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Nuestros Primos Musicales
Nuestros Primos Musicales
See our Events & Reviews Section for an extensive Calendar of Events that shows what's happening in the Chicago area and within driving distance for Chicagoans.
Although our primary mission is dedicated to Cuban music (especially Timba), there is a lot of other Latin music out there that is of interest to our readers as well. Recognizing this, Nuestros Primos Musicales will carry listings of Salsa groups of merit (those playing some Cuban material will still be carried in the main sections), miscellaneous Latin Jazz and occasionally other things that are worth sharing with you but don't quite fit in our main section. See also our main page, Report From Chicago, and our blog, Sin Clave No Hay Na', for additional items of interest..
(All photos used in this section that are watermarked with the "TIMBA.com" logo are by Bill Tilford unless otherwise specified, all rights reserved.)
20 April 2014
R.I.P. / D. E. P. Cheo Feliciano, who left us on April 17th. He had been fighting liver cancer for a long time, but an auto accident took him from us first. Cheo was the voice on countless Salsa albums and was one of the most important singers of the Fania Era. He will be missed.
(Photo from one of Cheo's Facebook pages.)
Thanks to an utterly massive project regarding music in Cuba, it will be necessary to put Nuestros Primos on hiatus until the beginning of June to free up time (even this writer has to sleep an hour or two here or there.) You can still see what is developing in the Sin Clave No Hay Na' blog, the From The Studios section, and the Reviews section, and Report From Chicago will still be updated although perhaps less frequently. See you in June...
13 April 2014
On Tuesday the 8th the Humboldt Park Orchestra turned in another fine performance. We look forward to more of these in the future.
THIS WEEK: Poncho Sanchez and is Latin Band are appearing at S.P.A.C.E. in Evanston. For more information, visit http://evanstonspace.com/
6 April 2014
The option that we are going to stress this week is at the Alhambra Palace on Tuesday, March 8, when the Humboldt Park Orchestra returns with Noche de Damas Part 2, featuring many of the area's finest female Salsa musicians and vocalists. For more information about this event, see 4fantasticevents.com
If you are active in any aspect of the Chicago area Salsa community, there is now a new Facebook forum, the Chicago Salsa Discussion Forum, which is dedicated to discussing issues in the Salsa community rather than promoting events. This new forum already has over 230 members and is rapidly growing. Their page is at
30 March 2014:
Johnny Blas and the Afro-Libre Orchestra threw down a fine set at the Alhambra Palace on Tuesday. The band has staffed up from three trombonists to four (Tony Herrera is the fourth, Jaime Claudio has joined the group on timbales and Primo Cruz joined on vocals. Alex English's keyboard work really stood out and helped make some of the standards (the set was a combination of standards and originals) more distinctive. This group will be a welcome addition to Chicago's Salsa Dura ranks.
The CLub Mambo along with Latin Street Dancing and Night City Events has decided to make a sustained effort at building a Friday Night live Salsa series with live bands at the Mambo Cafe including Johnny Blas again on April 4. See the Events and Reviews page for details for the coming month.
Saturday, April 5: The Spanish Harlem Orchestra will be at Northwestern University at Pick Staiger Hall from 7:30-9:30. See the Pick Staiger Concert Hall Website for complete details.
23 March 2014
Johnny Blas and the Afro-Libre Orchestra at the Alhambra Palace, March 25, 2014
Johnny is no stranger to the business and has a few very nice recordings under his belt after working on both coasts; the debut performance of this group was at Mambo Cafe, and this will be the first appearance of the new group in a larger venue. This is Salsa Dura driven by three trombones. The Alhambra Salsa Tuesdays series includes a free buffet at 9pm. The bands usually start at 10-something. We heard their opening at Mambo Cafe, for Salsa Dura fans this should be work checking out.
Several other things this week including Papo Santiago at Cubby Bear tonight (Sunday).
16 March 2014
The Humboldt Park Orchestra turned in another fine performance at the Alhambra Palace in Chicago, this time with vocalist Luisito Rosario. With another performance scheduled there for April, the group is on its way to firmly establishing its presence on the Chicago scene.
Several musical options this week, including Samuel del Real at Dylan's on Saturday, Marcy 22. See 4fantasticevents.com for details re Samuel's performance.
9 March 2014
To celebrate the 6th annivesary of the Live Salsa Tuesdays series, the Humboldt Park Orchestra is back at the Alhambra Palace on Tuesday, March 11 with guest vocalist Luisito Rosario. See 4fantasticevents.com for details. Congrats to 4 Fantastic Events on their 6th Anniverasy for this series.
See the Calendar of Events page for more listings for the week.
