A few of the tracks included on Poncho Sanchez: Instant Party are naturals. "One Mint Julep" couldn’t be excluded, not only because the song translates effortlessly into a rumba with the extroversion of the band’s shouts, but also because it includes Billy Preston on B-3 organ.... andRay Charles on vocals. Then there’s "Bésame Mamá," on which the legendary Mongo Santamaria, who wrote the song, joins Sanchez’s band on congas. Herbie Hancock’s "Watermelon Man," one of his early hits, proves once again, in Sanchez’s arrangement that it actually is more amenable to Latin clavé, and shouts and off-the-beat interjections and soulful solo work, than it is to jazz’s feeling of four. And Joey DeFrancesco proved on Sanchez’s album, Soul of the Conga, how seamlessly the instrument could fit in among the timbales and shakers and congas and bongos, against all expectations.
But some of the other tracks the feature Sanchez’s band include their own crown-inspiring high points, like Sal Cracchiolo’s trumpet smears on "Hey Bud," or the audience’s wildly enthusiastic reaction to the band’s performance of Eddie Harris’s "Listen Here" and "Cold Duck Time." The hand clapping that cranks up the excitement of "Chili Con Soul" encourages audience participation in one of the most effective ways, and then "Lip Smacker" creates its own party among the band members as they cajole and exclaim and comment, putting the audience at ease to do the same.
Poncho Sanchez fits perfectly into Concord’s concept of a party CD. Any party would pick up the instant that his Instant Party starts to play.