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Plugs In by Cal Tjader
Released: Feb 1969
Label: DCC Compact Classics, Inc.
Cal Tjader Plugs In remains the standout of the handful of albums that the vibraphonist cut for his short-lived Skye label during the late 1960s. The set captures a brief concert by Tjader and his Latin-jazz crew, and it's a real keeper. Check out the band's cover of "Lady Madonna" (which features a superior Rhodes keyboard solo by the little-heard-of Al Zulaica -- what ever happened to that guy?). Like that cut, Tjader's vibraphone spotlight on "Spooky" avoids being a sellout -- it's just a jazz version of a good tune. Another highlight is his reading of Horace Silver's "Nica's Dream." Fun set.
Nick Dedina

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