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Report From Chicago

REPORT FROM CHICAGO

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. See also our Nuestros Primos Musicales page for other Latin music items of interest that don't quite fit in this section and our Sin Clave No Hay Na'  blog for items of national and international 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.)

14 December 2014:

Today's don't miss is Domingos Felices, which will include Steve Roitstein of Palo!  and also more music by Eliel Lazo & The Cuban Funk Machine plus other good things. 


7 December 2014:

SAVE THE DATE:  Haila in Louisville, KY
26 December 2014


As a Chicagoan, it pains me to say this, but I don't know if this concert could have happened here - she will be backed by the Kentucky Salsa All Stars, led by Edel Roque, and believe it or not, this group, the core of which is ISA and ENA types, has the chops to play Haila's music well.  I have seen them twice, and just as Mayito Rivera can draw a capable backing band from musicians living in New York and New Jersey, it is possible to do the same with the Louisville bunch - a lot of young talent that grew up with the real thing.  The KY Salsa All Stars opened for HdP once, and it takes stones to be able to do that well.  
The venue has hosted Charanga Habanera before.  From Chicago, Louisville can be anywhere from 4-6 hours by car depending on where you start and traffic.  
Keep your ears tuned to the Domingos Felices radio show on WCEV 1450AM  Sunday afternoons at 2-4 Chicago time the next couple of weeks for more information, some music and maybe a couple of surprises as the date approaches. 


30 November 2014

This week in Chicago is more of a regular Salsa week, but that doesn't make it boring.  Check out our picks on our Nuestros Primos Musicales page. 


23 November 2014

Tiempo Libre and Alfredo Rodriguez gave great performances a couple of weeks ago.  You can see the Alfredo Rodriguez gallery here and the Tiempo Libre gallery here

Today on Domingos Felices (WCEV 1450 AM, Cubadisco winner Rene Avich, a phenomenal tresero, and his music will be featured.  More details here


9 November 2014

THIS WEEK:

I. Quincy Jones Presents: Alfredo Rodríguez Trio 
(Alfredo Rodríguez, piano; Peter Slavov, bass; Henry Cole, Drums)
Logan Center, Performance Hall, University of Chicago
Friday, November 14, 2014, 7:30pm
Alfredo Rodriguez is another of Cuba's piano virtuosos, most recently known for his release The Invasion Parade. He came to the attention of Quincy Jones in 2006.   This looks to be a mesmerizing Jazz performance.  The following clip has him with Bulgarian bassist Peter Slavov, who will be performing with him along with New York-based drum virtuoso Henry Cole:

For more information and tickets, click HERE

II. Tiempo Libre
Old Town School of Folk Music
4545 N. Lincoln Av, Chicago, IL
November 15, 2014, 7:00pm and 10:00pm
Three-time GRAMMY nominee Tiempo Libre is one of the first and best bands in the United States to perform serious, authentic Timba. In recent years, they have frequently been seen in collaboration with orchestras, but for this performance, they will be by themselves throwing down some very heavy dance music.   A video clip from their last album:

III. Arturo Sandoval
Evanston SPACE, 1245 Chicago Avenue
Evanston, IL 60202
November 15, 2014, 7pm and 9:30pm 
Decisions, decisions. Legendary 10-time GRAMMY winner and trumpeter/bandleader Arturo Sandoval needs no introduction, he always delivers in concert, and tickets are selling fast.

Our recommendation:  Friday is easy.  For Saturday, if you can, catch both Arturo AND Tiempo Libre.  But if you only do one, remember that Arturo is here every year at some venue, and Tiempo Libre, a don't-miss, is not. If you need another tie-breaker, Tiempo Libre is the dance band, Arturo is for the Jazz. 

