Callen Radcliffe Tjader, Jr., the master of Latin rhythms, was born of Swedish descent in St. Louis on July 16, 1925. He first attracted national attention when he joined the Lionel Hampton band. Cal played and recorded with several of Dave Brubeck’s groups, and led his own band for a brief period, before joining George Shearing in 1952. It was during the Shearing period that Cal developed what was to become a lifelong love affair with Latin music.
In 1954, Cal reformed his band and began a highly successful touring and recording career that resulted in over fifty albums and hundreds of concerts. Probably more than any other non-Latin musician, Tjader helped to popularize the fusion of Latin and jazz tempos. The sound of the group remained authentically Latin, undiminished in explosive force. This album is characterized by its searing brass and exciting percussions. The insistent beat energized Latin dancers, while the interplay of basic jazz elements raised it above just good dance music.
The major goal of this recording was to retain the essential live flavor of the music and performers. Close-miking techniques were not used on this recording. Instead, four overhead microphones plus a direct input for the bass were employed to capture the sound of eleven musicians together with the correct acoustic perspective between instruments.
Listening to the playback of the recording session was a rewarding experience for all involved. The realism and musical accuracy of the finished product were a delight to both the musicians and the recording crew.