(Review refers to the original CD release)
Grant Green's reputation is founded on his early 60s, laid back albums for Blue Note, on which his clear bell-toned, lyrical guitar playing was featured with a variety of label stablemates, including McCoy Tyner, Larry Young, Joe Henderson, Bobby Hutcherson, Herbie Hancock and Elvin Jones. The most outstanding of these include; 'Idle Moments', 'Grantstand', 'Feeling' The Spirit' and 'Matador'. At the turn of the 70s, the setting had changed to incendiary funk, but he had lost none of his passion.
'The Latin Bit' lacks the specific atmosphere prevalent on the other albums and while he was certainly capable of playing in the Latin idiom, this project sounds as if it was foistered on him by producers and executives keen to take advantage of contemporary listening trends. The result is that he sounds rather muted throughou, and while some may argue that his restrained playing on display is perfectly suited to these tracks, I feel it is lacks the enthusiasm needed to evoke the spirit of Latin jazz. Many of them were previously performed by Charlie Parker on his 'South Of The Border' issue for Verve and are to my mind definitive interpretations. In addition, there are a handful of lacklustre tracks with Ike Quebec, which don't feature the tenorman (who owed more than a passing debt to Coleman Hawkins) at his best and seem to be album filler, if not fodder. Quebec was an underrated musician who died young, but should best be remembered for 'Blue And Sentimental' also on Blue Note.
Basically, the problem is that this album never really comes to life and that would be a sad indictment of Latin jazz.