“Afro Blue” was recorded for the first time live by the Cal Tjader Sextet on April 20, 1959, at the Sunset Auditorium in Carmel, California, with composer Mongo Santamaría on percussion, The track was included on Cal Tjader’s album Concert by the Sea, Part 1 released on the Fantasy label. “Afro Blue” can also be found on a remastered collection of tracks from a variety of quintets led by Tjader; titled Latino, which was released by Fantasy in 1994. It received a four star rating at AllMusic from the Scott Yanow’s review:
Vibraphonist Cal Tjader is heard leading five different groups throughout this CD but the identities of the flutists, bassists and pianists are less important than knowing that Tjader, Willie Bobo (on drums and timbales) and the great conga player Mongo Santamaria are on every selection. The music really cooks with torrid percussion, inspired ensembles and occasional solos from the sidemen (which sometimes include pianists Lonnie Hewitt or Vince Guaraldi, bassist Al McKibbon and flutist Paul Horn). Highlights include Latinized versions of “Key Largo” and “September Song,” “Night in Tunisia,” “The Continental” and a definitive version of Santamaria’s “Afro Blue.” This is Latin-jazz at its finest. More
Callen Radcliffe Tjader, Jr., a.k.a. Cal Tjader (July 16, 1925 – May 5, 1982) was a Latin jazz musician, though he also explored various other jazz idioms. Unlike other American jazz musicians who experimented with the music from Cuba, the Caribbean, and Latin America, he never abandoned it, performing it until his death. Tjader primarily played the vibraphone. He was also accomplished on the drums, bongos, congas, timpani, and the piano. He worked with numerous musicians from several cultures. He is often linked to the development of Latin rock and acid jazz. Although fusing jazz with Latin music is often categorized as “Latin jazz” (or, earlier, “Afro-Cuban jazz”), Tjader’s output swung freely between both styles. He won a Grammy in 1980 for his album La Onda Va Bien, capping off a career that spanned over forty years. Continue Reading
Dave Pike, Spyro Gyra’s Dave Samuels, and Ruben Estrada. Latin rock guitarist Carlos Santana are a few of those who name Tjader as an influence. Here’s the Cal Tjader Quintet with Mongo Santimaria and the original “Afro Blue” I love it!! Oh, by the way check out the bottom of the first page and see a Spotify playlist that includes a variety of covers of “Afro Blue” several I need to check out, too!!