Mongo Santamaría


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Summertime Review

by Scott Yanow

This is a decent set (reissued on CD) that does not live up to its potential. Percussionist Mongo Santamaria teams up with Dizzy Gillespie, a personal hero who had helped found Afro-Cuban jazz over 30 years earlier, and the great harmonica player Toots Thielemans. In addition, there are three horn players and a standard rhythm section (with drummer Steve Berrios doubling on timbales). However, the four lengthy jams (which include a 14½-minute "Afro Blue" and a version of "Summertime" that is over 11½ minutes) are overly long. Gillespie's trumpet playing was clearly past its prime, and the magic one would expect from the matchup of these three giants does not really occur. An OK set, but overall, the results are disappointingly forgettable music.

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