While Mongo Santamaria’s music always had sufficient content to charm the sedentary listener, it has primarily been for dancing. This disc, combining two LPs from the early Sixties, illustrates just how infectious the Santamaria approach can be, as the conga master takes the then-current pachanga craze and stretches it with his deep knowledge of African sources and willingness to mix in northern jazz and southern samba for spice. Santamaria’s Orquesta "Sabrosa," featuring violinist "Pupi" Legarreta, vocalist Rudy Calzado, and Mongo’s longtime percussion partner Willie Bobo, set the standard for such innovative cross-cultural performances. The liner notes by musicologist Robert Farris Thompson provide a detailed history of how various Afro-Cuban idioms evolved, and how Santamaria’s work on these tracks furthered that evolution.
with José "Chombo" Silva, Felix "Pupi" Legarreta, João Donato, Rolando Lozano, Victor Venegas, Cuco Martinez, Willie Bobo, Rudy Calzado