Picante!

Here is something I think you will really enjoy: this is a recording of a really dynamic group I was lucky enough to be a part of in Ann Arbor during the early eighties — a Latin Jazz group that called itself “Picante”  — that means “spicy” for those of you gringos that don’t speak Spanish — and it certainly was, in a musical sense. The group was led by Reggie Smythe on congas and Latin percussion along with Dave Koether on Latin trap set. I was the bass player, and we had Robbie Rosenstock on fender rhodes piano, and Dave Mann on flutes and saxophones. There was another drummer who remains unnamed, apparently some Cuban guy from New York who ripped off the other two congueros and split town or something, according to Dave.

At any rate, it was a great band. One doesn’t always realise whenst one is among gems, and I’d say this was one of those times for me, because listening to this music I can only sigh and say wow, what a “combo”. A really smokin jazz outfit, sometimes it sounds like Weather Report, other times Cal Tjader. The intellectual approach to the music taken by Robbie and Dave Mann really enriched the tonality while Reggie and Dave Koether made sure that Latin roots were respected. And me, well… I just funked along and I got a first hand opportunity to play with these smokin cats, and practice what I knew of bass tumbaus. Which seems to be considerable, to listen to it now. So please enjoy these two sets from Picante, circa July 1982 or therabouts.

You should be able to hear the music playing if your computer is set up with a sound card and speakers and flash player in your browser.

Set 1
Liberated Brother
Sabor
I’m Not So Sure
Samba d’Orfeo
The Golden Hours

Set 2
Picante
American Gypsy
Armando’s Rhumba
Tears of a Clown
Vonetta
Latin America

Personnel:

Reggie Smythe, congas
Dave Koether, drums
Bringuito, timbales
David Mann, saxohone and flute
Robbie Rosenstock, fender rhodes piano
Hugh J. Hitchcock, bass

if anyone wants mp3s, just contact me.
Thanks to Dave Koether for archiving this recording, and providing it for our listening enjoyment twenty five years after the fact.

Picante Live in Concert