This week I started the show with more from bands seen recently. Phronesis were the latest – seen at an encouragingly well attended gig in Diss as part of this year’s Norfolk and Norwich Festival. There were further tracks from Snarky Puppy and Mike Westbrook, both of whom appeared at the Festival.
There was also a short tribute to percussionist Armando Peraza who died last month. He may not be that well known, but Peraza had an amazing musical career over six decades. Born in Havana, Cuba, he lived on the streets as a boy selling vegetables to earn a living. A chance meeting led to a first professional gif with a local bandleader and he began to make his reputation as a local drummer and dancer. A longtime friend was conga drummer Mongo Santamaria and the two percussionists travelled to New York to find work as musicians. After sitting in with Machito’s big band, Peraza appeared on a record date with Charlie Parker. By the late 1940s, he was appearing on albums by several jazz greats and in the 50s found himself in San Francisco with hipster vocalist Slim Gaillard. Now California-based, Peraza worked with Dizzy Gillespie, Charles Mingus and Dexter Gordon as well as touring extensively in Mexico. He met vibesman Cal Tjader through Dave Brubeck and appeared on the influential album Ritmo Caliente – a hugely successful fusion of jazz and Latin sounds.
Peraza joined pianist George Shearing’s band and became a frontline performer during the mambo craze of the time as well as recording the original version of Afro Blue with friend Mongo Santamaria. He played on the opening night of the Hollywood Bowl and performed as part of Judy Garland’s TV show orchestra in the 1960s.
Back with Cal Tjader he recorded the influential Soul Sauce album and in the late 60s he was the first to add Latin percussion to a rock track, Johnny Mandel’s Cristo Redentor. In 1972 he joined Santana at the height of their most creative period and stayed with the band for nearly 20 years. Peraza was widely regarded as probably the greatest bongocero ever. In 2006 – and at the age of 82 – he returned to performance with Santana, appearing over three nights at the Montreux Jazz Festival. What a life in music!
- Phronesis – Herne Hill from Life To Everything
- Phronesis – Dr. Black from Life To Everything
- Snarky Puppy with Magda Gianikou – Amour T’es La? From Family Dinner Volume One
- Mike Westbrook – Metropolis Part IX from Metropolis
- Zara McFarlane feat. Leron Thomas – Angie La La from If You Knew Her
- E.S.T. – Elevation Of Love from Seven Days Of Falling
- Cal Tjader – Shoshana from Gozame! Pero Ya
- Elements Of Life – This Is Us (Roots Mix) from Eclipse
- Airto Moreira – Flora’s Song from The Best of Airto
Video this week comes from CJ favourites Go Go Penguin (the promo video for the track Hopopono) and – of course – Armando Peraza, here playing a version of Coltrane’s Spiritual with Carlos Santana, Wayne Shorter and Patrice Rushen live at Montreux in 1988: