October 15

For my third and final new Verve acquisition I present the album Warm Wave by vibraphonist Cal Tjader.

I have to admit to not knowing anything about Mr Tjader. Actually all three of these artists that I’ve recently previewed have been relatively new to me.

That doesn’t mean they’re unknown! As a matter of fact, according to Wikipedia, Cal Tjader started out playing in college, after a stint in the Army, with Dave Brubeck, Paul Desmond and Vince Guaraldi. And, he was a sideman with George Shearing which is where the Willie Bobo connection came in.

How a Swedish American from St Louis became an afro-cuban jazz band leader is beyond me but I’m glad it happened!

It turns out that Tjader’s exploration into afro-cuban rhythms coincided with the mambo craze that swept over the US in the late 50s. He then went on to fuse jazz and Asian styles of music, although mostly unsuccessfully.

This album, Warm Wave, was a way point between that Asian experimentation and his return to Latin rhythms on the acclaimed Soul Sauce record.

My copy of Warm Wave is in very good shape cosmetically, but unfortunately had a large pop and skip on the first track. I’ll have to explore further to see what the issue is because it’s not a visible problem.

This is the perfect cocktail party record.

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