cal tjader – soul sauce

I can’t believe it’s August already…mostly because I haven’t had enough beach bon-fires and cocktail beach bicycle rides.

Living in So Cal tends to spoil you for stuff like this…and it also introduces you to albums like this at smallparties with lots of cocktails.  I’m talking about Cal Tjader’s 1964 album Soul Sauce here!  You got Cal rocking the vibes, the fantastic Willie Bobo on percussion and George Shearing on piano.  What more could you ask for?

Cal was born in St Louis in 1925 and started out his career as a tap dancer, moving on to drums later.  After the start of World War II, Cal enlisted as a medic in 1943 and served out his time until the end of the war when he moved to San Francisco.  It was there that two things happened.  One, he taught him self to play the vibes, and two he met Dave Brubeck.  The two formed a jazz group along with Paul Desmond (who I have written about before) and were a hit on the San Francisco jazz scene.  For most of the fifties, Cal hones his skills as a side man for many jazz greats while making friends with guys like Shearing and Bobo along the way.  Soul Sauce came from the period when Cal finally came into his own as band leader.

Soul sauce was an excellent snapshot of Cal a good way into his career…like 41 albums in. The playing is strong, confident and upbeat. Lots of latin flavor that works just as good on the dance floor as it does in the cocktail lounge.  This is a greta track for a pool party BTW.  This album always sounds cool, no matter how hot the weather.

This was released on the always awesome Verve label, that seemed to be the mark of excellence back in the day.  So if you see a jazz album at a garage sale with the Verve label, you should probably grab it because chances are it’s great.

Less then $10 on amazon!


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