Album Remarks & Appraisals:
"Poncho Sanchez is the Energizer Bunny, or maybe the Cal Ripken Jr., of Latin jazz. Since 1982, the veteran conga player and bandleader has turned out consistently excellent, high-octane albums on an annual basis for Concord Picante, some two dozen so far.
His latest, Do It!, doesn't mess with the formula that's made Sanchez's group one of the most popular Latin jazz bands in the world. The nine-piece band is a crowd pleaser, offering a bit of everything from Afro-Cuban bebop (Chano Pozo's "Tin Tin Deo ) to dancefloor-ready cha-cha (the leader's "Yo Quisiera ), toe-tapping soul jazz (pianist David Torres' "Short Dog ), and a Duke Ellington classic ("African Flower ). Throw in guest appearances by '70s funk icons Tower of Power and South African legend Hugh Masekela, who lends his evocative vocals to two of his own compositions, and it's a truly eclectic affair. But all these diverse ingredients are held together by the supremely tight ensemble playing of the seasoned group and the leader's fiery percussion.
With Do It!, one of the leading lights of Latin jazz does it yet again." -AllAboutJazz
"While the personnel helping to provide the trademark Latin jazz sound ofPoncho Sanchez has changed somewhat, the personality of his band and its convincing approach just keeps on getting better. Like fine wine...
Special guests Hugh Masekela and Tower of Power give Do It! a classic funk quality that extends throughout the entire program. Masekela's two soulful vocal numbers lend an earthy quality to the session, while Tower of Power pumps it up with sass and class. Recall from his December 1999 All About Jazz interview that Sanchez likes working out with pioneers such as these who have led the funk and soul domain for many decades. His vocal on "Shotgun Slim" reveals his hearty enthusiasm for soulful storytelling. Sanchez plays and sings from an emotional viewpoint, giving it his all every time out.
Duke Ellington's "African Flower" gives the album a focus that traces the band's sound back almost 25 years to its beginning. Exciting horns announce the piece's classic theme as the rhythm section drives with never-ending momentum. They portray the theme with exotic colors. Soloists David Urquidi, David Torres, and Sanchez step forward with enthusiastic rounds that provide a creative thrill. Together, the band honors the tradition that brought them here: jazz that swings, along with rhythmic pride.
Torres' "Short Dog," a personal favorite, introduces the blues in a convivial atmosphere that rolls out soulfully as if every day were party hearty day. The band's balance of horns and rhythm combines with piano and organ to unleash a feeling of utter confidence. You just want to stand up and strut for a while and hope that those sitting near you feel the same way.
"Tin Tin Deo" features a lovely Spanish vocal theme that allows the band to explore classic Latin jazz through its stellar mambo arrangement. Soloists Javier Vergara and Sanchez give this one a lightning spark that drives with fire.
The session ends with a funky "Together," on which Francisco Torres, David Torres, and Sanchez solo with loose limbs and the spirit of a veteran. Sanchez is a veteran who bares his soul every time out. With Do It!, he's leading the way. Highly recommended for fans of Latin jazz and all other kinds of good music, this one will do it for ya." -AllAboutJazz
Personnel: Poncho Sanchez (vocals, congas, guiro, percussion, bells); Hugh Masekela (vocals); Javier Vergara (flute, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone); David Urquidi (baritone saxophone); Serafin Aguilar (trumpet, flugelhorn); Francisco Torres (trombone, background vocals); David Torres (piano, Hammond b-3 organ); Tony Banda (bass instrument, background vocals); Sal Vasquez (bongos, bata); George Ortiz (timbales, percussion).
Additional personnel: Tower of Power (various instruments).
Liner Note Author: Willard Jenkins.
Journeyman Latin jazz bandleader Poncho Sanchez delivers another stellar and high-energy release with Do It! Featuring Sanchez's longtime ensemble, the album also includes appearances by funk legends Tower of Power, who play throughout, as well as South African jazz/funk legend trumpeter Hugh Masekela. Interestingly, rather than revisit one of Masekela's better-known hits like "Grazin' in the Grass," Sanchez chose to delve into older pieces from Masekela's debut, The Emancipation of Hugh Masekela, including the celebratory "Ha Lese Le Di Khanna" and the moody "Child of the Earth." Both showcase Masekela's evocative vocals. With such superb guest artists here, Do It! delivers an electrifying mix of dancefloor-ready pieces, modal Afro-jazz numbers, and Latin-inflected funk. ~ Matt Collar