Pianist, composer, arranger, and bandleader Perez Prado did much to make mambo an international sensation. An infectious mix of Afro-Cuban polyrhythms, boisterous horn charts, and swinging rhythmic and harmonic principles borrowed from jazz, mambo is as irresistible today as it was in its 1950s heyday. THE BEST OF MAMBO collects 20 highlights from Prado and his orchestra's output. These tracks are taken from the latter part of Prado's career (when he began to tailor his frenetic, original sound toward a more streamlined style, with elements of then-popular "lounge" music thrown in).
Here Prado's charts--ambitious, catchy, and technically precise--veer from towering walls of sound to subtle, minor-key slink. There are even some funky bass lines and a few numbers with vocals (both lead and chorus). Most of the tracks are Prado originals, with a handful of exceptions, including a shuffling cover of "Besame Mucho." The "extended resolution" of the JVC compact disc promises higher fidelity; the sound is, in fact, quite remarkable, and helps to make up for the conspicuous lack of liner notes and session information.