Afro-Blues Quintet + 1

Introducing the Afro-Blues Quintet + One

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An obscure album from an obscure L.A.-based jazz combo, the surprise is finding how much it swings. Possible reasons: the youthful exuberance of its then-22-year-old leader and vibesman Joe De Aguero, the clever arrangements of standards and pop tunes, the live recording (though no date or location is given). Some reasons why, on the other hand, it's not as good as it could be: a sameness to the arrangements (similar chord changes and runs in both "Liberation" and "Together" really stand out), soloing that never stakes its claim, missed opportunities to really add the "Afro" (read: African percussion) that makes up half of its name. The main ingredient here is a gospel swing that infects "Jericho" as well as an inventive take on "Walk On By." Long out of print, this album is worth hunting down.

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