mikeweil

Los Ritmos Calientes - The Cal Tjader Forum

184 posts in this topic

tjader1.jpg

For all the fans on the board, and all those to become, a thread dedicated to one of my favourite doorbellists, to share photos, comments about your favourites etc.

I will post a review/description of a CD every now and then to make buying decisions easier for you. Click here: Cal Tjader album reference guide

Edited by mikeweil

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I found this pic on the website of bassist Robb Fisher's family. (Sorry,link doesn't work anymore.)(link)

 

From left to right: Cal Tjader (vibes), Pete Riso (drums), Poncho Sanchez (congas), Carmelo Garcia (timbales), Robb Fisher (bass), and Bob Redfield (guitar). This picture was taken at Cinco de Mayo Festival at the Hearst Theatre at U.C. Berkeley ("Cal") campus in 1978.

 

Basically, Cal's band around the time he recorded the Guarabe album for Fantasy - Hungria "Carmelo" Garcia (one of the greatest timbaleros ever) was a special guest on the session, Clare Fischer played Fender Rhodes and acoustic piano.

Edited by mikeweil

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I'm a fan of Several Shades Of Jade and Soul Sauce. I only own a few compilations, I'll be seeking whole albums at some point.

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Mike, I love ya! Starting a thread on Tjader like this! If I ever get to the Motherland, Cal will be the first thing we listen to!

Geez, where do I start? I think the title of this thread says it all: Ritmos Calientes! Hot rhythms!!! That’s what Cal was all about. And the beauty of his playing, especially his doorbell playing, is that Cal was able to balance his love and passion for the rhythm against his formidable ability to swing on the vibes, and neither one happened at the expense of the other. I suppose it helped that Tjader was a percussionist FIRST, and a bell-player second. Again, not that one was ever sacrificed at the expense of the other; but you could tell, especially on those Fantasy albums, that Cal attacked his vibes with subtle ferocity, never overplaying, and yet also never sinking into EZ-muzak. And all the while, there’s that rhythm just percolating right along, holding everything together.

For my money, the best place to start with Cal is a Fantasy 2-fer that shares the titles of this thread: Los Ritmos Calientes. Here is where that perfect balance happens, probably more so than on any other album Cal did (of course, I’m completely biased, as this was my first Tjader purchase, and it remains my favorite to this day). Of course, he’s on vibes, but he’s also on timbales, bongos, congas, gourds, you name it, he’s playing it somewhere. And some of the songs just kinda come in, shake things up for about a minute and leave, and that’s it. No structure, no verse-chorus-verse, no real melody, just pure, unadulterated RHYTHM!!!

Mike, what do you think: which do you prefer, his Fantasy years or his Verve years? Or are you of the same opinion as me, that there’s no comparison because it’s like apples and oranges?

Great thread, man! Let’s keep this rhythm going!

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Cal was a unique vibist. he had his own style that was simple. As opposed to say Milt Jackson, who added a lot of notes in between, Cal just kept it simple.

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Mike, what do you think: which do you prefer, his Fantasy years or his Verve years? Or are you of the same opinion as me, that there’s no comparison because it’s like apples and oranges?

I would divide his recording activities into five periods:

  • Fantasy (1946 - 1961, including some sideman dates and two sessions as a leader for Savoy 1953/54)
  • Verve (1961 - 1967)
  • Skye (1968 - 1969)
  • Fantasy & Galaxy (1970 - 1978)
  • Concord (1979 - 1982)

I like the first Fantasy period best, although there are very good items in every period. And you're right, there were stylistic differences between them making comparisons somewhat obsolete. Who would compare Getz' bossa nova records to his early quintets with Jimmy Raney?

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GUARABE IS THE SHIT-- has anyone heard the live version recorded at the great american music hall-- its great too

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Sure I heard it - I have all of Tjader's Fantasy CDs. I like the studio version a little better - I dig Clare Fischer's orchestral layering of Rhodes parts and find Sanchez' solo on the live version a little too meandering. But on an average, the live stuff is excellent - it was a very good band. Too bad Carmelo didn't join on a regular basis - I like him better than Tito Puente!

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Lot's of great Cal. Sona Libre has been in heavy rotation lately.

P.S. I would pay dearly for the artwork from some of those early album covers. Those are so cool. :tup

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My friend made me a compilation off her computer called, The Chris Collection. Says it right on the cover. Its F*in cool!

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I was fortunate enough to see Cal not once but twice. Both shows were an absolute joy. I've enjoyed every album and cd that I have of Cal's. A few years back I purchased the vinyl of Cal's "Putting It Together" on E Bay. When I took the album out low and behold there was Cal's autograph on the sleeve. That made me twice as pleased.

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His brother, Cal played bass marimba in The Baja Marimba Band.

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Mike, what do you think: which do you prefer, his Fantasy years or his Verve years? Or are you of the same opinion as me, that there’s no comparison because it’s like apples and oranges?

