MONGO SANTAMARIA — Stone Soul (review)

MONGO SANTAMARIA — Stone Soul album cover Album · 1968 · Latin Rock/Soul Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
js
There’s nothing too subtle or complicated going on here, ‘Stone Soul’ is just one great party dance record played by some of the best musicians in the business. A lot of aficionados of Afro-Cuban music get down on Mongo for his RnB and pop recordings, but any fan of RnB-jazz will affirm that nothing makes these old soul tunes rock like a three piece Latin percussion section. To pull off his jazz-Cuban-RnB hybrid, Santamaria pulls in some of the best musicians from all three of those musical worlds. Bernard Purdie has always been one of the most in demand RnB drummers of all time, Sonny Fortune and Hadley Callinan are top notch hard bop horn players, and Mongo himself is tops in the world of Afro-Cuban percussion.

The album cover features a classic southern US soul food meal of pork ribs, black-eyed peas, rice and cornbread that lets you know what this music is all about. This is old school blues based southern soul music with a honking sax on the lead melody and always a good jazzy solo or two on each cut. Most of the tunes are medium tempo groove except for two that pick up the pace. ‘The Now Generation’ is one of those early 70s euphoric jazz-pop rockers that has a new uplifting hook every couple of bars and ‘Cloud Nine’ is a high energy soul-jazz reworking of the Temptations psychedelic classic.

Acid jazz and rare groove DJs will kill to get their hands on this sort of groovy semi-kitsch old school funk. Southern soul meets Afro-Cuban groove, it’s a match made in funky heaven.
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