FINALLY:  Yes, it's a little ironic writing about a Spanish-language radio show in English here, but if you haven't been tuning in to Domingos Felices, you have been missing great music and interviews (including Tiempo Libre's  leader Jorge Gómez last Sunday for example).  For more information, check out the Domingos Felices page here


2 November 2014

COMING SOON:

I. Quincy Jones Presents: Alfredo Rodríguez Trio
(Alfredo Rodríguez, piano; Peter Slavov, bass; Henry Cole, Drums)
Logan Center, Performance Hall, University of Chicago
Friday, November 14, 2014, 7:30pm
Alfredo Rodriguez is another of Cuba's piano virtuosos, most recently known for his release The Invasion Parade. He came to the attention of Quincy Jones in 2006.   This looks to be a mesmerizing Jazz performance.  The following clip has him with Bulgarian bassist Peter Slavov, who will be performing with him along with New York-based drum virtuoso Henry Cole:

II. Tiempo Libre
Old Town School of Folk Music
4545 N. Lincoln Av, Chicago, IL
November 15, 2014, 7:00pm and 10:00pm
Three-time GRAMMY nominee Tiempo Libre is one of the first and best bands in the United States to perform serious, authentic Timba. In recent years, they have frequently been seen in collaboration with orchestras, but for this performance, they will be by themselves throwing down some very heavy dance music.  Don't miss this. AND, barring unforeseen events, bandleader Jorge Gómez will be on the radio program Domingos Felices (WCEV 1450am, Chicago) with yours truly and host Frank Camacho to converse and play some of their music on Sunday, November 9 at 3:30pm. Don't miss that either (the show, from 2-4pm Chicago time on Sundays, includes a lot of great Cuban music every week in addition to other things).  A video clip from their last album:

III. Arturo Sandoval
Evanston SPACE, 1245 Chicago Avenue
Evanston, IL 60202
November 15, 2014, 7pm and 9:30pm 
Decisions, decisions. Legendary 10-time GRAMMY winner and trumpeter/bandleader Arturo Sandoval needs no introduction, he always delivers in concert, and tickets are selling fast.  Our recommendation:  If you can, catch Arturo AND Tiempo Libre.  Arturo is here every year at some venue, Tiempo Libre, not. 

Finally, Roberto Fonseca gave a great concert in Chicago a week ago - read all about it here


19 October 2014

THIS WEEK: 

Roberto Fonseca
Mayne Stage,  1328 W. Morse, Chicago, IL
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
7:00pm and 9:30pm 
One of Cuba's most important young Jazz and Fusion pianists and composers and a half-brother of Chuchito Valdés.  Roberto gave a phenomenal performance at the Lotus Festival in Bloomington, Indiana last year.  You can read reviews of that performance and his recording Yo elsewhere on this website. 



12 October 2014

COMING SOON: 

Roberto Fonseca
Mayne Stage,  1328 W. Morse, Chicago, IL
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
7:00pm and 9:30pm 
One of Cuba's most important young Jazz and Fusion pianists and composers and a half-brother of Chuchito Valdés.  Roberto gave a phenomenal performance at the Lotus Festival in Bloomington, Indiana last year.  You can read reviews of that performance and his recording Yo elsewhere on this website. 


5 October 2014

The Harold López-Nussa Trio concert was wonderful - you can see a writeup and photo gallery here. 

If you haven't tuned into Domingos Felices on WCEV am 1450 yet, you are missing some great programming.  Today, for example, in addition to playing some Los Reyes '73, we had a live interview with Ricardo Delgado, one of the original members of that band.  We also premiered new songs by Rumbankete and Klimax. I'll be putting together a longer article about Los Reyes '73 in the future.  That band is one of the reasons why I am doing what I am doing today - listening to them over shortwave helped get me hooked on the music back in the day.  

COMING SOON: 

Roberto Fonseca, October 22, 2014, 7:00pm and 9:30pm
Mayne Stage, 1328 W. Morse, Chicago, IL
More next week, but get your tickets or at least save the date in the meantime.  I heard him live at the Lotus Festival, and this is a don't-miss.   


