Various Artists

Saoco! Masters of Afro-Cuban Jazz

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Taking its name from a Mongo Santamaria song (included here), Saoco! Masters of Afro-Cuban Jazz is an 18-track compilation that indeed shows off the work of some of the great Latin jazz (or Afro-Cuban) players. Innovators like Cachao and the aforementioned Santamaria, as well as stars like Charlie Palmieri, Tito Puente, Machito, Cal Tjader, Ray Barretto, and Willie Bobo are all included, as well as some lesser-known but still talented players like Sabu Martinez, Mark Weinstein, and Ocho. It's a long album, with a lot of great cuts and great horn, piano, and percussion work -- and because of the selection of artists, it works not only as a nice introduction to the genre (without focusing only on the big hits) but should please avid Latin jazz fans as well.

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