Poncho Sanchez

Raise Your Hand

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    7
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AllMusic Review by

Conguero Poncho Sanchez grew up on salsa and Latin jazz, but his musical influences also included large doses of Stax and Muscle Shoals R&B. So for his latest album, he decided to pay tribute to both traditions: the result is a strange but seriously fun jumble of soul, salsa, son and jazz. Gratefully, he generally avoids trying to fuse them all into a single hybrid musical style; instead, he jumps from one to the other. The album opens and closes with classic-style soul songs: "Raise Your Hand" and "Knock on Wood," both featuring singer Eddie Floyd, organist Booker T. Jones, and guitarist Steve Cropper. In between is a range of material that includes a brilliant straight-ahead salsa number featuring Andy Montañez titled "El Agua de Belen," the gorgeous "Amor con Amor," a very fine Maceo Parker showcase titled "Maceo's House" (which actually does blend soul and Latin influences, and carries it off nicely) and a couple of less compelling numbers as well. But even the nice-but-not-earthshaking "Gestation" offers plenty of fun, and there really is not a single track on this album that is anything less than thoroughly enjoyable. Highly recommended overall.

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