Cuban jazz legend Bebo Valdés is in charge of this wonderful soundtrack for Fernando Trueba and Javier Mariscal's animated film about the romance between a singer and a pianist, set in La Havana and New York of the '40s and '50s. In addition to Valdés, the main performers include Freddy Cole, Jimmy Heath, Idania Valdés, Germán Velasco, and Amadito Valdés, in a collection of both originals and jazz and bolero standards arranged by Michael Philip Mossman. Estrella Morente sings the main title song, "Lily."
This set combines two Chico Hamilton LPs from Impulse Records, El Chico and Further Adventure of El Chico, both issued in 1966 separately. The 18 tracks include pleasant arrangements of the standards "The Shadow of Your Smile," "My Romance," "Stella by Starlight," and pop songs of the era “Monday, Monday,” “Daydream,” and “People.” While the drummer’s choice of musicians on these sessions, including Clark Terry, Charlie Mariano, Gabor Szabo, and Jimmy Cheatham is impeccable, it’s the addition of Latin percussionists Willie Bobo and Victor Pantoja that make these recordings stand out.
One more amazing chapter in the mighty development of drummer Chico Hamilton – a killer 70s session for Blue Note – and a record that goes way beyond his earlier experiments of the 50s, modal grooves of the 60s, and funk work for the Flying Dutchman label! The style here is fusion, but way fresher than the usual type – neither jamming rock-styled, nor mellow and smooth – and instead always tickled by Hamilton's sense of a unique rhythm, and his continued great ear for inventive use of reeds – in this case handled by Arthur Blythe on alto and Arnie Lawrence on soprano and tenor sax. The set's also got Steve Turre on bass and trombone, and both Barry Finnerty and Joe Beck on electric guitars – but the real genius is Chico himself, who handled arrangements and wrote most of the album's great tracks. Titles include the exotic number "Abdullah & Abraham" – plus "Andy's Walk", "Peregrinations", "It's About That Time", "Sweet Dreams", "On & Off", "Little Lisa", and "Space For Stacy".
Chico Hamilton in the 70s just can't miss – he's really changed loads from his mellow 50s work in LA, and has a tendency to go for a hard grooving sound – but also one that's slightly left of center than the work of most other 70s jazz drummers – and we mean that in a good way! This cooking set for Blue Note is a great example of that offbeat approach – a tight set of fusion tracks with a warm finish and an edgey approach to the rhythms – awash with some really compelling numbers that will have you hunting down the rest of Chico's work from the decade!
The original Chico Hamilton Quintet was one of the last significant West Coast jazz bands of the cool era. Consisting of Buddy Collette on reeds (flute, clarinet, alto, and tenor), guitarist Jim Hall, bassist Carson Smith, and the drummer/leader, the most distinctive element in the group's identity was cellist Fred Katz. The band could play quite softly, blending together elements of bop and classical music into their popular sound and occupying their own niche. This six-CD, limited-edition box set from 1997 starts off with a Hamilton drum solo from a 1954 performance with the Gerry Mulligan Quartet; it contains three full albums and many previously unreleased numbers) by the original Chico Hamilton band and also has quite a few titles from the second Hamilton group (which has Paul Horn and John Pisano in the places of Collette and Hall).
Perhaps the most famous song on this album is "Cálice," the classic protest song written by Chico Buarque and Gilberto Gil, on which Buarque is accompanied by Milton Nascimento on vocals. Although very beautiful, "Cálice," with its mildly rock-oriented sound, isn't really representative for the rest of the album, whose sound is more traditional.