Mongo Santamaria

Soca Me Nice

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Since 1962, Mongo Santamaria has led a series of top Afro-Cuban Latin jazz bands that effectively combine Cuban rhythms with bop-oriented jazz solos. Santamaria had a new horn section at the time of this 1988 recording (reissued on CD) that consisted of trumpeter Ray Vega, altoist Bobby Porcelli (also heard on baritone and flute) and tenor saxophonist Mitch Frohman. The octet also includes three percussionists, with Mongo on congas and bongos. The band mostly sticks to group originals, with a major exception being the Lennon/McCartney song "Day Tripper," which is turned into heated Latin jazz. An enjoyable set filled with spirited performances.

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