Mongo Santamaria

Watermelon Man

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Herbie Hancock's "Watermelon Man" was a gigantic hit for Mongo Santamaria in 1962, doing for him in the '60s what Pérez Prado's big mambo hits did for him in the '50s. Naturally, then, the follow-up LP to the single is devoted to 12 airplay-length tracks loaded with bright, swinging Latin cha-chas and mambo rhythms mixed with blues, soul, and jazz, presumably suitable for twisting the night away. Rodgers Grant's piano supplies a good deal of the harmonic foundation of jazz, with the help of an occasional jazz solo from saxes Pat Patrick and Bobby Capers, while Marty Sheller's commanding party-time trumpet rides above Santamaria's thundering congas. In this setting, even the venerable "The Peanut Vendor" is brought right up to date.

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