2 March 2014
Another one rides the bus.... Friday the 28th we popped into Mambo Café (Club Mambo) to check out the debut gig of Johnny Blas & Afro-Libre. Johnny is back in Chicago after traveling everywhere and has put together a new band. The band has two more gigs coming up soon - one is this Friday (March 7) back at Mambo Café again and later on March 25th at the Alhambra Palace. For our capsule write-up of the group, see the new band page here. We would listen to them again. (I'm a recovering trombonist myself - how could I NOT like this?) Welcome to the neighborhood, Johnny. The band to gig ratio ratio isn't what it was in the 70s and 80s, but all the best here nevertheless.
On the Latin Jazz front, James Sanders' Proyecto Libre is playing at Constellation on Friday, March 7. James has fronted some of the better Latin Jazz projects in town, and, --uh, oh, one Friday, two Libres. OK, let's break it down: Dance Afro-Libre = Mambo Café, Latin Jazz Proyecto Libre = Constellation.
Mambo Fino is playing a triple-header this week - two nights at Cafe Laguardia (Wed and Fri) and Saturday night at Candela, the new club on Milwaukee that is off to a promising start with live music. This group appears destined for the hatred of unemployed bands everywhere, but presenters and audiences obviously like them.
For other events, check the Calendar of Events page.
23 February 2014
See the Sin Clave No Hay Na blog for a recap of the Chicago International Salsa Congress.
Johnny Blas and his Afro-Libre Orchestra at the Mambo Cafe (Club Mambo)
Friday, February 28, 9pm
This is a new Salsa Dura band by veteran bandleader Johnny Blas, and we've heard some good buzz about the rehearsals. The event is being hosted by Latin Street Dancing, for more information, see their event page here.
This may seem a little off topic, but it isn't really. A new movie, The Girls in the Band, is showing at the Gene Siskel Film Center this week. It focuses on the challenges and obstacles faced by female Jazz musicians throughout the history of the music and profiles some key figures like Melba Liston. A must-see if you care about Jazz, and this has some lessons for Salsa as well, because once we move away from vocalists and start talking about instrumentalists, Salsa was not very respectful to female musicians in the business for many years either. For dates and show times, see the Gene Siskel Film Center Calendar.
16 February 2014:
CHICAGO INTERNATIONAL SALSA CONGRESS CONCLUDES TONIGHT
I'm going to take a shortcut this week due to time constraints - see the Report From Chicago section for details. See also our Calendar of Events for other happenings this week. A lot of great options the weekend of the 21nd and 22nd especially.
13 February 2014
CHICAGO INTERNATIONAL SALSA CONGRESS BEGINS
The Chicago International Salsa Congress begins today - see our February 9 post for details. Additionally, one of the events announced at the press party was that there will be a "dance-off" competition between two Colombian youth dance groups (since they are from Colombia, they are not able to enter the US Open, so there is a special contest for them.). Here are some photos from last night's press party:
Rosita Ragin and Saladeen Alameen
Official Atwork for the CISC
See the February 9 post for more details and Chicagosalsacongress.com
The Chicago International Salsa Congress Hyatt Regency O'Hare
Chicago IL, February 13-16, 2014
This is an International Congress, so unlike the San Fransisco event, which heavily emphasizes Rueda and the genres of Cuban music suited to it, the CISC is focused on Salsa but does include a Cuban component this year with the Cachao Mambo All-Star Orchestra, which played a very well-received segment at last year's Festival Cubano in Chicago. Depending upon what date one uses to mark its official beginning, 2014 brings us the 75th anniversary of the Machito Orchestra (known also as
Machito and his Afro Cubans in the early years), one of the most important bands in the United States that brought the Mambo to wider audiences for decades. The late, great Cachao (Israel Lopez) composed (along with his brother Orestes) the very first song recorded as Mambo in the 1930s. SO, this is a fitting year to feature the all star orchestra that carries on Cachao's legacy. Moncho Rivera is the nephew of Ismael Rivera and Ray De La Paz has worked with a number of groups over the last 3 decades including the Spanish Harlem Orchestra and Ray Barretto. Porfi Baloa y sus Adolescentes is a Venezuelan Salsa band. The congress isn't just about concerts however - there are workshops throughout along with exhibition dancing. See the website Chicagosalsacongress.com for more details.
The restaurants and clubs have also loaded up on entertainment this week - Tonight, (February 9), you can see Projecto 7 at Cubby Bear, and there are a number of live entertainment options several nights this week - see our Calendar of Events for details.
Last Tuesday, we caught a special set by the Humboldt Park Orchestra, which included many of the area's best female singers and musicians. We set up a special photo gallery, which you can view here.
