Latin Jazz Quintet with Pharoah Sanders: Daria + Haarlem
From Oh! Pharoah Speak (Trip, 196?)

La Clave: Soul Sauce
From S/T (Verve, 1973)

The Sanders/LJQ LP is something I’ve had for years but didn’t think to revisit until more recently when I caught one of the songs from it off the radio. It’s difficult to over-talk this LP…it is such a wonderful meeting point between jazz, Latin and soul that each cut will have you guessing as to what style might come next. I pulled out two songs to illuminate that diversity: “Daria” opens a classic Cuban piano montuno and clave rhythm, some slick guitar work before opening into a wonderfully Latin-fied groove where the guitar switches from melody to rhythmic and the horn players get to play off. I’m not sure if this qualifies as a formal descarga but it has all the verve of one.

“Haarlem” switches up things completely with a slinky, smoky soul jazz track that could have easily found its way onto a Lou Donaldson or Donald Byrd album from the same era – feel that funky boogaloo style.

The La Clave is part of Dusty Groove’s reissue series and it’s one of their more interesting inclusions: a relatively obscure Latin rock/funk album from Verve. Sure, Verve had a few recordings by Willie Bobo, trying to capitalize on Latin music’s popularity in the late ’60s but this La Clave LP is something else, coming out of San Francisco’s underrated Latin scene. Benny Velarde leads the arrangement, with Lalo Schifrin popping in for a few sessions and it’s hard to imagine a funkier album on Verve’s catalog. Great stuff.