28 September 2014

THIS WEEK:   

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 7:30PM
Harold López-Nussa Trio 
Evanston SPACE 
1245 W. Chicago Av, Evanston, IL 
Harold, a nephew of Ernán-López-Nussa and an excellent pianist/composer in his own right, has won two Cubadisco awards (their version of the GRAMMY® awards) and had four nominations for that.  One of the best of the new generation of Cuban Jazzistas, he is performing in trio with his brother, Ruy-Adrian, on drums, and bassist Sawa Perez, known to those in the know about Cuban and Cuban-American bassists. Don't miss this.  For more info, click here.  

Un nuevo programa de radio en español, Domingos Felices, que se transmite todos los domingos entre 2-4pm hora de Chicago por la tarde, cuenta con nueva música cubana y lo mejor de la otra Salsa incluyendo entrevistas con artistas destacados e interesantes.  Este domingo, por ejemplo, el programa ofrece un par de canciones del nuevo album de El Niño y La Verdad y una entrevista en directo con ganador del GRAMMY Marlow Rosado además de una entrevista grabada con ganador del premio Cubadisco Harold López-Nussa. Marlow tiene una nueva grabación, Salsanimal.   Un video:  



Domingos Felices (también conocido informalmente como Tu Radio Secreta porque la emisora todavía no ha publicado el show en su página web) está disponible alrededor de Chicago en WCEV AM 1450 y via Internet entre 2-4pm hora de Chicago los domingos aquí:
http://www.wcev1450.com/


21 September 2014

See the Sin Clave No Hay Na blog about Harold López-Nussa's upcoming concert in Evanston on Monday, September 29.  This is a don't-miss event for lovers of Jazz from Cuba. A link to our review of New Day is included in the blog. 

During the weekend, Chuchito Valdés and Joaquin "El Pulpo" Pozo were in town.  You can see a photo gallery and read a capsule here

ALSO:  Angel D'Cuba's Septet is performing at the Hyde Park Jazz Festival on Saturday, September 28.  I have to confess that as much as I enjoy this band, at first I lifted an eyebrow when I saw that they are doing a Jazz set - this is normally more of a dance band.  However, I'm told they will have monster saxophonist Orlando Sanchez in the lineup, and I would gladly go hear this guy play variations on "Happy Birthday" or "Chopsticks" - he's that good.  Even if they do play their dance book, if they turn Orlando loose, anything can happen. 


14 September 2014

THIS WEEK:   

Chuchito Valdés and Joaquin Pozo "El Pulpo" are coming to town this weekend at Sabor a Café. See our Events and Reviews page for details. 
Mezcla performed at Millennium Park Friday night.  For a photo gallery, click here


After the show, they settled into an informal jam session at Sabor a Café, which has become  one of the most important hangouts for Cuban musicians when they are in town. 

7 September 2014

THIS WEEK:   

Mezcla, Friday, September 12, 2014, 6pm

World Music Festival, Millennium Park
(Jay Pritzker Pavilion)
Chicago IL 

This is is raw footage from Mezcla's 2013 concert at Yoshi's in Oakland.:

This tour will be using the same personnel as this concert. This edition of the group relies more heavily on Pablo's guitar than most previous versions  of the group, and he delivers.  For the complete tour itinerary and more, visit Mezcla's website.  And stay tuned for Pure Mezcla, a new album release coming in November. 


After the concert, our other pick for this week is at Sabor a Cafe Restaurant, where Cuban saxophonist Orlando Sanchez (aka Cubajazz)  has been hanging out the last couple of weekends. The music will start around 8:30pm.   Orlando is one of Cuba's best Jazz saxophonists, and he won't be here forever, so check him out while you can...

Finally, Chicago  has a Cuban music radio option that includes the newest releases along with the best of the past.:  Frank Camacho and I now are playing a fair share of Timba, Cuban Fusion, new releases from the island and great stuff from the past (along with other music not from Cuba) on a brand new radio show, Domingos Felices, every Sunday afternoon from 2-4pm Chicago time. In metro Chicago, you can hear it on WCEV 1450am.  The rest of the planet can listen to it via Internet here.  Hablamos español, pero la música es pa' todo el mundo. Tenemos entrevistas y otras cosas buenas también.  Tenemos una nueva página en Facebook:  Domingos Felices Radio1450.   Our first show on the new station was last weekend.  We had a lot of fun, and you will too if you tune in. 


