Tito Rodriguez

Latin Twist

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Apart from the bulk of his career as a Latin crooner, Tito Rodriguez made a few very fun dance records. His early mambo orchestra even featured percussion virtuoso Sabu Martinez, who was later to join Art Blakey and launch a legendary "exotica" solo career. Anyway, Latin Twist from 1962 features a lot of variety in both song choice and style. But, any unevenness is attributable only to the incredible strength of the title track and a few others. The whole record is good, whether it's twist, Latin twist, swinging crime jazz, or big-band cha cha cha.

This is perhaps the only record of its kind -- ably serving as revved-up party record, early 1960s Latin showcase, and introduction to the great Tito Rodriguez in his New York Palladium era. The standards are stellar, at least one cover is sensational ("Something for Cat" from Henry Mancini's Breakfast at Tiffany's soundtrack), and the performances are a knockout. It was produced by Nick Perito, who earlier had made some brassy Latin records of his own. This is one to seek out.

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