SONG OF THE DAY Sabu Martinez – My Christina

Oh me oh my!! This is sublime!!! Listen to those heavenly tumbling rhythms as they gracefully cascade over that sinuous flute melody, rolling out into a body of primeval groove! This heady treat has bewitched me with its hypnotic incantation and I want to be swallowed whole into its earthy body!

My Christina was first issued on 1973 when American conguero percussionist Louis Martinez, a.k.a Sabu Martinez, released his Afro Temple album – a record I knew nothing about until I heard it today! I’ve just bought a copy!!! Born in New York City, Martinez made his professional debut in 1941 at the tender age of 11!! By the time he was 18 he had replaced Chano Pozo in Dizzy Gillespie’s orchestra (in 1948) and began performing with Benny Goodman’s Bebop Orchestra in 1949. Over the next 15 years, Martinez worked with Charlie Parker, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, J. J. Johnson, Horace Silver, Thelonious Monk, Charles Mingus, Mary Lou Williams, Lionel Hampton, Noro Morales, Marcelino Guerra, Esy Morales, the Lecuona Cuban Boys, Miguelito Valdés, Tito Rodríguez, and the Joe Loco Trio. He also worked with vocalists Tony Bennett, Sammy Davis, Jr., and Harry Belafonte.

Not only did he perform with some jazz greats, Martinez also recorded several Latin jazz albums of his own, and these are are all now recognised as classics of the Afro-jazz genre!  In 1957, after he became a bandleader, Martinez released his debut album, Palo Congo on the Blue Note label. Followed by a handful of other releases, Afro Temple was to be the last of his albums, though he did continue to contribute on a number of other artists records, recording right up into his early passing in 1979 at the age of only 48.

I’ve a lot to investigate here and am so chuffed to have stumbled upon this impressive percussionist – I love all things rhythms as I know I always declare!! I hope, like me, you can lose yourself in the wonder that is My Christina! Check it out above.

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