This CD collection is a great improvement over the original, as it doubles the length of the original ten-track selection with ten more tracks from Cal Tjader's Greatest Hits, Vol. 2. The absence of session dates in the liner notes is an uncharacteristic annoyance, but what you basically need to know is that it's a 20-track distillation of the 26 records Tjader made for Fantasy over a nine-year period in the 1950s and 1960s. It's prime Latin jazz with a cool slant, leading off of course with his greatest moment, "Soul Sauce," and including such favorites as "Mamblues" and Mongo Santamaria's "Afro Blue," as well as covers of tunes from West Side Story. Santamaria, Vince Guaraldi, Willie Bob, Stan Getz, Shelly Manne, Scott LaFaro, and Billy Higgins are the most illustrious of the numerous sidemen found on the collection. Completists should note that one of the tracks from Cal Tjader's Greatest Hits, Vol. 2 ("America") was left off of this anthology for space reasons.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger