Personnel: Mongo Santamaria (congas); Mongo Santamaria; Sam Furnace (alto saxophone); Tony Hinson (tenor saxophone); E.J. Allen (trumpet); Ray Martinez (bass instrument); John Andrews (drums); Humberto "Nengue" Hernandez (bongos, bata, guiro, timbales, percussion); Pablo Rosario, Eddie Rodrigues (percussion); Mitch Frohman (flute, soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone); Bobby Porcelli (alto saxophone, baritone saxophone); Ray Vega (trumpet); Bob Quaranta (piano); Johnny Almendra (drums, timbales).
Instant Party includes 11 tracks by the late bandleader and Latin percussion master Mongo Santamaria that focus on his '80s and early-'90s recordings for the Concord label. Taken from the albums Soca Me Nice, Ol? Ola, Soy Yo, and Live at Jazz Alley, tracks like "Soca Me Nice," "Tropical Breeze," "Mother Jones," and the Lennon/McCartney standard "Day Tripper" are pleasant, fun, and festive, but lack the heat of his earlier sides on Fantasy and Columbia. While it is impossible to properly highlight Mongo Santamaria with only 11 tracks, Instant Party comes in handy for the novice listener trying to sort out the various periods of his recording career. ~ Al Campbell