If a label wanted to assemble the definitive Latin jazz compilation and could license anything it wanted, there would be a ton of material to choose from. Ideally, such a collection would start out with Jelly Roll Morton in the 1920s (illustrating his use of the "Spanish tinge," as he called it) before getting into the essential recordings of Dizzy Gillespie, Machito, Tito Puente, Mongo Santamaria, Cal Tjader, and other heavyweights who were famous for combining jazz with Afro-Cuban rhythms. But this CD, which was one of two Real Latin Jazz compilations that Latin Beat Magazine and The Right Stuff joined forces for in 2000, doesn't claim to be historic. Instead, the disc focuses on Latin jazz in the 1990s, with selections by Ray Vega (Lee Morgan's "Mr. Kenyatta"), Steve Turre ("Mongo & McCoy"), Dave Valentin ("Sam's Groove"), and others. Most of the material is hard bop or post-bop with Afro-Cuban rhythms, although Tony Martinez' exuberant "De la Habana a Bahia" contains both Afro-Cuban and Brazilian elements. Collectors won't be happy to hear that The Right Stuff fails to list personnel or provide exact recording dates. But even so, this isn't a bad CD to have in your collection. Although far from definitive, this compilation is consistently likable.
AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson