Cal Tjader

Hip Vibrations

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Cal Tjader recorded frequently for Verve during the 1960s, yet this is one of his more unusual sessions. Instead of fronting his regular group in a typical Latin setting, the vibraphonist plays arrangements by Benny Golson or Bobby Bryant, accompanied a band that includes Ernie Royal, Marvin Stamm, J.J. Johnson, Jerome Richardson, Mel Lewis, either Ron Carter or Richard Davis on bass, and three different pianists: Herbie Hancock, Patti Bown, or John Bunch. The solo focus is almost exclusively on the leader in these fairly brief charts, though there are brief spotlights on Richardson and Hancock. The best tracks are Golson's "Blues March," John Lewis' "Django," and Tjader's "Hip Vibrations." A pair of current pop songs of the day ("Georgy Girl" and "Windy," the latter a hit for the rock group the Association) seem a little out of place but prove to be no more than innocuous. This 1967 session has long been out of print and seems like it might be an unlikely candidate for reissue, but there's enough good music within it to justify picking it up if it can be located.

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