Mambo Birdland

Mambo Birdland

by Tito Puente


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Mambo Birdland

On this Grammy-winning CD, Puente and a 20-piece big band unleash a fiery live set at Birdland in New York City. The band is loaded with such all-stars as saxophonists Peter Yellin and Mitch Frohman, the equally legendary sax/flute master Mario Rivera, trumpeter Ray Vega, pianist Sonny Bravo, conga vet Jose Madera, bongo/conga man John Rodriguez, Jr., and lead vocalist Frankie Morales, among others. Puente's writing prowess is on display on seven of the 11 cuts. A wild combination of unison and counterpointed horns with churning rhythm informs the Puente-penned title track. Group vocals and swirling horns cement the guaguanco-based "Juventud del Presente," one of two pieces written by Silvestre Mendez. "Ban Ban Quere" is a famous Latin-jazz standard, done here in swift rumba mode featuring Bravo's deft montuno and off-tune coro. A quick tempo and steady, slow beat drive "Como Esta Miguel," which features a fine trombone solo from J.P. Torres. Rivera's immortal flute gives off a strong, steady vibe that the band picks up on for "Cha Cha Cha Mambo." The other Mendez track, "Guaguanco Margarito," is flavored by bata drums, and "Mi Mambia" features a group chorus in full bloom. The ultra-hot Puente chart "Mambo Gozon" is spurred by bubbling percussion led by Rodriguez and Tito on timbales (which he plays exclusively for this performance), while "Oye Mi Guaguanco" uses vocals and horns trading eights, then fours, in the initial melody lines. The set ends with two classics: "Ran Kan Kan" has feverish horns, jubilant singing, and a hefty timbale solo, while "Oye Como Va" is spiced with Rivera's brilliant flute accents. Puente has put out more than 100 recordings over his long career, but in little over an hour, this skillfully edited live session manages to capture the essence of that huge repertoire and get to the pure root of Latin jazz. Highly recommended.

Product Details

Release Date: 09/28/1999
Label: Rmm Records
UPC: 0602828404727
catalogNumber: 284047

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Tito Puente   Primary Artist,Timbales,Vocals
Pete Yellin   Alto Saxophone
Sonny Bravo   Piano
Lewis Kahn   Trombone
Bobby Porcelli   Alto Saxophone
Mario Rivera   Flute,Alto Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone
Christopher Washburne   Trombone
Louis Bauzo   Bata
Hector Colon   Trumpet
J.P. Torres   Trombone
Ray Vega   Trumpet,Flugelhorn
Pedro Rodriguez   Choir, Chorus
Carlos Henríquez   Bass
Kevin Bryan   Trumpet
Frankie Morales   Vocals

Technical Credits

Tito Puente   Arranger,Producer,Musical Director
Jon Fausty   Engineer
Jack Hooke   Producer
Ralph Mercado   Executive Producer
Joe Conzo   Liner Notes
Sylvestre Mendez   Composer
Silvestre Méndez   Composer

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