I would divide his recording activities into five periods:

  • Fantasy (1946 - 1961, including some sideman dates and two sessions as a leader for Savoy 1953/54)
  • Verve (1961 - 1967)
  • Skye (1968 - 1969)
  • Fantasy & Galaxy (1970 - 1978)
  • Concord (1979 - 1982)

I like the first Fantasy period best, although there are very good items in every period. And you're right, there were stylistic differences between them making comparisons somewhat obsolete. Who would compare Getz' bossa nova records to his early quintets with Jimmy Raney?

What would you say are the choice Tjader records from each period, and why?

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Thanks Mike for adding this thread ....

one very good two-fer out of the Concord period is the live compilation Cool Fire that contains A Fuego Vivo and Good Vibes, the later one recorded shortly before he died in Manila.

What I like most when listening to Cal is the fact that he can even turn the most stupid tune into a bright shining piece of music....

In terms of all-time favourites...The Getz/Tjader Sextet Fantasy (with Vince G.B-) ) ....no doubt

Cheers, Tjobbe

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I just recently picked up a Tjader CD to add to my too-small collection of his work. I found it used, and at a great price, and it's turned out to be a wonderful gem...

B0000006DL.01.MZZZZZZZ.jpg

THE SHINING SEA (Concord, recorded in 1981).

Of course, this isn't the Latin side of Cal, but I had to mention it here anyway. Eight Johnny Mandel tunes, performed by Cal with: Hank Jones, Scott Hamilton, Dean Reilly, and Vince Lateano.

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Mike, what do you think: which do you prefer, his Fantasy years or his Verve years? Or are you of the same opinion as me, that there’s no comparison because it’s like apples and oranges?

I would divide his recording activities into five periods:



  • Fantasy (1946 - 1961, including some sideman dates and two sessions as a leader for Savoy 1953/54)

  • Verve (1961 - 1967)

  • Skye (1968 - 1969)

  • Fantasy & Galaxy (1970 - 1978)

  • Concord (1979 - 1982)

I like the first Fantasy period best, although there are very good items in every period. And you're right, there were stylistic differences between them making comparisons somewhat obsolete. Who would compare Getz' bossa nova records to his early quintets with Jimmy Raney?

What would you say are the choice Tjader records from each period, and why?

I can only speak o the Fantasy and Verve years, as that's all I have. Any recs as far as the Concord material would be greatly appreciated.

That said, as I posted earlier, I think the best place to start with the Fantasy years is Los Ritmos Calientes, for reasons which I won't bore you with a second time. Needless to say, it more than lives up to it's title.

For something a little more melodic, but no less rhythmic, pick up another Fantasy 2-fer called Black Orchid. The title track is my favorite Tjader piece (which he later re-did on a Verve album, Breeze from the East. More on that in a bit), and it also contains "Mambo at the 'M'," which was prominently featured on Mike's BFT. But the REAL highlight is the presence of Jose "Chombo" Silva, who was sometimes referred to as the "Latin Lester Young," which I guess would make him "El Prez" or something like that! Anyway, his sonorous tone is not to be missed.

One more Fantasy 2-fer called Latino features Mongo Santamaria and Willie Bobo on all the tracks. It also features some swinging Eddie Cano big band charts. My only small gripe with this disc is the presence of a flute player who plays it way high up in the upper register so your fillings fall outta your teeth. But the rest is very very good, especially "Cuban Fantasy" where Mongo and Bobo go at each other like a pair of lions fighting over a zebra!

Now, these are the only ones I've heard. Mike can probably give you more and better recs than those, but for the money (six albums for the price of three CDs) you really can't go wrong with those three.

For the Verve sides, if you don't have Soul Sauce, then you cannot be a part of the elite secret society of Tjader Fans!!! :P I'm not too big a fan of his Verve sides, as most of them seem to be too overorchestrated for my tastes, but a couple certainly stand out:

Soul Bird: Whiffenpoof, which was one of the first Verve LPRs, and as such, is still at a ridiculously high price for a 36-minute CD. Try to find it used if you can. There's no orchestration on this one, and in fact is quite the laid-back affair.

Plays the Contemporary Music of Mexico and Brazil may not swing as much as the title indicates, but it is lovely music nonetheless, and features some sumptuous arrangements by Clare Fischer, who worked with Cal a bunch in the 60's and 70's.

I used to have El Sonido Nuevo with Eddie Palmieri. It didn't make much of an impression on me, but there are others who like it a bunch. The title track is killer, however, and makes you wish it would go on for another 30 minutes or so!

The only one I can think of that I would absolutely avoid is the 2-fer called Several Shades of Jade/Breeze from the East. This is a pairing of someone's bad idea to have Call play bad spy-movie music. Hell, even the liner notes acknowledge that these are two of Cal's weakest albums. In fact, the best songs from this CD can be found as bonus tracks on the El Sonido Nuevo CD.

