- Released: October 6, 1997
- Label: Concord Records
Down Beat - 3/98, p.544 stars (out of 5)
- "...Santamaria knows all the Chano Pozo insinuations and subtleties, that way of getting right in the eye of a rhythm storm and gently coaxing it toward different tonalities and intensities..."
- 1.Dia de Playa, Un (A Day at the Beach) - (live) :: A Day At The Beach - (live)
- 2.Mayeya - (live)
- 3.Con Mi Ritmo
- 4.Tumba, La - (live)
- 5.Campesino, El - (live)
- 6.Manteca - (live)
- 7.Bonita - (live)
- 8.Para Ti - (live)
- 9.Come Candela
- 10.Afro Blue - (live)
Personnel: Mongo Santamar¡a (congas); Eddie Rodrigues (vocals, bongos, percussion, background vocals); Mitch Frohman (flute, tenor saxophone); Bobby Porcelli (flute, baritone saxophone); Sam Furnace (alto saxophone, baritone saxophone); Tony Hinson (tenor saxophone); Ray Vega (trumpet, flugelhorn, percussion, background vocals); Eddie Allen, Piro Rodriguez (trumpet); Bob Quaranta, Charlie Palmieri (piano); Humberto "Nengue" Hernandez, Pablo Rosario (bongos, percussion); Valtinho, Steve Thornton (percussion); Claudia Gomez, Ada Chabrier, Lu¡s C?spedes, Denice Nortez Wiener, Angelo-Mark Pagen, Merceditas Vald?s, Bernie Minoso (background vocals).
Audio Mixer: Phil Edwards .
Recording information: Coast Recorders, San Francisco, CA (04/06/1987-03/09/1990); Dimitriou's Jazz Alley, Seattle, WA (04/06/1987-03/09/1990); Penny Lane Studios, New York, NY (04/06/1987-03/09/1990).
Photographer: David Lubarsky.
Arrangers: Ray Martinez; Eddie Allen; Marty Sheller; Mongo Santamar¡a; Bob Quaranta.
In assembling its own "Mongo's Greatest Hits" entry, Concord Picante had only a slim catalog of four albums, a narrow time frame, and one of Mongo's less incendiary phases to choose from. But they stuck with a purist concept, avoiding pop covers and experiments, targeting Mongo's vintage standards and numbers that conjure some of the old Afro-Cuban heat, and they came up with a nice overview of the Picante years. Whenever possible, we get authentic guajiras, mambos and guarachas, as well as the charanga-band sound that harkens back to Mongo's recordings of the 1950s -- all now in gleaming modern sound. Some of the highlights: the hypnotic Cuban voodoo-like incantation of "La Tumba," stimulating live renditions of "Manteca" and "Afro Blue," and pianist Charlie Palmieri's valedictory appearance with Mongo on "Mayeya." While this wouldn't qualify as the basic Mongo collection, you will still find it vastly entertaining. ~ Richard S. Ginell