Sunday, December 17, 2006

Long live Mighty Mongo

Mongo Santamaria: Los Indios and What You Don't Know
From Afro-Indio (Fania, 1975)

His classic tune "Afro-Blue" is one of my favourite. And wow (!), I'm still surprising by the musicians who played with Mongo at the time in 1959 (Willie Bobo, Francisco Aguabella, Carlos Vidal, Armando Peraza...). Firstly attracted by latin-jazz, Cuban percussionist Mongo Santamaria released album in the 60's tied to soul/funk music... and in the 70's he introduced his music to "electrification". In Afro-Indio, Mongo covers other soul/funk tunes, Creepin by Stevie Wonder and Lady Marmelade, a hit for soul diva Patti Labelle. Once again, Bernard Purdie is on drums. Los Indios is a seven-minute tune. It begins with a spatial Fender Rhodes and next, Mongo plays an interesting latin-groove.

According to Bobby Sanabria, author of the liner notes, "If you look at Ron Levine's beautiful cover art for "Afro-Indio", you'll immediatly get Mongo's message. As legendary program director for NYC's then R&B powerhouse radio station WBLS used to say, The total Black experience in sound. Long live Mighty Mongo."



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