Mongo at the Village Gate finds Mongo Santamaria entering the boogaloo era with a variety of funky pieces that show the influence of R&B and soul-jazz without losing the group's roots in Cuban music. The infectious live set teams the conguero with trumpeter Marty Sheller, the reeds of Pat Patrick and Bobby Capers, pianist Rodgers Grant, bassist Victor Venegas, drummer Frank Hernandez, and the percussion of Chihuahua Martinez and Julian Cabrera. Such tunes as "Fatback," "Mongo's Groove," and "Creole" have happy, soulful, and simple melodies. This is one of Marty Sheller's best dates on trumpet, while Santamaria takes "My Sound" as a colorful unaccompanied solo. A remake of "Para Ti" is a welcome addition.
AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow