Cal Tjader: The Life and Recordings of the Man Who Revolutionized Latin Jazz

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  1. Cal Tjader : the life and recordings of the man who revolutionized Latin jazz
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Brubeck suffered major injuries in a diving accident in in Hawaii and the trio was forced to dissolve. Al McKibbon was a member of Shearing's band at the time and he and Tjader encouraged Shearing to add Cuban percussionists. Tjader played bongos as well as the vibes: "Drum Trouble" was his bongo solo feature.

Tjader soon quit Shearing after a gig at the San Francisco jazz club the Blackhawk. The members were brothers Manuel and Carlos Duran on piano and bass respectively, Bayardo "Benny" Velarde on timbales, bongos, and congas, and Edgard Rosales on congas Luis Miranda replaced Rosales after the first year. Back in San Francisco and recording for Fantasy Records, the group produced several albums in rapid succession, including Mambo with Tjader.

The Mambo craze reached its pitch in the late s, a boon to Tjader's career. Unlike the exotica of Martin Denny and Les Baxter , music billed as "impressions of" Oceania and other locales , Tjader's bands featured seasoned Cuban players and top-notch jazz talent conversant in both idioms. He cut several notable straight-ahead jazz albums for Fantasy using various group names, most notably the Cal Tjader Quartet composed of bassist Gene Wright , drummer Al Torre , and pianist Vince Guaraldi.

Tjader is sometimes lumped in as part of the West Coast or "cool" jazz sound, although his rhythms and tempos both Latin and bebop had little in common with the work of Los Angeles jazzmen Gerry Mulligan , Chet Baker , or Art Pepper.

Cal Tjader : the life and recordings of the man who revolutionized Latin jazz

Tjader and his band opened the second Monterey Jazz Festival in with an acclaimed "preview" concert. The first festival had suffered financially. Tjader is credited with bringing in big ticket sales for the second and saving the landmark festival before it had even really started. The Modern Mambo Quintet disbanded within a couple of years. Tjader formed several more small-combo bands, playing regularly at such San Francisco jazz clubs as the Blackhawk.

With the luxury of larger budgets and seasoned recording producer Creed Taylor in the control booth, Tjader cut a varied string of albums.

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Tjader recorded with big band orchestras for the first time, and even made an album based on Asian scales and rhythms. His biggest success was the album Soul Sauce Its title track, a Dizzy Gillespie cover Tjader had been toying with for over a decade, was a radio hit hitting the top 20 on New York's influential pop music station WMCA in May , and landed the album on Billboard's Top 50 Albums of The name "Soul Sauce" came from Taylor's suggestion for a catchier title and Bobo's observation that Tjader's version was spicier than the original.

The song's identifiable sound is a combination of the call-outs made by Bobo "Salsa ahi na ma The album sold over , copies and popularized the word salsa in describing Latin dance music. The s were Tjader's most prolific period. With the backing of a major record label, he could afford to stretch out and expand his repertoire.

Cal Tjader - Philadelphia Mambo

Both albums attempted to combine jazz and Asian music, much as Tjader and others had done with Afro-Cuban. The result was dismissed by the critics, chided as little more than the dated exotica that had come and gone in the prior decade.

Other experiments were not so easily dismissed. Before the end of he had hired pianist Manuel Durand and his brother Carlos, on string bass, as well as conga performer Benny Velarde and bongoist Edgar Resales all from the S.

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Within a year or two Tjader's name was well known in California and his earliest Fantasy "Mambo-jazz" records were spreading the word, and sounds, nationally. Some people were even beginning to pronounce his name correctly. An eastern tour in was something less than spectacular but it did get Tjader into Manhattan, where his mambo jazz was booked opposite Dizzy Gillespie's big band for a couple of weeks at Birdland.

And Tjader also laid the groundwork for future New York engagements for his combo in various Spanish Harlem dance halls. Returning to the San Francisco area late in , Tjader established some kind of a record by producing nearly two dozen Fantasy LPs in a four year period, and identifying himself nationally as the leader in Latin-jazz expression. In the midst of that awesome four year output the Monterey Jazz Festival's managing director, Jimmy Lyons, brought Tjader's group to Carmel's Sunset school auditorium on April 20, , to give what was called a "Jazz Festival Preview.

The complete concert from that April night in '59 comprises the music of this pair of Prestige discs. That period at the end of the s was a particularly important one for the larger jazz scene—from which Cal Tjader can also not be separated. Jazz festivals were burgeoning jazz clubs were in greater abundance than at any other time before or since and, although none of us was quite sure of it, the end of the most significant of all jazz eras was not far off.

Basic blues-rock rhythms in pop music were arriving fast, ready to capture the public's fancy and swamp the free-blown sounds of the 's avant garde "jazz".

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Cal Tjader has always been frank in his observations and thoroughly professional in his attitudes toward music and in structuring his presentations. Looking over the selections from the Monterey peninsula performance one is struck by their variety. A handful of ballads—mellow, standard, material.

Tjader loves pretty music—over the years I cannot think of a musician friend who gets more turned-on by the beauty of some popular ballads. On the concert he also included three bop-oriented themes "Doxie", "Midnight", "Tunisia" , a couple of swinging originals and some Latin-inspired specialties. This is the Tjader approach and it is the reason for his continuing popularity, regardless of the current rages in pop or jazz or "free music".

Tjader plays his mallets off, and tries to provide some kind of musical stimulation for everyone in any audience.

At the Monterey Jazz Festival, for instance, no artist has played more often nor been so successful. And there are plenty of San Francisco area nightclub owners who are quick to acknowledge that Tjader draws larger and more enthusiastic audiences year in and year out than do most of the "big name guys that we import from the east", as one put it to me recently. Tjader's life has always been in musical performance, a fact that no doubt accounts for his consuming interest in all aspects of his art— and in his awareness of the broad variety of taste likely to be represented in any audience.

When you start in as a four year old vaudeville tap dancer as Cal did and four decades later you're still out there performing before a crowd, a certain dedication is obvious.

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And this absorption in his musical craft has meant, naturally, that all manner of instrumentalists have been Tjader colleagues over the years. But their widespread fame came with Tjader, who was usually cast in the role of a dual catalyst. He introduced Santamaria and Bobo and many other Latin musicians to a jazz-oriented audience and the Latin musicians, in turn, brought many of their followers into jazz surroundings and introduced that phase of American music to their ears. Tjader Plays Mambo and Tjazz 38 Three. Reaching for the Skye Four. Last Bolero in Berkeley Five.

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A First Book of Jazz: 21 Arrangements for. Accessible to novices of all ages, these 21 easy-to-play melodies for the piano include George View Product. Forever and All That Jazz, Book 3 of. Newlyweds Jasmine Pepowski and Wesley Horace's relationship climbs a rocky ledge when she finds out Newlyweds Jasmine Pepowski and Wesley Horace's relationship climbs a rocky ledge when she finds out that her sickly father can no longer live alone without assistance.

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