Shorty Rogers acknowledges the influence of Afro-Cuban music on this RCA Victor date, with a big band that is augmented by no fewer than eight Latin percussionists, along with drummer Shelly Manne. The leader is heard on flügelhorn exclusively. The entire first side of the record is devoted to "Wuayacañanga Suite," a collaborative work by Rogers, Carlos Vidal, and Modesto Duran. Although the vocal segments can grow tiresome quickly, the variety within this extended suite is compelling. The flip side salutes earlier Afro-Cuban compositions by a number of jazz masters. His percolating arrangement of Dizzy Gillespie's "Manteca" is stretched out considerably, while the less well-known Duke Ellington-Juan Tizol piece "Moon Over Cuba" demonstrates the lyrical dimension of this style. Bud Powell's thrilling "Un Poco Loco" is played at a furious tempo, with a brilliant exchange between the individual horns and brass. Sadly, none of the soloists are identified on this highly recommended LP, which has been reissued overseas as Manteca Afro-Cuban Influence, but it has not reappeared in the U.S.
AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden