In 1938, when Jelly Roll Morton spoke to folklorist Alan Lomax for the Library of Congress, the great pianist-composer stressed the importance of what he called "the Spanish tinge" as a flavor essential to the gumbo that is jazz. And though the music's Latin ingredients are various and savory, the boldest taste has long been decidedly Afro-Cuban. Since the mid-1940s, when trumpet giant Dizzy Gillespie's orchestra with its brilliant Cuban conguero-composer Chano Pozo led the Cu-bop charge, many leading soloists have burned over rumbas and mambos, cha-chas and charangas. In Ritmo Afro-Cubano, spanning the years 1960 to 1996 and featuring bands big, small, and medium-sized, not only do we hear such top-flight (and disparate) improvisers as Gillespie, George Shearing, Cal Tjader, Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, and Eric Dolphy stoked by Afro-Cuban grooves, we encounter Cuban godfathers Machito, Mario Bauza, and Chico O'Farrill. Add notable contributions from master percussionists Mongo Santamaria, Ray Barretto, and Montego Joe, key bandleaders Benny Velarde, Alfredito Valdés, and Andres Hernandez, and tradition expansionists Manny Oquendo and Steve Berrios and Ritmo Afro-Cubano is hard to beat.