- Released: July 26, 2004
- Label: Concord Records
Vox (12/92, p.91) - 6 - Fair Plus - "..the total is never less than beautifully melodic...a not unpleasant introduction to the smoothly rhythmic, self-possessed world of Latin jazz.."
- 1.Just a Few
- 2.Son Son Charari
- 4.Lip Smacker
- 5.Angel - (bonus track)
- 6.Monk - (bonus track)
- 7.El Jamaiquino
- 9.Suave Cha
Personnel: Poncho Sanchez (congas, percussion, vocals), Justo Almario, Tom Casey (alto & tenor saxophone, flute), Sal Cracchiolo (trumpet, flugelhorn), Andy Martin (trombone), David Torres (piano), Tony Banda (bass, background vocals), Ramon Banda (timbales, percussion), Jose "Papo" Rodriguez (bongos, percussion, background vocals).
Personnel: Poncho Sanchez (vocals, congas, percussion, background vocals); Tom Casey, Justo Almario (flute, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone); Sal Cracchiolo (trumpet, flugelhorn); Andy Martin (trombone); David Torres (piano); Jos? Papo RodrĄguez (bongos, percussion, background vocals); Ramon Banda (timbales, percussion); Tony Banda (background vocals).
Liner Note Author: Carlos Lando.
Recording information: Ocean Way Recording Studios, Hollywood, CA (04/18/1992-04/19/1992).
Director: David Torres.
Illustrator: Sylvia Rogers.
Unknown Contributor Roles: David Torres; Larry Sanchez; Vickie Buller; Tom Casey; Justo Almario; Larry Hathaway; Andy Martin; Sal Cracchiolo; Jos? Papo RodrĄguez; Tony Banda; Ramon Banda.
A 1992 session by percussionist Poncho Sanchez and his seven-piece band (three horns, two more percussionists, piano, and bass), El Mejor hews closer to the jazz side of the Latin jazz description. Songs like "Sue¤os," the bossa nova-tinged "El Jamaiquino," and the flute-driven "Angel" are relaxed, even mellow, and despite the three conga and timbales players, pianist and musical director David Torres drives the band throughout, making the overall sound closer to the likes of Cal Tjader than Tito Puente. The focus on slow to mid-tempo tunes, most of them with vocals (by Sanchez, bassist Tony Banda, and bongo player Jos? Papo RodrĄguez), gives El Mejor a different feel than more up-tempo, groove-oriented Afro-Cuban jazz albums. In some ways, it's close to the sound repopularized by the Buena Vista Social Club albums about a half decade later; the bolero "Dichoso" is particularly similar. Although El Mejor translates as "The Best," note that this isn't a compilation album. ~ Stewart Mason