Cal Tjader’s Modern Mambo Quintet – Mambo with Tjader {Fantasy}[OJC]

Review by Scott Yanow
Vibraphonist Cal Tjader was quickly becoming one of the most important forces in Latin jazz when he recorded the infectious music on this CD reissue. Joined by pianist Manuel Duran, bassist Carlos Duran, and a couple of percussionists, Tjader performs Latinized versions of such standards as “Cherry,” “This Can’t Be Love,” “I’ll Remember April,” “Autumn Leaves,” and even “Sonny Boy.” Decades later, this highly rhythmic music (which helped lay the groundwork for Latin jazz in general) still sounds fresh and lively.

01. Mamblues (mambo) 2:28
02. Midnight Sun (cha cha cha) 3:58
03. Sonny Boy (mambo) 2:37
04. Cherry (cha cha cha) 3:25
05. I’ll Remember April (bolero) 3:22
06. This Can’t Be Love (mambo) 3:05
07. Tenderly (bolero) 3:49
08. Dearly Beloved (cha cha cha) 3:58
09. Chloe (mambo) 2:32
10. Lucero (mambo) 3:17
11. Bye Bye Blues (mambo) 2:59
12. Autumn Leaves (bolero) 2:49

Cal Tjader – vibes
Manuel Duran – piano
Carlos Duran – bass
Bayardo Velarde – timbales, bongos
Edgard Rosales – congas

Recorded Fall 1954.

Genre: Jazz
Style: Latin Jazz
Label: Fantasy / OJC
Year: 1992
Time: 38:19

Quality-1: flac (tracks, eac, cue, log), full artwork
Quality-2: mp3@320, full artwork


Stan Getz with Cal Tjader {Fantasy}[xrcd]

Review by Richard S. Ginell (

An amazing ad-hoc session, thrown together in a San Francisco studio with now legendary personnel from two different groups. The lineup says it all — a meeting of the Latin jazz maestro and the future champion of Brazilian jazz, plus, from Tjader’s group, Vince Guaraldi on piano and guitarist Eddie Duran, and from Getz’s band, the then unknown teenager Scott LaFaro on bass and Billy Higgins on drums. A moment for the history books is an 11-minute workout on Guaraldi’s pentatonic souvenir of Tokyo, “Ginza Samba,” where the fast-samba theme finds Getz blowing to a Brazilian rhythm four years before “Desafinado.” The jamming, though, is in a straight-ahead bebop groove where Getz’s eloquence unfolds with almost unearthly ease. The rest of the album alternates between lyric ballads and solid, though non-Latin, swinging where Tjader, Guaraldi, and Duran graft onto the great Getz rhythm section like they’ve been playing together for decades (check out the funky combustion on “Crow’s Nest”). Collectors’ note: when Getz became a bossa nova star, this album was reissued in 1963 as Stan Getz With Cal Tjader with a different set of liner notes and remains available on LP and cassette in this form.

01 – Ginza Samba
02 – I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face
03 – For All We Know
04 – Crow’s Nest
05 – Liz-Anne
06 – Big Bear
07 – My Buddy

Stan Getz – tenor saxophone
Cal Tjader – vibes
Vince Guaraldi – piano
Eddie Duran – guitar
Scott LaFaro – bass
Billy Higgins – drums

Recorded at Circle Record Studios, San Francisco; February 8, 1958.

Quality: eac, flac, cue, log, artwork

Cal Tjader – Solar Heat {DCC}

Review by Ken Secor (

Latin flavor with no loss of swing. I bought this album when vinyl was ‘it’. The quality of the record was terrible and I was crushed because of the outstanding musical talent and awesome vibes of one of my all-time favorite vibraharpists – and the poor quality of the record.
Now that CD’s are it, I would love to get my hands on this great assortment of Cal’s fine playing and some truly brilliant tunes. But alas, today – it appears only a used CD is available. Hopefully, someone will press a few more for Cal’s fans and this – one of his best works – not far from Several Shades epicwise, will return. The line starts here!

01 – Ode to Billy Joe
02 – Never My Love
03 – Felicidade
04 – Mambo Sangria
05 – Here
06 – Fried Bananas
07 – Amazon
08 – La Bamba
09 – Eye of the Devil
10 – Solar Heat

Cal Tjader – vibes
Joao Donato – organ
Bobby Rodriguez or Chuck Rainey – bass
Ray Barretto and Orestes Vilato – latin percussion
Mike Abene – electric piano and harpsichord
Gary McFarland – vibes

Recorded January 15, 1968 at A&R Recording Studios, NY

Quality: eac, flac, cue, log, artwork

Cal Tjader & Carmen McRae – Heat Wave {Concord}

Review by “A Customer” (

Let me start by saying that if your idea of jazz does not include “outside” influences, then forget it, if you think that there can be a “pure” form of jazz, then go somewhere else. This recording is one of the earlier truly equal marriages of jazz and Latin music, where both parts work together, and the playing is fantastic! The whole band works as one unit, no small feat when there are two (beautifully understated when that is what’s required) trombones and one singer.
With this recording, Carmen McRae continues the well established tradition (see Billie Holiday, Cassandra Wilson, Christian McBride etc etc etc) of taking pop songs and giving them a new workout. She takes Evil Ways, originally by Tjader’s former band member Willie Bobo, and gives it the sultriest rendition I have ever heard, and her versions of Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing, All is Fair and Heat Wave have real personality and warmth. (Possibly the only downside for me is McRae’s vocals on Besame Mucho, but I only noticed the problem since I began learning Spanish!)
Cal Tjader executes one of the best solos of his recorded career on Evil Ways, and plays with great sensitivity on Upside Down and Besame Mucho. This was the last album Tjader made before he died, and when conguero Poncho Sanchez then struck out on his own, he took part of the band with him. Who could blame him? These guys can really play!
The repertoire swings from jazz to Latin, deliacte (Upside Down, All is Fair), to powerful (Love, Evil Ways) and everybody handles everything easily, including the merengue interpretation of Love with the drum kit playing a modification of a standard jazz patterns, as well as all the Latin-izing. And what a wonderful change it is to hear Latin jazz album that is not purely Cuban or Brazilian influenced, but takes ideas and rhythms from a few places. The recording quality is smooth and clear, everthing you could possibly want is right here.
Jazz? No. Latin jazz? You bet, and awesome Latin jazz at that!

01 – Heat Wave
02 – All in Love is Fair
03 – Besame Mucho
04 – Evil Ways
05 – Do Nothing Till You Hear from Me
06 – Love
07 – Upside Down (Flor de Lis)
08 – The Visit
09 – Speak Low
10 – Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing

Cal Tjader – vibes
Carmen McRae – vocals
Mashall Otwell, Mark Levine – piano
Rob Fisher – bass
Vince Lateano – drums
Poncho Sanchez – congas and percussion
Ramon Banda – timbales and percussion
Al Bent, Mike Heathman – trombone

Recorded at Coast Recorders, San Francisco, California, January 1982.

Quality: eac, flac, cue, log, artwork