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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stellar,
This review is from: Afro-Cuban Fantasy (Audio CD)There's often a big divide between the West coast scene and the East coast when it comes to Latin jazz and, for that matter, salsa. It's strange for me at times because, being Cuban and having family that left when the terrorist Castro took over, I now find myself in Miami with some family in NYC. So, I am fully emersed in the East coast scene now (and have been for over 10 years) and absolutely LOVE it. HOWEVER...I grew up in San Francisco and lived there over 20 years. I grew up with a very healthy dose of Tjader, Baker, Pepper, Getz, Escovedo, the whole Haight street scene that became Ubiquity and Cubop - Matos, Santos, Vasquez, etc. That is still in my blood and courses through my veins to this day and I absolutely love it. So when I hear or read some idiot going off about how some West coast release isn't solid enough or is too laid back or that some East coast release is too firey and brash...it just makes me sick. Life's too short for that kind of mentality and, to be honest, in the end that type of opinion doesn't make a bit of difference. What does make the difference is the beautiful music contained on a release, the spirit it evokes, the community, the magic, and the feelings.
This release, it has it all.
Poncho is amazing to begin with. He always has been. You can get an even better sense of that through not just his music, but his contributions over at Descarga. And with this, we get so much offered to us, you only have to take advantage of it by buying it and listening to it. Once you do, you'll immeditately tap into what Poncho is giving and you'll feel what he's saying. And it's solid and it's amazing, as always. From beginning to end, this cd moves and sends you just like you want to be moved and sent. When I first heard some of it, I thought I was immediately listening to some of my old Fania records...like some long lost cross of Joe Bataan, Eddie Palmieri, Willie Colon and Johnny Pacheco, with Hector Lavoe laying down vocals. It just has that sense of community feel, and that tight of musicianship.
Make no doubt about it, get this release right away. You will not regret it.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Salsa con Huevos,
This review is from: Afro-Cuban Fantasy (Audio CD)If it wasn't for my little sister's good taste, I'd have never heard this gem. I love Latin jazz, but am often put off by slightly cheesy album covers (not this one) that Poncho and others have offered in the past. I know I shouldn't feel so as it's what's inside that counts. This album is pure ear candy, from Sanchez' driving percussion, to Dianne Reeves' smooth vocals, to the Tower of Power-like funky horn section. Even if you have no rhythm at all, you'll find yourself beating on your knees or your steering wheel and aching to dance! Only the commercial, top-fortyish lyrics of the otherwise infectuous Ven Pa Bailar mar this superb effort by Poncho Sanchez. It's truly salsa con huevos!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Poncho's Best,
This review is from: Afro-Cuban Fantasy (Audio CD)If you have to pick one Latin jazz CD to buy, it should be this one. From start to finish, it never disappoints. The rhythms, the horns, everything blends together to make some of the most incredible music you ever heard.
And Dianne Reeves' appearance certainly doesn't hurt. On the lush ballad "I Remember Spring," she charms the listener into a contented calm, though "Darn That Dream" doesn't really do much for me. "Morning," a beautiful tune, is one of the best tracks on the CD, just on the strength of Reeves' wild scatting. It's like nothing you've ever heard, like a sort of exotic birdcall. The song keeps building, through Scott Martin's scorching sax solo, through the chorus of "Una mañana" (which you'll find yourself repeating constantly), and until the moment the song fades out.
But the main attraction here is Poncho and his band, and they give you something to keep hitting the "repeat" button for. Standouts are the laid-back "Sambroso" and "Guapacha," Poncho's singing on "Ven Pa Bailar," and the lovely "Willow Weep for Me" cha-cha.
But the three best are "Close Your Eyes," the title track, and "Playboy's Theme." On "Close Your Eyes" (inspired by Cal Tjader's dreamy version with underrated great Jose "Chombo" Silva), Martin (one of the best sax players around by my measure) gets the spotlight and gives a smooth, romantic solo performance. "Afro-Cuban Fantasy" is one of the most beautiful songs I've ever heard. The breezy title track, "Afro-Cuban Fantasy" shows the epitome of the band's cool-salsa West Coast style. (However quiet this song seems, it is VERY loud when performed live!) And the dynamic "Playboy's Theme" is the band at its hot, spicy best! Arranged for them to play at a Playboy anniversary Jazz Festival, this explosive Latin jam gets you right from the beginning. Fantastic solos are everywhere, and you'll keep listening to this one again and again. (It's even more fun if you've heard the original by Cy Coleman, which can be found on Ultra-Lounge Volume 4, Bachelor Pad Royale.)
This is an amazing CD, for either Latin or jazz fans, or both, and a great introduction to Sanchez's stellar band. Don't miss this one!
