Roy Ayers might be the king of the vibes, but before there was Roy Ayers, there was vibraphonist Cal Tjader (pronounced CHAY-der), who despite not being of latino decent, played primarily latin infused jazz, and he was truly the master at it. Here is a video of him performing Manhã de Carnaval

Not only is this a rare look at Cal Tjader performing live, he is playing alongside an all-star cast, with the late, great Clare Fischer on the piano, the incomparable Poncho Sanchez on congas, Robb Fischer on the bass, and Vince Lateano on drums. Cal’s smooth sound and style is like no other, and his garb from this era would fit right in at your local hipster hang out. He is one of those particular artists where if you like one of his songs, you would favor his entire catalog. While other American Jazz artists experimented with the Afro-Cuban / Latin sound, Cal was consistent with it, as it became is trademark until his death in 1982. Cal Tjader was recognized for his work, winning a Grammy in 1980.
The below video is from the same performance, but a different song entitled Guachi Guara from Tjader’s famed Soul Sauce album. You will be amazed at Poncho Sanchez’s Conga solo, which is simply incredible. In both videos, you can also see Cal play with other percussion instruments.

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