Soul Sauce! is a collection highlighting the soulful, funky side of Latin jazz. This hot, incessantly groovin' collection turns this gathering of Latin jazz giants into an instant Latin jazz party with rhythms ranging from guaracha and the guaguanco to the ChaChaCha and the bolero. Tito Puente's most recognizable Afro-Cuban ChaChaCha, "Oye Como Va," which goes down in Latin jazz history as the most popular tune recorded by Tito Puente and one that Carlos Santana retuned as a rock classic in 1971, is included on this CD from Puente's Grammy-winning El Rey. Tito Puente and His Latin Ensemble turn the house upside down on this "live" Latin jazz classic that burned his image into the Latin jazz consciousness of those that ever witnessed his magnificent shows. The CD takes its title from Cal Tjader's "Guachi Guaro" ("Soul Sauce") his spicy hot hit from Good Vibes. They are good vibes that take you straight to the source of the Dizzy Gillespie and Chano Pozo hit that helped to launch and sustain the Latin jazz scene. This song still ignites the funkin' flames of conguero Poncho Sanchez's solo on this "live" track that exemplifies the brilliance of his chops. When Herbie Hancock wrote "Watermelon Man," he probably never imagined the treatment Poncho Sanchez with special guest Mongo Santamaria would give it when they picked up the charts. Originally issued on Conga Blue, this rare track by Poncho will get your groove on. The Concord Picante catalog is even more soulful because of its inclusion of "Angel Eyes" by Hendrik Muerkens, and "New World Spirit" by Ray Baretto & New World Spirit. Ray Vega's trumpet is on fire on the fiery "Birks Works" from Boperation and "Esta Noche" by Pete Escovedo will have you "flyin south" to soak up the rhythms first hand on this united Latin jazz jam. The ever so hip CD also includes the funky, Brazilian "Funky Tamborin" by Tania Maria from her CD entitled Love Explosion and the lively soul of "Rum and Coke" by Ed Calle. This third release in the Colors of Latin Jazz series is one brilliant explosion of the soulful colors and styles of Latin jazz. Soul Sauce is a must add to your collection of Latin jazz.
AllMusic Review by Paula Edelstein