2 February 2014
Musical Marathon for the family of Everardo Rey
Casa Puertorriquena, 1237 N. California
Chicago, IL 2:00-11:00pm
If you are a musician or a dancer of a certain age, you will remember Everardo Rey, who passed away at the age of 70 on January 24. His group Everardo y su Flota (also known as Everardo y su Flota Musical) was a fixture on the Chicago scene for years - I have memories of dancing to it in the 70s and 80s in the Latin Village myself on a few of those rare occasions when I had time free to go dancing. A lot of Chicago's finest will be showing up to pay their musical respects, including: El Show de Vigilio Diaz Cantante, Carpacho y su Combo, Orquesta Arabu, Pepe Armijos y su Orquesta, Papo Santiago, El Sho Los Hermanos Olavarria Victor y Miguel, Willy Garcia y Sabor, Mambo 7, Los Hermanos Perez, DJ Diesel Power. For those of you who just can't be away from the Super Bowl for any reason, we have been advised that the Casa will also have a wide screen for your viewing needs. RIP Everardo, and our condolences to the family.
Tuesday, February 4:
Humboldt Park Orchestra with
Stacie Sandoval and Marisol Miranda
Alhambra Palace, 1240 W. Randolph
Doors open 7pm, band starts 10pm
The Humboldt Park Orchestra brings together some of Chicago's finest musicians and bandleaders, and this should be a very energetic set. Stacie Sandoval is relatively new to the Chicago scene but has been establishing a presence here. This writer hasn't heard Marisol Miranda yet.
For more details, see the
The Chicago International Salsa Congress Hyatt Regency O'Hare
Chicago IL, February 13-16, 2014
This is an International Congress, so unlike the San Fransisco event, which heavilty emphasizes Rueda and the genres of Cuban music suited to it, the CISC is focused on Salsa but does include a Cuban component this year with the Cachao Mambo All-Star Orchestra, which played a very well-received segment at last year's Festival Cubano in Chicago. Depending upon what date one uses to mark its official beginning, 2014 brings us the 75th anniversary of the Machito Orchestra (known also as Machito and his Afro Cubans in the early years), one of the most important bands in the United States that brought the Mambo to wider audiences. The late, great Cachao (Israel Lopez) composed (along with his brother Orestes) the very first song recorded as Mambo in the 1930s. SO, this is a fitting year to feature the all star orchestra that carries on Cachao's legacy. The congress isn't just about concerts however - there are workshops throughout along with exhibition dancing. See the website Chicagosalsacongress.com for more details.
26 January 2014:
Out and about......
1, We checked out Projecto 7 at Jed Walker's Sultry Salsa Tuesday's event in Aurora. They were worth the drive, and you can read our new profile of the band here...
2. Friday, we caught Mambo Fino at Cafe Laguardia. Also worth dashing through the snow, and you can read our new profile of them here....
3. Saturday, we popped into Dylan's (118 S. Clinton) to check out the set by the Humboldt Park Orchestra. This is an intimate but very nice nice club that has been hosting a few of Deejay Prieto's nights which include Rueda lessons on Friday nights and regular Salsa lessons on Saturdays. It looks like this new band is here to stay for real...
19 January 2014:
There are a lot of good things on about town this week including Charangueo on Tuesday and the Humboldt Park Orchestra on Saturday - see our Events & Reviews page for details. Since we haven't been covering the suburban action as often as we probably should, we want to give special mention this week to Projecto 7's appearance in Aurora at Jed Walker's Sultry Salsa Tuesday's event. We haven't given that group a full review yet, but we have heard good things from the people that have attended their past performances.
Carlos Flores, a key figure in the Latin music scene in Chicago, is working on an interesting project in Puertoricanchicago.com to archive thousands of photos from the last four decades of the Puerto Rican cultural scene in Chicago. Many, but not all, are music-related. The website itself is under reconstruction at the moment, but you can get a small taste of things to come in Facebook at the Puertoricanchicago.com Facebook page.
12 January 2014:
CHICAGO INTERNATIONAL SALSA CONGRESS
FEBRUARY 13-16, 2014
HYATT REGENCY O'HARE, ROSEMONT, IL
This is Chicago's premier annual event for Salsa dancers with workshops, live performances and social dancing to both DJs and live bands. This year's live music lineup includes Ray de la Paz, the Cachao Mambo All Stars Orchestra, Moncho Rivera and Mimi Ibarra and Porfi Baloa y sus Adolescentes. For more information, visit the Chicago International Salsa Congress website.
5 January 2014:
If you have any interest in Jazz, you should check out our article about Havana's Jazz festival here. A bad cold prevented us from checking out the Humboldt Park Orchestra, but they must have done something right - future dates have been scheduled.
See the NPM Archive for earlier posts.