Tito Puente: Mambo Diablo


Mambo Diablo


TIto Puente (timbales, percussion, vibraphone)


Mambo Diablo (Concord Picante CCD4283)

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TIto Puente (timbales, percussion, vibraphone), George Shearing (piano),

Ray Gonzales (trumpet, flugelhorn), Jimmy Frisaura (trumpet, flugelhorn) Mario Rivera (tenor sax, soprano sax, flute), Bobby Rodriguez (bass), Jose Madera Jr. (congas, percussion), Johnny Rodriguez (bongo, percussion)


Composed by Tito Puente


Recorded: San Francisco, CA, May, 1985


Rating: 98/100 (learn more)

Tito Puente doesn't seem to get as much love from the jazz crowd as I would like to see. On his stellar 1985 album Mambo Diablo, Puente shows his grace as both the timbale master and as an accomplished vibraphonist. The title track features Puente playing both timbales and vibraphone and he takes a wonderfully, tasteful solo on the vibes on top of stating the main melody. The song doesn't start to live up to its namesake until the ensemble breaks out into a nice section of stacked fourth hits. Another nice feature about that section is the response of the trumpets, which hit those high notes that you only hear in Latin music. Pianist George Shearing plays some very thoughtful montuno figures as well, showing his versatility. All in all, I think that this song is a shining testament to the often underrated musical strength of Tito Puente after the mambo craze died down.

It baffles me why more jazz artists aren't using percussion in their recordings because the group interaction heard in Latin jazz is uncanny, heard no where else. This song adds to that statement with fire and fury as the percussion ensemble behind Puente and company provide an almost supernatural backdrop and cohesive rhythmic execution.

Reviewer: Jared Pauley

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