Cal Tjader – Fried Bananas

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AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek:
Fried Bananas is the fifth offering released by El in its reissue of material from the artist-driven Sky Records label partnered by Cal Tjader, Gary McFarland, and Gabor Szabo. This 15-track set is a compilation from four different outings on Sky — the brilliant Solar Heat (which was the label’s kick-off release), Cal Tjader Sounds Out Burt Bacharach, Cal Tjader Plugs In, and 12 from Latin Jazz. The tracks from Solar Heat are the real standouts here, featuring João Donato on organ, Ray Barretto, Tjader or Gary McFarland on vibes, and either Chuck Rainey or Bobby Rodriguez on bass. The groove is easy but the playing simmers on high. The Bacharach material — particularly “Walk on By” and “Message from Michael” — is noteworthy for the great sensitivity of its interpretation, partially because of the great sidemen Tjader employed including Michael Melvoin, Jim Keltner, and Andy Newmark. As for the live material, it just plain smokes, especially “Alonzo.” This compilation is a nice slice of rare Tjader, bearing all of his trademark style and class and offering up a fat slice of his creative vision during a particularly restless and fertile era.

Track listings:

1. Amazon – 0:00
2. Here – 2:34
3. Eye of The Devil – 6:15
4. A felicidade – 8:41
5. Fried Bananas – 11:26
6. What The World Needs Now – 14:04
7. A Message To Michael – 18:29
8. My Little Red Book – 23:25
9. I Say A Little Prayer – 26:51
10. Walk On By – 30:23
11. Alonzo – 33:43
12. Song For Pat – 37:48
13. Tra-La-La – 43:01
14. Spooky – 46:00
15. Get Out Of My Way – 50:11

Arranged By – Gary McFarland (tracks: 1 to 5), Mike Abene* (tracks: 1 to 5)
Design – Él Graphic
Producer – Gary McFarland, Norman Schwartz (tracks: 12)
Vibraphone – Cal Tjader