Poncho Sanchez

The Ultimate Latin Dance Party

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As of 2002, conga player Poncho Sanchez had been recording for Concord Records' Concord Picante imprint for 20 years, a good point at which to pause and take stock of his 20 albums for the label. The Ultimate Latin Dance Party does just that, selecting 23 key tracks from 18 of those albums on a two-disc set running over two hours. Sanchez pays tribute to his predecessors on such songs as Herbie Hancock's "Watermelon Man," Dizzy Gillespie's "A Night in Tunisia," and a "Tito Medley" dedicated to Tito Puente and including "Oye Como Va." Among the guest stars joining his band are Joey DeFrancesco, Eddie Harris, Mongo Santamaria, and Puente himself. While this best-of cannot replace Sanchez's extensive catalog for fans, it is a generous compilation for more general listeners, who should be able to get a good idea of the conga player's lively, exuberant style.

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