Mocha Motion, Freddie Roach's second album for Prestige, is a more consistently funky affair than its eclectic predecessor, and that's both a good and bad thing. Good, because the album works up a solid groove that's maintained from start to finish; bad, because more of the material leans toward the generic. There's an underlying Latin tinge to many of the tracks thanks to conga player Ralph Dorsey, but the dominant feel is unquestionably soul-jazz. Roach absolutely smokes on the album's best track, "Samba de Orfeo," his dense solos conveying the mad celebration of Carnival in Brazil; guitarist Vinnie Corrao contributes some impressive red-hot licks of his own. "Warning Shot," adapted from the movie of the same name, is another intriguing performance, and Roach changes things up by taking a vocal on the bluesy Vietnam protest "Johnnie's Comin' Home No More" (it's a little shaky, but sincere enough to come across well). Elsewhere, Roach partially redeems the less memorable tracks with his fleet-fingered solo work, but it's not quite enough to prevent Mocha Motion from becoming one of his weaker releases.
AllMusic Review by Steve Huey