Pucho & His Latin Soul Brothers

The Hideout

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In 2004, a 65-year-old Pucho was quoted as saying, "A piano player and a bass player in my band has to play three types of music: he has to play jazz, he has to play funk and he has to play Latin." The veteran percussionist/bandleader no doubt made similar statements 40 years earlier; over the years, Pucho & His Latin Soul Brothers have never had a problem combining soul-jazz and Afro-Cuban jazz. Pucho has bridged the gap between Machito, Tito Puente, Mongo Santamaria and Cal Tjader on one hand, and Gene Harris, Stanley Turrentine and Jack McDuff on the other (minus an organ), and that vision continues to serve him pleasingly well on Hideout. The New Yorker named this album, which Todd Barkan produced in 2003 and 2004, after a notoriously rough club that was located in West Harlem not far from Columbia University back in the '60s. The Hideout probably closed around 1970, and in 2004, there was a bodega where the club once stood. Despite The Hideout's reputation for violence, Pucho appreciated the fact that the owner "took good care of the musicians" -- and this album is a tribute to his early years in the music business. Pucho fondly recalls that time on memorable, inspired performances of songs ranging from Les Baxter's "Quiet Village" to Bebo Valdés' "Guajeo de Dominante" to Stevie Wonder's "Superstition." Not everything on this disc was actually written in the '50s or '60s; "Superstition," for example, was a number one hit for Wonder in 1972 (about two years after the Hideout closed), and bassist Harvie S. (Harvie Swartz) contributed three new tunes to the album. But overall, this CD has a nostalgic feeling, and it's a solid addition to Pucho's catalog.

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