- Released: February 5, 2013
- Label: Big Break
- 1.La Piedra del Sol
- 2.Mamita Linda
- 3.Ain't Got No Special Woman
- 4.Empty Prophet
- 5.Can't Take the Funk Out of Me
- 6.Peace Everybody
- 7.Non Pacem
- 8.Ah! Ah!
- 9.Love Not Then
- 11.Theme: La Piedra del Sol
- 12.Ain't Got No Special Woman [Single Version]
- 13.Mamita Linda [Single Version]
Azteca: Mel Martin (soprano, tenor & baritone saxophone, flute, piccolo); Bob Ferreira (tenor saxophone, piccolo); George DiQuattro (piano, clavinet); Paul Jackson (acoustic bass, fender bass); Lenny White III (vocals, drums); Victor Pantoja (vocals, conga drums); Pete Escovedo, Errol Knowles, Wendy Haas, Rico Reyes (vocals); Neal Schon, Jim Vincent (guitar); Tom Harrell (trumpet); Jules Rowell (trombone); George Muribis (electric piano); Flip Nunez (organ); Coke Escovedo (timbales).
Recorded at Columbia Studios, San Francisco, California, in 1972.
In all likelihood, Azteca never would've had a major-label contract if it weren't for Santana, the trailblazing San Franciscan group that made Latin rhythms acceptable. Azteca had a stronger Latin bent than Santana, particularly on their eponymous 1972 debut that is dense with polyrhythms and horns, dipping occasionally into a Cinemascope presentation of saccharine emotions. That sentimentality and on-the-nose celebrations ("You Can't Take the Funk Out of Me"), along with a general hippie-dippy vibe, give the album a period-piece flavor but there is much to savor here, especially in how all involved enjoy playing with the groove, letting it breathe and expand, sometimes happy to let it ride upwards of seven minutes. Azteca is too undisciplined to be a minor gem but it's still charming: it envisions a world without borders and that's hard to resist even when it's not always well articulated. [BBR's 2013 expansion contains single versions of "Ain't Got No Special Woman" and "Mamita Linda" as bonus tracks.] ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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