Afro-Cuban was an album recorded in January and March of 1955, and released originally on the 10 inch vinyl format with only 4 tracks.
The album saw a second life when it was re released by the label in 1957 with the pictured artwork and 3 extra tracks.
The RVG CD remaster adds 2 more bonus tracks to the 7 from 1957 LP.
The original 10 inch tracks, "Afrodesia" "Lotus Flower", "Minor's Holiday", and Gigi Gryce's "Basheer's Dream" are fittingly what the original album was; an Afro-Cuban meets jazz tour-de-force.
The other tracks, "K.D's Motion", "La Villa", and "Venita's Dance" are just hard bop, but the thing is, these 3 so called "filler tracks kick some serious rear end, and turn this already fantastic record into a 5 star masterpiece.
Afro-Cuban is simply one of the best albums Blue Note ever put out, and is probably Dorham's career best. That's saying a lot too, considering how albums like Una Mas, and Live at the Cafe Bohemia are about as good as hard bop gets.
The Leader Dorham's trumpet, Hank Mobley on tenor, J.J. Johnson on trombone, Art Bakey on drums, Cecil Payne on baritone sax, and Percy Heath on bass complete the sextet. Also Potato Valdez brings his authentic congas to the Afro-Cuban tracks.
As you might expect, drummer Blakey does his thing here. Is it possible for Blakey to be underrated? Usually Drummers like Tony Williams and Elvin Jones get top billing over Blakey but I can't recall a bad record he's been on.
I don't think it is a coincidence that he's on so many classic hard bop records other than his own as a leader, the dude's not a subtle drummer, and that ain't a crime for the genre of hardbop. Blakey always seems to grab every band and propel them to the stratosphere.
Afro Cuban in its original 10 inch form will set you back a cool $300 to $400 too. I'll settle for my reissue.
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