Cal Tjader left an indelible mark on jazz for many years before his passing in 1982. A percussionist, pianist, and vibraphonist, the Jazz Detective label presents yet another exceptional document consisting of two CDs. The deluxe package includes reflections from producer Zev Feldman and Brent Fischer (son of pianist Clare Fischer), liner notes from DJ and music journalist Greg Casseus, as well as interviews with Poncho Sánchez, Eddie Palmieri, Joe Locke, Gary Burton, Carl Burnett, and a statement from Tjader’s children, Rob and Liz Tjader. The extended booklet contains unpublished photos by Ray Avery and Fred Seligo.
All performances heard in this set are previously unreleased. The legend of vibraphonist Cal Tjader is accompanied by various quintets, supported by pianists Clare Fischer, Lonnie Hewitt, and Al Zulaica, bassists Fred Schreiber, Terry Hilliard, Monk Montgomery, and Stan Gilbert, drummers Johnny Rae and Carl Burnett, and percussionists Bill Fitch and Armando Peraza. This time, we have a recording of very high quality and perfectly broadcastable; you will soon find it on Bayou Blue Radio. Therefore, we must thank (original recording engineer: Jim Wilke – Mixing and sound restoration by Sheldon Zaharko at Zed) because the original recording being of maximum quality, this restoration has worked wonders, making this album come alive. The choice of tracks is very judicious, ranging from well-known to lesser-known titles, and one remains amazed by Cal Tjader’s dexterity.
Bearing Feldman’s nickname “the jazz detective” and reflecting his determined work to unearth previously unreleased and award-winning treasures, the Jazz Detective label is an imprint of Deep Digs Music Group, a partnership with Elemental Music in Spain, with which Feldman has a long professional relationship. Feldman states, “It has been a great pleasure to take this journey and present these spectacular recordings of Tjader’s performances at the Penthouse to the world. This is a project that took several years. I was fortunate to work with Charlie Puzzo, Jr., son of Penthouse founder Charlie Puzzo, Sr., and original recording engineer and radio host Jim Wilke to produce this joyful collection of music. It’s simply wonderful music, a bit bittersweet because Cal Tjader is truly an underestimated jazz giant today. In my eyes, it’s sad that Cal Tjader’s stature seems to have diminished since his death in 1982, even though in his time, he attracted and touched a massive audience. And a broad audience, composed of both young and old.”
And it is precisely here that thanks to such an album, the process of passing on knowledge can occur. Having knowledge of all these figures who made the most beautiful hours of jazz in their time is to embrace a culture that every young musician will carry within them and use throughout their career. A double album to give or savor for personal consumption or with friends, as you prefer! And an “Essential” as recognized by the editorial teams of Bayou Blue Radio and Paris-Move.
PARIS-MOVE, November 21st 2023