Down Beat (p.73) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "Sanchez and Blanchard dodge the usual tribute trap by including some original material and slowing things down for a gorgeous rendering of Ivan Lins' 'Nocturna.'"
JazzTimes (p.54) - "Of the Gillespie tunes, the mambo-fied 'Groovin' High' captures especially well the spirit of the original..."
Personnel: Poncho Sanchez (vocals, congas, percussion); Terence Blanchard (trumpet); Francisco Torres (vocals, trombone); Tony Banda (vocals); Rob Hardt (alto saxophone, tenor saxophone); Ron Francis Blake (trumpet); David Torres (piano); Joey De Leon, Jr. (drums, bongos, percussion); George Ortiz (timbales).
Audio Mixers: Francisco Torres; Poncho Sanchez; Seth Presant.
Recording information: Henson Recording Studios, Los Angeles, CA.
Photographer: Ashley Stagg.
Latin jazz percussionist Poncho Sanchez teams up with trumpeter Terence Blanchard to pay tribute to the innovative Afro-Cuban jazz recordings of Dizzy Gillespie and Chano Pozo on 2011's Chano y Dizzy! Introduced to each other in 1947, legendary bebop trumpeter Gillespie and equally famous Cuban congo player Pozo created what was to be called Afro-Cuban jazz and helped spur the development of Latin jazz. Consequently, their names are synonymous with such compositions as "Tin Tin Deo," "Con Alma," and "Manteca" -- all of which are covered here. Long an avowed acolyte of Gillespie and Pozo, Sanchez is the perfect musician to delve into this music, as is Blanchard, who clearly has an affinity for Latin-infused jazz. While Sanchez and Blanchard tackle such Afro-Cuban-associated gems as Gillespie's "Groovin' High" and even Pozo's punchy and bright 1930s composition "Ariñañara," they also explore some more contemporary pieces well suited to the vibe. Among these are the steamy Ivan Lins ballad "Nocturna" (which Blanchard also covered on his 2003 release Bounce) as well as Ernesto Lecuona's languid ballroom number "Siboney." In keeping with the Latin bop aesthetic, there are also some fine small big-band originals from Sanchez's band, including trombonist Francisco Torres' driving "Promenade" and trumpeter Ron Blake's funky boogaloo "Harris' Walk." An inspired and heartfelt tribute, Chano y Dizzy! is a must-hear for Latin jazz fans as well as longtime Sanchez and Blanchard listeners. ~ Matt Collar