Poncho Sanchez celebrates his 20th year as a bandleader with his 20th release, Soul Of The Conga. The veteran conguero's 18th recording for the Concord Picante label features the very popular performer in several different settings and the result is a fast-moving but logical set of 14 highly enjoyable and rhythmically infectious numbers.
Soul Of The Conga features the great organist Joey DeFrancesco as part of Sanchez's band on seven numbers. The first time that Sanchez worked with an organist since he started leading his band was a few months before this recording took place."Joey DeFrancesco was our special guest for a full week at Yoshi's," remembers Sanchez. "He adjusted himself quickly to our Latin groove and he is such a fine musician that it was easy to play with him." DeFrancesco, whose rise to fame in the 1990s helped the Hammond B-3 organ to make a major comeback, clearly inspires Sanchez and his sidemen with his enthusiasm and remarkable technique.
The organist is not the only guest on Soul Of The Conga. "Stella By Starlight" features Terence Blanchard, one of the top trumpeters in jazz. "We appeared at the same festivals a few times and always liked each other's music but had never played together before." In addition, Sanchez has a rare opportunity to explore the early roots of Cuban music during the four numbers in which he interacts with the Five Ortiz Brothers.
Soul Of The Conga is one of the finest examples of Poncho Sanchez's accessible and highly enjoyable music so far, and it truly is music for everybody.