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Saracho – En Medio

193,00 lei

Label: The Verve Music Group – B0033563-01, Impulse! – AS-9247
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album, Reissue
Country: US
Released: Nov 25, 2022
Genre: Jazz
Style: Jazz-Funk, Psychedelic, Jazz-Rock, Latin Jazz, Modal

Out of stock

In 1973, Saracho got his big chance when he convinced Impulse! to sign him to a one-record deal, which would become En Medio. “I had been trying to convince [Impulse! A&R] Lee Young to sign me for a while,” Saracho says, “but what made him finally say yes, he said, was that I finally sounded confident about what I was doing.” Recorded over a weekend in May 1973 at The Village Recorder in West L.A., Saracho’s new band featured a range of musicians, with varying levels of association to UGMAA, a network of largely African American jazz musicians organized by Horace Tapscott that acted as a community resource, linking musicians together and helping them find work. This included Roberto Miranda, bassist in the Herbie Baker Quintet and longtime mainstay in Tapscott’s Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra (PAPA), and Owen Marshall, a Compton-based arranger and multi-instrumentalist who had previously worked for Lee Morgan.

“Gary made the record he had in mind, using young guys of his choice,” says former Impulse! producer Ed Michel, with the finished cut sounding akin to the psychedelic funk of Headhunters-era Herbie Hancock, spiritual arrangements that recalled labelmate Gato Barbieri, laced with the booming Latin percussion of War.

While still falling within the parameters of what one might expect from a jazz fusion album from this era, En Medio never shies away from taking risks. Nowhere is this more evident than on album standout “Señor Baker,” a 14-minute funk behemoth held together by a single bass riff, wailing fuzz guitar, and earth-shattering congas, where nearly every band member gets an extended solo, working within the unit’s chemistry to break out of it. It’s fitting that the album’s most ambitious track, which Saracho had been working on since his UCLA days, would be a tribute to Herbie Baker.

Despite sharing influences with other Latin rock groups from the era, such as Malo, Azteca, (a group which Saracho performed in at various points) or El Chicano, whose sound was firmly rooted in Latin musical traditions and the politics of the Chicano Movement as well as psychedelic rock and soul, Saracho’s output had more in common with Carlos Santana, who had by then shifted from acid rock towards introspective collaborative albums with jazz fusion guitarist John McLaughlin and spiritual harpist Alice Coltrane.

Like its creator, En Medio refuses categorization — it doesn’t fit in neatly with the rest of the albums made by the Los Angeles jazz or Latin rock artists at that time, instead acting as a bridge between two otherwise thought-to-be disconnected scenes. “What I wanted to do with En Medio was bring together all of these separate influences and groups of people and show how they were all connected, how there was a universal language,” Saracho says.

Released in the fall of 1973, En Medio found an audience with jazz DJs across the country. DownBeat magazine awarded the album a perfect five-star rating. “Herbie [Hancock] called me, and was like, ‘Medio, you did it! Five stars!’” Saracho remembers. “Yeah but you wrote ‘Watermelon Man!’ And that got you the Ferrari!’”

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