The most influential non-Latin figure in Latin jazz is paid respectful homage by another non-Latin vibraphonist of note, Spyro Gyra's Dave Samuels
, who put together a heavyweight ensemble of Latin jazz stars for the job. Like many such tribute albums, this one cannot match the original versions for panache and that special 1950s San Francisco atmosphere -- the earnest covers of "Soul Sauce" and "Viva Cepeda" attest to that -- and Samuels'
own highly accomplished playing leans toward the bop and R&B idioms in rhythmic emphasis. Still, this is a pleasant, intelligent Latin jazz outing by and large, graced by the presence of Eddie Palmieri
on piano, Dave Valentin
on flute, David Sanchez
on tenor, Ray Barretto
on congas, and Steve Khan
on acoustic guitar. And it might persuade Spyro Gyra
fans to investigate the real deal.