gullbuy music review

The New Swing Sextet


Monkey See, Monkey Do: Groovy Latin Swingers From Harlem's Best Combo - 1967 to 1971




The New Swing Sextet CD coverThe New Swing Sextet are a Latin jazz combo from New York that formed in the mid 60s with members who still perform today. Monkey See, Monkey Do: Groovy Latin Swingers From Harlem's Best Combo - 1967 to 1971 is a Vampi Soul compilation which combines together recordings the group made in the late 60s/early 70s for the Cotique label.

They combine a Latin jazz feel like Cal Tjader with a vocal boogaloo sound that will have you shaking a tailfeather. As an added bonus, they are also joined on some numbers by the female singing trio called The Revue which fleshes out the vocal sound even more.

The disc has mostly originals like Monkey See, Monkey Do, My Baby Couldn't Wait, Baby Get A Hold On My Heart, and The Monster: songs with a simple piano led Latin jazz base, stellar vocal interplay and a boogaloo groove with the Latin percussion that just can't be beat.

The group has a couple of originals which quote extensively from other songs but also has their own thing (lyrically and musically) added to the songs to make it their own. Up Tight quotes extensively from Stevie Wonder's song of the same name but also has an added New Swing Sextet section which really extends this song vocally and musically.

Coquero also quotes from Cannibal & the Headhunters' Land of 1000 Dances which gives you good sense of where these swingsters are taking you.

The New Swing Sextet also do some choice covers. While they are joined by The Revue on their cover of Goin' Out Of My Head for a less than stellar but endearing loungey performance with some strained vocals, their rendition of Rodgers and Hammerstein's My Favorite Things transforms this song into a Latin jazz treat replete with a sweet vibes solo.

Their cover of Dick Bowell's Think Drink is especially nice, sounding like a soft drink jingle, thanks to its relaxed feel and the whistled melody.

---Patrick, May 12, 2006