Sounds Visual Radio
Sounds Visual Radio
Episode 191: Luis Gasca

Hailing from Texas and born in 1940, Mexican trumpeter Luis Gasca honed his craft alongside jazz legends like Count Basie and Stan Kenton, as well as Afro-Cuban icons such as Mongo Santamaria and Tito Puente. However, in the late 1960s and early 1970s, he found himself immersed in San Francisco’s vibrant psychedelic scene, sporting long hair and becoming a sought-after sideman. His resume includes performances with Janis Joplin at Woodstock and contributions to albums by the likes of the Grateful Dead, Santana, Malo, Van Morrison, Cal Tjader, George Benson, Joe Henderson, and countless others.

On his second album as a leader–a classic LP entitled For Those Who Chant–Gasca assembled Santana’s classic lineup, resulting in a fusion of Latin jazz and funky Bitches-Brew-inspired euphoria. The album features four expansive tracks, rich with percussion, and is elevated by the addition of Joe Henderson’s smoky tenor saxophone, which intensifies the mystique. Fusion virtuosos Stanley Clarke and Lenny White further enhance the grooves with their electrifying contributions. Drawing inspiration from Miles Davis’s “In A Silent Way,” Gasca infuses the music with a psychedelic flair, replacing Davis’s contemplative phrases with his own bold and spirited trumpet blasts. Tracks like “Spanish Gypsy” draw listeners into profound introspection with its captivating opening. The band’s synergy is palpable, with Joe Henderson’s tenor saxophone prowess shining brightly. Adding to its allure, the album’s artwork, crafted by San Francisco artist Phillip Lindsay Mason, is nothing short of breathtaking, promoting both personal and cultural pride.

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