Cal Tjader – La Onda Va Bien (1980)

 photo folder_zps7d94400e.jpg
Cal Tjader
La Onda Va Bien
Concord Picante 1980
    1. Speak Low 6:04
    2. Serengeti 5:05
    3. Star Eyes 4:32
    4. Mambo Mindoro 3:47
    5. Aleluia 4:09
    6. I Remember You 4:33
    7. Linda Chicana 5:19
    8. Sabor 4:26
Sleeve notes:
Cal Tjader, vibes
Mark Levine, piano and Fender Rhodes
Roger Glenn, flute and percussion
Vince Lateano, drums and percussion
Rob Fisher, bass
Poncho Sanchez, congas and percussion
“La Onda Va Bien is a slang expression implying smoothness, hip-ness, and first rate quality. These characteristics are indicative to the music of Cal Tjader and also to the taste of those who listen.”
Recorded in San Francisco in July 1979.

This record lacks some of the fire of his Prestige work in the years leading up to this, with the ballads being a little too saccharine-flavored for me, but there are some real cookers on here too.   Serengeti is an aural safari. The one Tjader original, Mambo Mindoro, is a natural centerpiece, with Poncho Sanchez on fire throughout, and also notable for its brevity as it comes in at slightly under four minutes.   I’m rather fond of the very creative, liberal interpretation of the Edu Lobo/Ruy Guerra composition Aleluia.  Of the slower numbers, I enjoy the Johnny Mercer tune “I Remember You” here, with the Rhodes giving just enough gritty texture to balance the sweetness, and a nice jazz flute solo that could only have been improved if Roger Glenn had played it shirtless like Herbie Mann.  Mark Levine contributes a quietly smoldering original descarga jam in Linda Chicana, and the album ends on a high note with a composition from former Tjader band member João Donato, Sabor.

“La Onda Va Bien” apparently kicked off the “Picante” sublabel of Concord Records.  Like all Concord releases the sound quality is flawless – and that’s not always great, because I like a few flaws in both recordings and performances to keep it interesting.  Too much of the Concord catalog is so slick that it becomes sonic wallpaper.  But Tjader and Company carry off a laid-back, final-set-of-the-evening-at-3 a.m. feeling here.  This 80s-era CD pressing sounds stellar too, extremely warm with a ton of dynamic range.  If you’re new to Cal Tjader this might not be the place to start, but it’s a very solid album.

 

flac button

password: vibes

 

Liked it? Take a second to support Dr. Vibes on Patreon!
Bookmark the permalink.

9 Comments

  1. the password recommended at the link above and at other spots on this website has not been working for me of late. pity because I love what is posted here and would love to enjoy this record in particular.

    • If you are using a Mac, please see the info on the sidebar —> Otherwise, make sure you are typing and not cutting and pasting. The PW works, trust me.

    • cheers, the file did work with the recommended app. I got over my queasiness at installing an app from an "unverified developer". i am curious as to why this app worked when stuffit has expanded thousands of archives for me over the years with minimal issue. ready to enjoy the album now!

  2. PW worked for me! Thank you Flabbergast for a great album.

  3. Glad to see you're back Flabbergast! I look forward to resuming some great listening from a blogger of excellent taste. For the record, password worked fine for me as mentioned in the sidebar.

  4. I'm always happy to get another Tjader album that I don't have. Thank you! Thought this one was a little bit on "auto pilot" but still quite enjoyable nonetheless because I love Cal. I would say this is background music of the first order.

  5. Thanks again for the great files and education.

Leave a Reply