El Chicano

Painting the Moment

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After a long recording hiatus, East L.A.'s El Chicano resurfaces as poignant and enriching as ever. Did they ever leave? You'd think not as they tease and titillate, pulling an assortment of emotional strings on these 11 Latin/Tex-Mex etchings, including "Song for My Father" (shades of Santana's "Black Magic Woman"), "Sketches (Of a Cultural Bridge)," and "Cosa Mia"; Cleto Escobedo's alto sax charms like the Pied Piper throughout, but is especially sinewy on the title cut, and "Jive Sambo" will have you bumping on Sunset and reminiscing about Wes Montgomery. A well-received set wherever it received airplay and one of the better smooth jazz efforts of the late '90s.

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