Ahead of the curve, Concord reaches back into its archives of hours of available Latin recordings by artists who are belatedly receiving the recognition they long deserved for the complexity and cohesion of their music. Eddie Palmieri virtually dropped from public recognition until Concord helped to resurrect his career with the La Perfecta II CD, reminding listeners of his signature sound of flute and trombone made famous in his first La Perfecta group. And Concord provided the platform for Ray Barretto’s New World Spirit group in the 1990’s, which may have been unrecorded otherwise. On Cha Cha Soul! Barretto is represented by "Guaji-Rita," which infuses a jazz sensibility, particularly on saxophonist Adam Kolker’s solo, with the clavé.
In addition to the classic performances like Tito Puente’s "Oye Como Va," a few surprises occur, like Carmen McRae’s work with Cal Tjader on "Evil Ways" from their joint Heat Wave album, recorded just four months before Tjader passed away in 1982. And there’s the Caribbean Jazz Project’s recent (2003) version of Herbie Hancock’s "Tell Me A Bedtime Story," trumpeter Ray Vega substituting on horn for the earlier work by Paquito D’Rivera while vibraphonist Dave Samuels remains the constant presence in the group. Cha Cha Soul! is characterized not only by the Latin percussion, played so expertly by the likes of Tito Puente or Mongo Santamaria, but also by the sense of fun that makes the music so accessible.