Album Year: 1980
Latin Jazz Style: Nuyorican Descarga
Why You Should Hear It: A number of artists walk the line between the dance oriented grooves of salsa and the improvisatory flair of Latin Jazz, but no one has done it quite as well as the Fania All-Stars – a fact that is clearly evident on California Jam. While many Fania All-Stars albums focused heavily upon the group members’ salsa roots with a smattering of jazz improvisation thrown into the mix, California Jam holds true to its name by delivering a killer descarga. Pianist Papo Lucca tears through a ferocious solo on “Vente Conmigo,” grabbing the song’s powerful drive and pushing it even further. The group exposes an elegant side to their musicianship on the danzon “Guajira Para Los Pollos,” giving a good deal of solo space to flautist Johnny Pacheco. “Taxi To Aguadilla” is a study in Latin bass, filled with an extended improvisation from Bobby Valentín, who goes through a number of great rhythmic variations. All the different members of the group trade short solo phrases on “Seis Con El Mismo Sabor,” and the enthusiastic performances just explode from the recording. The heavy percussion section comes to the forefront on “The War Gods,” treating us to unforgettable performances from Ray Barretto, Roberto Roena, and Nicky Marrero. Throughout their illustrious history, there was never any doubt that the members of the Fania All Stars could tear down the house with a spontaneous descarga, but California Jam gives them the opportunity to flex their jazz chops in a loose, head spinning, and unforgettable display of Latin Jazz mastery.
Important Musicians On The Album:
Interesting Facts About The Album:
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