Poncho Sanchez
“Latin Spirits”
Concord Picante (www.concordrecords.com)
Recorded April & May, 2001

Unexpectedly receiving regular rotation on many blues stations around the country is conga/percussionist and vocalist Poncho Sanchez’s most recent recording, “Latin Spirits”.  Check this disk out, as there are ample reasons why you may hear several songs from this diverse recording on Blues, Jazz and Latin radio formats.

The pleasant sounding “Next Exit” written by tenor sax man Scott Martin, will definitely lift your spirits, (Latin or otherwise) with its happy groove, featuring nice B3 work from David Torres.  The title track features guest artist Chick Correa, who plays brilliantly on this straight ahead jazz piece.  Chick also appears on Wayne Shorter’s “JuJu” delivering the goods, much like McCoy Tyner did on the original Blue Note recording!  My favorite track, the classic Joe Liggins, “Going Back to New Orleans” is a compelling mix of New Orleans Second line & Latin gumbo.  Dave Spalding’s fine vocal on this Liggins R&B hit, had me fooled, as I thought it was definitely Doctor John in the vocal chair.  Sammy Cahn’s “The Things We Did Last Summer” is a beautiful rendition of this gorgeous classic.  It’s back to blues, on Louis Jordan’s, “Early in the Morning”, which happily bears similarities to “Going Back to New Orleans”. Dave Spalding returns on vocals and harmonica, and you will thoroughly enjoy the Latin/Crescent City/ blues recipe that Mr. Sanchez and his band mates cook up, on this the final track of “Latin Spirits”.

Make no mistake, this Poncho Sanchez disk is stylistically diverse, but doesn’t suffer like other recording projects, which try to combine genres, often sounding uneven.  “Latin Spirits” works so well because of the successful and creative blend of the Blues/Jazz/Latin flow, and the high caliber of musicianship delivered on this very fine disc.


Bob Putignano, President
NY Blues & Jazz Society
radio host @ WFDU’s, “Sounds of Blue”