Sunday, May 16, 2010

Mongo Santamaria - "Mongo Magic" (1983)

"Freedom" (excerpt)

"Time Will Tell" (excerpt)

"Pirana" (excerpt)

In the two years since I made a discography for Afro-Cuban percussionist extraordinare Mongo Santamaria, some readers have come forward with a series of donations of Mongo's albums.

This 1983 Roulette Records album (not to be confused with the Charly Records compilation "Mongo's Magic") has never made it to CD, and reader Remy has stepped forward with a nice vinyl rip for this blogosphere debut. Big thanks to you Remy!

In the timeline of his studio albums, "Mongo Magic" sits between 1980's "Images" and 1984's "Free Spirit". Longtime producer Marty Sheller is the only person remaining with with Mongo from the 1980 album. Earlier in 1983 Santamaria gave a blistering live performance, captured on Montreux Heat with an entirely different lineup, then got a new band together for this album, most of whom stayed on for "Free Spirit" in '84 and 1987's "Soy Yo".

This starts out as a low-key affair - was worried by the first two tracks with the dreaded DX-rhodes, but later "Rachael's Dance" is the best of the mellow ones, and "Time Will Tell" is a great jazz track, before Mongo's congas only really kick in on tracks like "Pirana". He's joined by Bobby Sanabria on timbales and other percussion. Sheller doesn't play on this album, but as usual wrote most of the tracks .

There's a strong brass and winds presence with Tony Hinson on tenor sax and flute; Chris Rogers on trumpet; and flautist/saxophonist Sam Furnace kicks in with two compositions, "Freedom" and "Should the Blues Be Suspended", which have some of the album's best melodies. Excellent piano work from both Hilton Ruiz and Bobby Quaranta.

Enjoy it!


01 'Rude Boy' (6:18)
02 'The Answer Is Love' (5:00)
03 'Freedom' (6:11)
04 'Time Will Tell' (6:27)
05 'Should the Blues Be Suspended' (6:16)
06 'Rachael's Dance' (6:20)
07 'Pirana' (4:38)
08 'Bonita' (4:57)

All tracks written by Marty Sheller except :
08 - Mongo Santamaria
03,05 - Sam Furnace


Mongo Santamaria - conga drums and bongos
Bobby Sanabria - timbales, drums and percussion
Sam Furnace - flute; soprano, alto and baritone sax
Tony Hinson - Tenor Sax and flute
Lew Soloff - trumpet on 3, 8
Chris Rogers - trumpet
Sal Cuevas - bass
Bobby Quaranta - piano
Hilton Ruiz - piano on 2,6,7


Produced by Marty Sheller
All arrangements by Marty Sheller except :
3, 5 arranged by Sam Furnace
Engineer - David Stone
Photography - Hal Wilson
Art Direction - Michael Mendel


... is HERE


Vinyl rip by Remy

Other album links in this post go to Orgy in Rhythm, Blog-O-Blog, AfroCubanLatinJazz and Si Se Rompe Se Compone. Please thank these people if you visit and download their albums, comments keep your favourite blogs alive.


Anonymous said...

thank you guys for setting this up!

beautiful music

MFS Equipe ♪ said...

Thank you Simon!

Simon666 said...

You're welcome anonymous and Jazzypier :)
pier, what's happening with MFS ? Just that server pic for last 24 hours ....

Bacoso said...

Great work as always Simon.
Viva Mongo!!!

sasha said...

Man I be meaning to get this cuban sh*** together for a while now..No better way than through beautiful sessions like this..Many thanks Simon..And hey always nice to see you posting!

sasha said...

Hey I don't wanna be leaving the ripper out of my thanks so here's to you Remy! Thanks guys..

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this post.

I see that you've mentioned "Mongo Explodes At The Village Gate" in your discography. It'd be so cool to actually find a link to this amazing collection - it happens to be my favorite collection in Mongo's entire discography.

It has been lost in the shuffle because there is, as you know, a collection called "Mongo Explodes" and another called "Mongo Santamaria At The Village Gate." Both are fine collections, but neither can hold a candle to "Mongo Explodes At The Village Gate."

Anyway, thank you for this one.

JTF said...


Unda said...

Simon! Your the man!!!

verge said...

Thanks Simon, gotta love all the Mongo joints!

P.Stoychev said...

Incredible album , many thanks.

majorcurry said...

Hey Simon,

Just re-found you! listening to Mongo as i type. thanks!

troods said...

Grateful, grateful I am. Beautiful album. Thank you so much.

troods said...

I'm sending you a lot of love.....I appreciate your love for music and your generosity.

Anonymous said...


Thank you very much

tom said...

great stuff, thanks so much from RI!!

Anonymous said...

The Yamaha DX-7 didnt come out till '84. No DX Rhodes sound from what I hear. If your talking about the song Rude Boy, thats a real Fender Rhodes with stereo chorus, essential for the early 80s Jazz/Fusion sound :)

Simon666 said...

hmmm i'm not 100% convinced, it could be either ... the other keyboardist in my then-band had a DX7 by mid '83, "Rude Boy" sounds soooo much like their rhodes patch, you can hear the flatness in the sustain and the too-even attack response. Then again, it's definitely chorus rhodes in "The Answer Is Love", so you might be right ...

OldHippieRick said...

Wow how could you ever go wrong with a Mongo Santamaria recording Thanks

"Jazz and Blues All Day" can now be found @

♥ & ☮

Anonymous said...

Thanks Simon,

this is indeed a lovely record! Enjoying it right now!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Remy and Simon666 :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much! The only time I saw Mongo live was with this band, but I never found a copy of this, their only album. This brings back memories - Bobby Sanabria in particular was terrific in the performance I saw.