And with that, I turn it over to Mike!

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B-) Am listening to Monterey Concerts ,Cal really swings gently along on Doxy and kicks it hard on tu Crees Que, a real gem of a cd. I love the live version of Tu Crees que, especially as the crowd gets excited, thats what jazz is all about?What does anyone think? paul in london, where the weather is grey and overcast, but the music is wonderful, ala Latin

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And with that, I turn it over to Mike!

I will review all of his Fantasy CDs here, but I'm too busy right now - please be patient!

But for starters here's a list of them (first period only, including sideman appearances):

Fantasy FCD-24712-2 - Cal Tjader - Los Ritmos Calientes

Fantasy FCD-24726-2 - The Dave Brubeck Trio - 24 Classic Original Recordings

Fantasy FCD-24730-2 - Cal Tjader - Black Orchid

Fantasy FCD-24732-2 - Cal Tjader - Latino !

Fantasy FCD-24736-2 - Cal Tjader's Greatest Hits

Fantasy FCD-24742-2 - Cal Tjader - Sentimental Moods

Fantasy FCD-24755-2 - Cal Tjader - Black Hawk Nights

Fantasy FCD-24762-2 - Gus Mancuso & Special Friends

Fantasy FCD-24764-2 - Cal Tjader - Extremes

Fantasy FCD-24771-2 - Cal Tjader - Our Blues

Fantasy FCD-24775-2 - Cal Tjader Plays Harold Arlen & West Side Story

Prestige PRCD-24026-2 - Cal Tjader - Monterey Concerts

Fantasy FCD-9688-2 - Cal Tjader - Concerts Under The Sun

Original Jazz Classics OJCCD-101-2 - Dave Brubeck Octet

Original Jazz Classics OJCCD-271-2 - Cal Tjader - Mambo With Tjader

Original Jazz Classics OJCCD-274-2 - Cal Tjader - Tjader Plays Mambo

Original Jazz Classics OJCCD-275-2 - Cal Tjader/Stan Getz Sextet

Original Jazz Classics OJCCD-436-2 - Cal Tjader - Jazz At The Blackhawk

Original Jazz Classics OJCCD-642-2 - Cal Tjader - Latin Kick

Original Jazz Classics OJCCD-643-2 - Cal Tjader - Latin Concert

Original Jazz Classics OJCCD-950-2 - Cal Tjader Quartet

Original Jazz Classics OJCCD-988-2 - Cal Tjader - Tjader Plays Jazz

More than you thought, eh?, and except for the Greatest Hits compilation, only one track appears on two of them!

Edited by mikeweil

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I used to go to a lot of Tjader dances and concerts when I was in high school and college. He was playing in Los Angeles often. We used to mambo, pachanga, and cha-cha-cha until we were sloshing in our "spain" boots.

His most popular band in L.A. featured "Mighty" Mongo, Willie Bobo, Lonnie Hewitt and Al McKibbon. On occasion José "Chombo" Silva, on tenor sax, was with the band, also. "Chombo" was a monster!

Some of my favorite albums by Cal haven't been re-issued (to my knowledge) on CD (TJADER GOES LATIN, DEMASIADO CALIENTE, CAL TJADER QUINTET, all on Fantasy). And there is an album, whose title I don't recall, that has my very fav cut, "I SHOWED THEM". NOT the version on the Grace Cathedral album. Everytime I'm in a record store I go thru the Tjader section just to see if it has finally been re-issued.

The Verve website had a Tjader section and myself and others were requesting that album be released. If anyone here knows anything about the album with that tune, it would be greatly appreciated.

*Just a footnote: On a couple of occasions that I remember, Tito Puente's band and Tjader's band were here on the same nights. Tjader would play to a packed house and Tito would get the leftovers. I don't mean this as a put-down, that's just the way it was.

Edited by Cali

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Some of my favorite albums by Cal haven't been re-issued (to my knowledge) on CD (TJADER GOES LATIN, DEMASIADO CALIENTE, CAL TJADER QUINTET, all on Fantasy). And there is an album, whose title I don't recall, that has my very fav cut, "I SHOWED THEM". NOT the version on the Grace Cathedral album. Everytime I'm in a record store I go thru the Tjader section just to see if it has finally been re-issued.

TJADER GOES LATIN and CAL TJADER QUINTET are both complete on Fantasy FCD-24730-2 - Cal Tjader - Black Orchid

DEMASIADO CALIENTE is included in Fantasy FCD-24732-2 - Cal Tjader - Latino !

The studio version of "I Showed Them" was on Fantasy F-8406, a 1970 LP simply titled Tjader, which is one of the very few Tjader Fantasy albums not yet on CD.

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Have any of you registered at the Cal Tjader Forum on http://www.caltjader.com?

Mostly fans there, less the specialists, but it deserves to be kept alive!

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