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Sunday, 19 April 2015, 01:41 PM

Some Important Upcoming US Performances

Omar Sosa; Melvis Santa; Jane Bunnett and Maqueue

Spring is here, and some dont'miss  performances are coming up in different cities in the United States: 

I. Omar Sosa y Cuarteto AfroCubano

Omar's newest group is currently on tour in multiple cities in the United States in support of their new release ilé, a return to Omar's Cuban musical roots. You can read my review of that album (in English) here.  I will have the good fortune to be able to catch them live during one of their many performances at the Jazz Showcase in Chicago from April 23-26; they also have dates in LA on the 19th, Washington DC on the 29th and Brooklyn NY on the 30th before heading off to Europe.  You can see the full tour schedule here. 


II. Melvis Santa

Melvis Santa already has an impressive resume - a founding member of Sexto Sentido, work with Interactivo as well as many Cuban Jazz artists, film work in Siete días en la Habana and her own projects Santa Habana and Achedi.  This Chicago performance (At Sabor a Cafe on May 9) has her collaborating with a hand-picked ensemble, three of whom took the roof off the place a few weeks ago when they played there with Eliel Lazo:  Cuban saxophonist and keyboardist Orlando Sanchez "Cubajazz",  bassist Joshua Ramos and guitarist/keyboardist Rob Block.  Melvis' voice is one of those that I would listen too even if she were singing the Chicago telephone directory.  But don't take my word for it - her YouTube channel is here. This is also an opportunity to buy her CD Santa Habana, which I have heard (I love it) and will be reviewing soon.  This is a small venue (with wonderful Colombian food incidentally), so make your reservations now.      

III.   Jane Bunnett  and Maqueque

This is hardly Jane Bunnett' s  first rodeo with top-tier Cuban artists, nor is it the first time that an excellent all-female ensemble has come together to perform Cuban music.  What is new is that the lineup includes heavy hitters like drummer Yissy Garcia, who recently stood a few US cities on their ears during a tour with her own project, Bandancha, and this group draws on the strengths of Yissy, Yusa and others to throw down an interesting mix of Cuban music, Jazz and Soul.  The group will be touring Canada and the west coast of the United States in May at the following locations: 

Jazz Bistro – Toronto Canada – Wednesday May 6 to Saturday May 9
PDX Jazz @ Jimmy Mak’s – Portland Oregon – Monday May 11
Jazz Alley – Seattle Washington – Tuesday May 12, Wednesday May 13
Piedmont Piano Company – In-Store Concerts – Oakland CA – Thursday May 14
Jazz Bakery Presents at Moss Theater – Santa Monica CA – Saturday May 16
MIM Music Theater (Musical Instrument Museum) – Phoenix AZ – Sunday May 17
Kuumbwa Jazz Center – Santa Cruz CA – Monday May 18

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Sunday, 19 April 2015, 05:25 AM

Michel Maza con el Charangón

2005 Audio Concert from Colombia

After the tragic death of Elio Revé in 1997, his son Elito took over and within a few years had proven himself to be his father's equal in terms of assembling talent. Lele (now in Van Van) and ex-Trabuquero El Gallo each passed through the group alongside Revé's long-standing lead vocalist Dagoberto Vásquez and like his father, Elito employed a succession of brilliant musical directors - Jiovanni Cofiño, Arnaldo Jiménez and now Aisar Hernández.

This live show comes from the brief but wonderful period during which Michel Maza sang with Revé.

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Saturday, 18 April 2015, 07:59 AM

Feliz Cumple Manolito Simonet

Happy Birthday Manolito!

Manolito Simonet by Cristian MuñozManolito Simonet photo courtesy of Cristian Muñoz

For International Timba Month we honor not only anniversaries but also birthdays. Bandleader Manolito Simonet celebrates his birthday today and we wish him health, happiness and que haya trabuco pa' rato. Manolito hails from Camagüey and has been one of the main proponents of heavily son-influenced timba. His piano tumbaos are mesmerizing hooks that are irresistible to dancers. Who doesn't immediately recognize the opening tumbao of "Marcando la distancia"?

But Manolito is not just living in the past and neither are we, although we have posted a lot of classic timba and there is more to come. Timba is alive and well in Cuba and here is the recent official video of the collaboration between F-Clan and Manolito Simonet y Su Trabuco "Yo soy bueno". A tasty combination of urban Havana with the son sello of  Manolito Simonet, it is destined to be another big dance floor hit.

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Friday, 17 April 2015, 08:18 AM

Happy Anniversary Klímax!

To Celebrate a Classic Concert c1995

Piloto, Tony Pérez, Papiosco, Yonder, Riverón & Co.

Today Giraldo Piloto & Klímax celebrate their anniversary. In tribute we offer fans this video filmed by the late, great Chuck Silverman, this is the original Klímax, playing at the famous "piscina" venue of the Hotel Riviera with the original lineup with priceless closeup footage of Piloto and Yonder de Jesús Peña Llovet (who has a great youtube channel of his own). They play half a dozen songs from the first album, Mira si te gusta (all of the brilliant original Eurotropical material is now downloadable on amazon), and some dramatic and riveting Latin jazz arrangements.

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