Viva Africa

by: Johnny Pacheco

With his eight-man "nuevo tumbao" in tow, flutist Johnny Pacheco saluted the music of Africa (where he'd toured twice before) with 1972's Viva Africa. Although only the liner notes bear the dateline of Africa, and the music betrays no hint of African influence (or even reference), it's still a vivid, energetic, swinging record, with vocalists Monguito and Chivirico Davila leading the chorus. Pride of place goes to the opener, "El Champolon (Bacalao)," a swift dance number, though the mid-tempo "A Moron" is close behind, boasting a brassy swing and great harmonizing. Unlike the majority of Latin LPs, Viva Africa doesn't have a weak track on it; the last, "El Mundo," is as brisk, creative, and catchy as the first. ~ John Bush

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