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Manteca performing at a festival in July 2012
Their repertoire consisted of pieces composed by keyboardist Aaron Davis and Rick Tait, and, after he replaced Davis on keys in 1992, Gordon Sheard. In addition to having horn sections and Latin and African percussion, they included synthesisers, creating music in a "pan-fusion" style, essentially jazz improvisation drawing from salsa, samba, funk and tribal influences.
The band began playing in Toronto in 1979, and by 1987 were touring annually in Canada. Their US debut was at the Concord Jazz Festival in 1989, and they played at the North Sea, Pori and Stockholm jazz festivals in 1990.
They received a Juno award in 1989 for Instrumental Artist of the Year.
After a hiatus, Manteca released a new album, Onward in 2007, and resumed touring. Onward included some different instruments, such as EWI (Electronic Wind Instrument) and pennywhistle. Guest composers for this album are Gord Sheard and Doug Wilde.
Other members of the band have included keyboardist Aaron Davis, saxophonist John Johnson, Gordon Sheard, Wayne Baker, Herb Koffman, Rick Tait, Steve McDade, Kirk MacDonald, Ralph Bowen, Gary Boigon, Phil Dwyer, Earl Leader, Norman Jones, Art Avalos, Mike Sloski, David James and Charlie Cooley.
- 1980 - Manteca
- 1984 - Strength in Numbers
- 1986 - No Heroes
- 1987 - Fire Me Up
- 1989 - Perfect Foot
- 1990 - Extra, Extra
- 1992 - Later is Now!
- 1996 - No Net
- 2007 - Onward
- 2008 - Fun Fun - A Night in Montreal
- 2013 - Monday Night at the Mensa Disco
- 2016 - The Twelfth of Never