Pacific Mambo Orchestra


What do Pete Escobedo, Johnny Polanco, Ruben Blades, La Charanga Habanera, Ray de la Paz, Isaac Delgado, Tito Nieves, Tito Puente, Cal Tjader, Prince, The Temptations, Mariah Carrey, Santana have in common? - They have all shared the stage with musicians of the Pacific Mambo Orchestra. 

Since 2010, the Pacific Mambo Orchestra has taken the Californian Latin scene by storm. They have played in well-known Cafe Cocomo (San Francisco) twice a month for the last two years. Thus having had the chance to adjust their repertoire and build up a solid fan base, they soon performed on the San Francisco Salsa Congress, US Salsa Championships and San Jose Jazz Festival. Not only has the band lead, Christian Tumalan and Steffen Kuehn, managed to come up with a bunch of outstanding musicians, but they also created a big band sound with a modern twist. Both are well known in the Jazz and Latin scene having received international recognition for their work.

Be warned, on the first contact with this CD, the band will have you on the hook. The big band sound honours the old school area of Machito and Tito Puente, but the sound is fresh, modern and brave. Brave describes exactly the decision for the first track on the CD, it takes guts to cover ‘el Cantante‘ on a debut album. After Rubén Blades‘ and Héctor Lavoe‘s versions, Marc Anthony‘s has been played a lot on the dancefloors. Pacific Mambo Orchestra transfers this song to yet another level, Willy Torres (ex Spanish Harlem Orchestra) voice is perfectly balanced with the horn section and the piano. Listen to the trombone solo by Jeff Cressman (current Santana line-up) and hover over the dancefloor. The arrangement is a master piece and demonstrates the fortitude and courage of the band combining an outstanding band lead with the best musicians of the West Coast. 


However, there is no big band without a backbone of a solid rhythm section. On the liner notes you find a name, Karl Perazzo. We are talking about a man who has played with Cal Tjader while being in the 6th grade and has recorded three albums with Carlos Santana being member of Santana‘s current line-up. 

Besides the outstanding cover of ‘el Cantante‘ there are also songs by Pacific Mambo Orchestra. ‘Cuando Soy Contigo‘ is one to be remembered. The song has also a full big band line-up and will fire up the dancefloor. The arrangement of the song allows Carlos Cascante (Spanish Harlem Orchestra) to display his outstanding vocal abilities to the full. 

Pacific Mambo Orchestra is definitely one of the best current Latin big band orchestras in the world with arrangements that are built on an old school foundation with a fresh, hot, modern topping. 

Highly recommended! 


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