Monday, November 30, 2015

Azteca - 1972 - Azteca


01. La Piedra Del Sol   
02. Mamita Linda   
03. Ain't Got No Special Woman   
04. Empty Prophet   
05. Can't Take The Funk Out Of Me   
06. Peace Everybody   
07. Non Pacem   
08. Ah! Ah!   
09. Love Not Then   
10. Azteca   
11. Theme: La Piedra Del Sol   

12. Ain't Got No Special Woman (Single Version)
13. Mamita Linda (Single Version)

- Pete Escovedo: vocals
- Coke Escovedo: timbales
- Victor Pantoja: conga drums, vocals
- George Moribus: electric piano
- Flip Nunez: organ
- George De Quattro: piano, clavinet
- Paul Jackson: bass, vocals
- Lenny White: drums, vocals
- Jim Vincent: guitar
- Neal Schon: guitar (on 3, 5 6)
- Jules Rowell: valve trombone
- Tom Harrell: trumpet
- Bob Ferreira: piccolo, tenor sax
- Mel Martin: saxophones, flute, piccolo
- Errol Knowles: vocals
- Wendy Haas: vocals
- Rico Reyes: vocals

Azteca was a Latin jazz-rock-fusion group formed in 1972, started by Coke Escovedo and his brother Pete Escovedo, who had played on Santana III (1971). Azteca was the first large-scale attempt to combine multiple musical elements in the context of a Latin orchestra setting, and featured horns, woodwinds, multiple keyboards, three vocalists, guitars, drums, and multiple Latin percussionists.

Onstage, the band consisted of between 15-25 members, and toured with acts including Stevie Wonder. Other notable Azteca members included drummer Lenny White, bassist Paul Jackson, vocalist Wendy Haas, trumpeter Tom Harrell, guitarist Neal Schon, vocalist Errol Knowles and percussionist Victor Pantoja. The group was also a musical starting point for Latin percussionist Sheila E. (the daughter of Pete Escovedo), who appeared with the band as a teenager. They released only two albums between 1972-1973.

This is a great little lost gem of the early 70's, combining juicy Funk with Santana-esque Latin influenced Rock. Overall it's a solid release with no bad tracks and a good cohesion and musicianship throughout, but little stands out until near the end of side two when the amazingly catchy and feelgood Love Not Then comes on, which is one of my most favourite obscure finds ever. The whole LP is worth getting just for this track.