1965 number “Tanga,” which leads off this compilation, and while it's been collected numerous times in numerous contexts, it doesn't drag at all. Machito's exploration of all manner of Afro-Cuban rhythms and forms during these years is best heard on his classic (and focused) Latin LPs like Asia Minor and Kenya, but for the listener who wants all of it now, El Padrino is the place to find the most.

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