Altoist Pat Longo has long been a leader of big bands based in Southern California; bands that swing yet also perform some middle-of-the-road pop music. This particular set differs from his earlier recordings in that his orchestra is augmented by one or two Latin percussionists on each song, and the Latin rhythms are a major part of the arrangements. As usual, Longo utilizes many of Los Angeles' top jazz musicians. Trumpeter Carl Saunders is typically outstanding on "Manteca," and "In a Samba Mode," Barbara Morrison takes a couple vocals. Janelle Sadler sings Ben DiTosti's "Right Now," and other key soloists include tenor saxophonist Bob Efford, pianist Christian Jacob, altoist Kim Richmond, and trumpeter Bill Armstrong. Best are the Latin-oriented jazz selections, including "Summer Time Down South" (which is really "Summertime"), "Rhapsody In Blue" (which has Longo playing the melody on alto), and the funky blues "Lullaby of Bigfoot." Some of the other tracks (particularly "Rise" and "You Light Up My Life") are strictly dance music. Although it would have been preferred that the occasional dance tracks were replaced by more challenging jazz pieces, all in all this is a fine big band set.
AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow