Ocho

Ocho

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Led by arranger and pianist Chico Mendoza, Ocho was an octet (naturally) heavy on the woodwinds (sax, flute) and percussion (congas, timbales, bongos). Their first album illustrated Mendoza's arranging talents and the group's loose-limbed jamming skills, which made them sound like a skilled electric jazz group jamming around boogaloo figures (closest to Santana or Willie Bobo's late-'60s sound). Their originals weren't spectacular, and attempts to "get with the times" fall flat (as on "Undress My Mind"), but the band played well together and hired-gun vocalists Willie Torres and Jimmy Sabater helped focus the album.

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