Machito and his Orchestra
The Original Mambo Kings: An Introduction to Afro-Cubop (Verve 513876)
Frank “Paquito” Davilla, Bob Woodlen (trumpet); Gene Johnson, Fred Skerritt (alto sax); Jose Madera (tenor sax) Leslie Johnakins (baritone sax); Rene Hernandez (piano); Roberto Rodriguez (bass); Luis Miranda (conga); Jose Mangual (bongo); Ubaldo Nieto (timbales).
Composed by Mario Bauza. Arranged and conducted by Machito.
Recorded: New York, January 1949
Rating: 95/100 (learn more)
Written by Mario Bauza, the musician who brought Dizzy Gillespie and Chano Pozo together, “Tanga” is a forgotten classic, which predated and anticipated the partnership of Afro-Cuban music and jazz that took place in the Gillespie and Kenton bands, among others. Joining the band as a guest soloist is the jazz tenor saxophonist Flip Phillips, who improvises over a repeating pattern played by the rest of the band. This manner of improvisation continues to be the norm for Afro-Cuban music, but at the time it would have been quite challenging for an American jazz musician. Nonetheless, Phillips gives a convincing performance, fitting in comfortably with the Machito Orchestra.
Reviewer: Mark Lomanno