This Fabulous release from the greatest Latin jazz vibraphonists features two albums on one disc. The albums, one recorded live and one a studio recording were recorded in 1968 and 1969 for Skye Records a label part owned by Tjader. Soul/ Jazz recordings made in the sixties have remained popular to this day in the clubs and Cal Tjader's popularity has not diminished in the least in fact he is still the most acclaimed Anglo musician ever to play Latin jazz.
Mambo Mania! may not be the last word on the Afro-Cuban music of the 1950s and '60s, but for beginners, it's a darn nice place to start. Rhino can usually be counted on to do its homework when assembling compilations, and this superb 18-song CD is no exception. Serious fans of what came to be called salsa will be more than familiar with such classics as Celia Cruz's "Tumba La Cana, Jibarito," Beny More's "Me Gusta Mas El Son" and Tito Puente's "Guaguanco Margarito" – all of which are essential listening for even the most casual salseros.
Released in 1981 on a small Hungarian label, this 1978 session recorded in Hollywood is the guitarist's final record. "Out of the Night" interestingly pairs him with pianist Chick Corea. But the remainder of the record is a standard late-'70s fusion date without Corea, highlighted by the Return to Forever intrigue of "A Thousand Times."
Mambo Sinuendo is a collaboration between Ry Cooder and Buena Vista alum (and formerly of many other groups as well) Manuel Galban. The album attempts to catch an old style popularized in Cuba by Galban, and was, surprisingly, never followed up on by anybody after Galban. It's a guitar-based romp closely based in the pop/jazz crossovers of the 1950s-1960s (Henry Mancini, Nelson Riddle, etc). There's a touch of exoticism here and there, and a larger touch of a relatively Hawaiian feel throughout the whole via the guitar techniques employed by the pair. It's all somewhere in a form between lounge, mambo, and Esquivel's old space-age-bachelor-pad music. In rare instances, there's even a little bit of a house drum loop added in by the percussionists.