Monday, December 3, 2012

Poncho's Anniversary; Winard's Posse - Bob Stewart

Given all the ups and downs the music industry has experienced in the past three decades, it's remarkable to find anyone who still retains a sense of allegiance or loyalty. Master conguero, band leader and Latin Jazz legend Poncho Sanchez is the exception. Thirty years ago, close friend and jazz icon Cal Tjader recommended he sign with Carl Jefferson's Concord Records. Tjader told him that Jefferson was looking for new talent and he highly recommended Sanchez. Jefferson gave Poncho a one record deal with his Concord Picante imprint, and the rest is Latin Jazz history. Thirty years and 26 albums later, Sanchez is still with the label. He celebrates the anniversary with "Live in Hollywood", recorded this past summer.

Drummer Winard Harper has been playing drums since the age of five, honing his chops over the years accompanying the likes of Dexter Gordon, Mark Murphy, Houston Person and Betty Carter. He brings the sum total of those experiences to his new disc -- "Coexist" -- with a new band he dubs Jeli Posse. Jeli is another name for griot, a wandering combination of storyteller, historian, poet and musician. As Winard puts it, the Jeli Posse, "represent different ethnic, religious, and social background transcending differences for a common cause." The disc blends elements of African motifs, blues, gospel, swing, soul jazz, blistering bop and even a touch of funk. Special guests include Frank Wess, Mark Gross, and Sharel Cassity.

No comments: