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For Larry C

Jeff Matthews

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I'll be thinking of you guys at that concert.


Hi Jeff,

I'm not getting takers on the Planets concert I've mentioned, probably because we already had a great Planets concert several years ago. I may pass on a group event this year. I'll keep my eyes peeled for one that draws our kind of crowd including you.

Is the "Sofrito" from where you're thinking of going? Or moving to? Are you there yet? Plans?

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I wonder how many variations on this song Mongo's performed over the years. It's in keeping with the name, Sofrito, which is a basic sauce used as the building blocks of many Spanish dishes. Here's a basic recipe I pulled off the web:


  • 2 medium green peppers, seeds removed
  • 1 red sweet pepper, seeds removed
  • 2 large tomatoes
  • 2 medium onions, peeled
  • 1 head of garlic, peeled
  • 1 bunch cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 bunch parsley leaves


1. Chop and blend all the ingredients in a food processor or blender.

Now as to the music itself, although at its heart a blend of traditional music and Latin jazz, in some ways you can sense a classical musical composition in the way it builds on its various elements to create a whole. It's structure, of course, has little ion common with some of the conventions of classical music, but in the end, like The Planets it moves the listener. Come to think of it, if I remember correctly The Planets also overturned some of the classic classical conventions.

Oh, by the way Larry, click on the word Sofrito in the first post to hear the music play.

Also, little known factoid. Mongo, Alex Karas's character in the movie "Blazing Saddles" is named after Mongo Santamaria.

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Is the "Sofrito" from where you're thinking of going? Or moving to? Are you there yet? Plans?

No connection to anything. I just stumbled across that song on an old CD called "Salsa Explosion." In that version of Sofrito, the flutist is undoubtedly Johnny Pacheco. This music was put out in the 1960's and 1970's. Pacheco was multi-talented and went to Juilliard. He gathered many fine musicians around the world to record and perform. He is known best for forming the Fania Allstars.

I have no clue who is playing piano or trumpet in that album version of Sofrito, but they are very good.

Here is a good quality video recording of the Fania Allstars live in Africa in 1974. The first couple of songs feature the "Queen of Salsa," herself. Pacheco is is the guy with the mustache and goatee. He conducts the band and plays the flute. Jorge Santana (brother of Carlos) plays guitar there and is featured. His "sound" is uncanny. Must be genetic within the Santana family.

The 3rd song shows the "Big Band" composition. The 4th is where you'll see Santana.

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