5.0 out of 5 stars ANOTHER GREAT CD,
This review is from: Afro-Cuban Fantasy (Audio CD)LOVE PONCH SANCHEZ. MAKES YOU FEEL HAPPY AND MAKES YOU WANT TO DANCE AROUND AND HAVE A GOOD TIME, YOU CAN;T GO WRONG WITH THIS CD
5.0 out of 5 stars Poncho Does it Again,
This review is from: Afro-Cuban Fantasy (Audio CD)Afro-Cuban Fantasy is another great collection of Music by Poncho Sanchez. Poncho combines his great sound with the sultry voice of Dianne Reeves. Ms Reeves is featured on 3 Songs, "Morning, Darn that Dream, I Remember Spring". All three songs display Ms Reeves talent, and style. In fact her style reminds me of another talented pop and Jazz singer named Frank Sinatra. Plus, The instrumentals in this body of work are top drawer. If you like the combination of Jazz with a Latin twist. This is the album for you.
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome Latin Jazz,
This review is from: Afro-Cuban Fantasy (Audio CD)This one belongs in the Awesome Latin Jazz category without a doubt.
This is perhaps one of Poncho's best efforts (and that's a lot to say after so many of his recordings); not a weak track and lots of different rhtyhmic styles here, but all of them around Afro-Cuban = Latin Jazz.
His guests here are top of the line:
- Poncho Sanchez / Congas, Percussion & Vocals
- Tony Banda / Bass
- Dianne Reeves / Vocals
- David Torres / Piano
- Jose "Papo" Rodriguez / Bongos
- Ramoncito Banda / Timbales & Trap Drums
- Francisco Torres / Trombone
- Scott Martin / Flute and whole Saxophone Family
- Sal Cracchiolo / Trumpet & Flugelhorn
The great addition to this magnificent CD is Dianne Reeves on vocals on three cuts (two of them by Clare Fischer), I'd never seen a Jazz Vocalist like Dianne in any other Latin Jazz CDs, and it's an awesome combination.
This CD is one of those that make you use your REW button constantly.
A true landmark among the thousands of Latin Jazz records.
5.0 out of 5 stars Just great latin groove,
This review is from: Afro-Cuban Fantasy (Audio CD)I must admitt that I was not familiar with the name Poncho Sanchez until 5-6 months ago. My son are studying conga playing and and he brought home the instruction book by Poncho,,and bought some records as well. This one was the first one I heard and it brought back some fond memories of some records by Mongo Santamaria that I still got,,from the sixties. I now realised how much those old recordings by Mongo have meant to me during the years and when listening to Ponhco my old love for the latin jazz was there again. My gosh...it is is really funky
Some tunes that I really love is
Subway Harry...it really reminds mne of the funky grooves by Mongo Santamaria..that chacha groove kills me
Darn that Dream...with Diane Reeves wonderful singing that really "spice up" the the tune and with Ponchos relaxed conga playing backing her up
Willow Weep For me...done as a chacha...Beautful flute solo by
Afro Cuban Fantasy...great percussion work allover,,the tune hints to Mc Coy Tyner especially David Torres pianoplaying
Close Your Eyes....ballad chacha with a cookin soprano solo by Scott Marin
This is music that you get addicted to..
4.0 out of 5 stars Another triumph for the master,
This review is from: Afro-Cuban Fantasy (Audio CD)I guess I am a bit surprised to hear so many reviewers talking about how 'lite' the sound is on this disc. I guess you can certainly classify the sound as non driving but it's the subtlety that makes this such a great disc. And although it may be 'lite' I always find myself wanting to get up and salsa. So take that for what it's worth.
Pancho is just the master. My only disappointment is with Guapacha which to me is kinda bland (although I don't speak spanish so perhaps i'm missing something). Plus i've heard much better versions of Darn that Dream than this one. The album would actually have been better without these two cuts because the rest of the material is very rhythmic.
The highlight of the album though has to be the title cut 'Afro Cuban Fantasy'. I heard them play it live at WolfTrap (northern Virginia) about 2 years ago and it was beyond awesome. Papa Rodriguez played some incomprehensible rhythms during the performance. I swear that I had never heard a rhythm like that but when I heard it the sound was so logical it was like a revelation. The next best has to be 'Morning' with Dianne Reeves doing a great job of scattin'.
I personally like the Latin Soul album more than this one but this is the album that introduced me to Poncho so it get's alot of time in my player.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great CD!!!,
By A Customer
This review is from: Afro-Cuban Fantasy (Audio CD)The songs on here are great and the performances with Dianne Reeves are great. Scott Martin on sax kicks butt on Morning on his soprano. I recommend this record.
4.0 out of 5 stars Darned fine, lemme tell ya',
By A Customer
This review is from: Afro-Cuban Fantasy (Audio CD)Darned fine album. Especially the Dianne Reeves tracks. It needs to be asked though, just how much Poncho has to do with any of this since David Torres does most of the arranging. I saw Poncho when he came to boston....sounds great live!
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