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Fotos: Tom Ehrlich : Con Tumbao 6-18-22
Reportes: From The St... : Cubadisco 2...
Grupos: Changüí de Gua... : Músicos - Members
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Fotos: Tom Ehrlich : Berkeley-2022
Fotos: Tom Ehrlich : Berkeley 2022
Grupos: Pupy y los que Son Son
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Chicago-Based Bands - Nabori
(Photo and writeup by Bill Tilford, all rights reserved)
Background: Is Nabori a Milwaukee-based band or a Chicago-based band? Depending on whom you ask, it's either or both. The two cities are 90 minutes away, and band members are rooted in both places. According to timbalero Wichy Ayala, Nabori has 9 regular members including Robert Figueroa, lead vocal; Rafael Castro, bass; Pedro Julio Silva, piano; John Dorsch, trombone; Angel Rodriguez, trumpet; Rob Collazo, baritone sax; Victor Gonzalez, conga; Albert Rivera, bongo; and Wichy Ayala, timbal. The group will be coming up on its 5th anniversary in May 2011, and some of its influences are El Gran Combo, Bobby Valentin (the bassist), Sonora Ponceña, and Willie Rosario. Except for the occasional exception, the band does all of its own material. Robert Figueroa composes the songs, and the arrangements are more of a collaborative effort. In 2009, the group released a CD, Historias del Barrio , which has been getting airplay in Miami, New York and internationally. One of their songs, Maldita, has also been getting heavy radio rotation in Colombia. The group has played in different Midwest cities but has not yet done a national or international tour. Approximately two-thirds of the group is Boricua, but the musical style is a progressive, uptempo style of Salsa Dura that you can't really label as Puerto Rican or Cuban. Key strengths of the group are the fact that it does its own material, the quality of the arrangements and the ensemble work.
What we saw and heard: We took in a Mardis Gras party set on March 8, 2011 at the Alhambra Palace, an excellent ballroom for this type of music. The regular band was present except for a substitution for the evening (Adrian Ruiz) on piano. The set list included Aguzate Rumbero, Maldita, Se Formo, Recuerdos, Gordito, Como La Veo, Encuentro, Mi Chele Cumbae, Salsipuedes, a Hector Lavoe medley, Camina Conmigo and Aprende Mulato. Since all of the material except the Lavoe tribute was original, we can't really say "sounds like ________", and that's a good problem to have. Out of all of the influences that Wichy mentioned before the set, El Gran Combo might be closest if you cranked it up a couple of notches first. (EGC did both Cuban and Puerto Rican material and shined at both.) Except for one guarija in the middle to cool things down, this was uptempo, serious Salsa Dura, and this writer sensed the invisible hand of groups like Jimmy Bosch's band in the feel of the music (the trumpet, trombone and baritone sax solos were short and to the point but said what needed to be said, and the ensemble work was tight).
The verdict: Nabori plays valid, hard-hitting, up-tempo Salsa Dura, does its own material to boot, and it has the instrumentation together that lets us say this without adding any asterisks or explanatory footnotes. Unless you have some kind of allergy to Salsa Dura, catch them when you can. Nabori is on Facebook and Myspace: