Percussionist Poncho Sanchez has served up and impressive catalog of vibrant music over the years including “Do It, Out of Sight, Latin Soul, Afro Cuba Fantasy and Congo Blue.” Today, we’re delighted to roll out the red carpet for Mr. Poncho Sanchez is our first spotlight artist at The Urban Flux with a video interview from the fine folks at Concord Music. – V Bop
Poncho Sanchez | Making Raise Your Hand from Concord Music Group on Vimeo.
On paper, the teaming of Latin-jazz veteran Poncho Sanchez with Stax legends Eddie Floyd, Booker T. Jones, and Steve Cropper on two Floyd classics may have looked like a nifty way to expand Sanchez’s audience while promoting Concord’s re-launch of the Stax and Volt labels. But the cover versions of “Knock on Wood” and the title track are little more than agreeable (Sanchez handles lead vocals, with Floyd in support). And if you’re looking for a lively remake of the Motown classic “Shotgun,” you’re better off with jazz upstart Don Byron’s recent version than the one here featuring one time James Brown saxist Maceo Parker. The rest of the album mainly sticks to the pop-influenced sound in which the conga-playing Sanchez has long specialized–a sound that in combining airy melodies and arrangements and tight grooves reflects both his California roots and his debt to New York greats including onetime labelmate Tito Puente. A solid guest vocal by salsa and salsatron star Andy Montanez might have been even better had he recorded with the band rather than back home in Puerto Rico. – Lloyd Sachs [Amazon.com]