31 August 2014

See my Sin Clave No Hay Na' blog for reviews and photo galleries from the weekend, which included a surprise visit to Sabor a Cafe by monster Cuban saxophonist Orlando Sanchez (aka Cubajazz).  

UP NEXT:

Mezcla, Friday, September 12, 2014, 6pm
World Music Festival, Millennium Park
(Jay Pritzker Pavilion)
Chicago IL 
This is a don't-miss concert by one of Cuba's foremost Fusion bands. This edition of the group will heavily feature Pablo's guitar along with a monster Jazz violinist, Julio Valdes Fuentes.  It's your favorite price (free), and the sound in the park is usually perfect.  Save the date!

And there's more:  see our Events and Reviews page for 5 other Cuban music events coming up soon:


24 August 2014

THIS WEEK:  



Aruán Ortíz Orbiting Quartet.  In Chicago on August 29 at 8pm at the Beverly Arts Center and Detroit on August 30 at The Detroit Jazz Festival.  This Santiago-born piano virtuoso is now an internationally-famous Jazz artist who has performed with multiple names including Wallace Roney, and he represents part of the new generation of Cuban-born musicians that is helping to move the music forward in New York.   The Chicago Jazz Festival may be getting most of the PR oxygen right now, but this is worth attending too. Check out his website, which includes audio samples and videos, here.    

Festival Cubano was a blast - you can read our synopsis, which includes three photo galleries, here. 


10 August 2014

THIS WEEK:  


Now in its 5th year, the festival features a special tribute to Juan Formell on opening night and one of this writer's personal favorite groups, Palo! on the closing night:  For more info, click here.

I was really hoping to tell you that the Havana d'Primera concert was wonderful.  And it could have been if it had been produced and promoted properly.   Here are the unfortunate details, written fairly and objectively.   I would like to see HdP come back and do the concert that should have happened, but never this way again.  Ever.  Ditto any other bands from Cuba. 


3 August 2014

THIS WEEK:  

One of Cuba's most important Timba bands.  I saw then live in New York a couple of years back, and they put on a high energy show than galvanizes audiences.  A don't-miss.   If you are new to this group, here's a taste:

COMING UP:  


Now in its 5th year, the festival features one of this writer's personal favorite groups, Palo! on the closing night:

Cuban-American artist Alex Bia is also on the bill during the weekend:

Fajardo Jr (son of Charanga legend Jose Fajardo)  is also on the bill:

We'll share more next week.  This is a Festival that you don't want to miss.



27 July 2014

THIS WEEK:  

A. Chucho Valdés and the Afro Cuban Messengers at Ravinia,  Wednesday, July 30, 2014, 8pm
A concert by the Afro Cuban Messengers and Bebel Gilberto.  Chucho is one of the Dinastia Valdés and is one of Cuba's premier Jazz pianists, composers and bandleaders. Ravinia's schedule page for purchasing tickets is https://www.ravinia.org/Calendar

Border-Free, Chucho's latest album, was nominated for a Latin GRAMMY and won a Cubadisco.

UP NEXT:  

B. Alexander Abreu & Havana D'Primera, Friday, August 8, 2014, Doors open 7:30pm
Logan Square Auditorium, 2539 N. Kedzie, Chicago

One of Cuba's most important Timba bands is appearing in Chicago for one night. Expect a few hours of DJs before the band comes on, but this group puts on a don't-miss show. For tickets, see 
Brownpapertickets.com/event/742435

The radio show Sábados de Fiesta, in which yours truly participates, has been featuring some of HdP's music.  Sabados de Fiesta runs on Saturdays  between 8:00am-10:00am central on WCGO AM 1590


20 July 2014

A photo gallery of the Chappottin concerts may be found here

A photo gallery of Chuchito Valdés may be found here.

UP NEXT:   

A. Chucho Valdés and the Afro Cuban Messengers at Ravinia,  Wednesday, July 30, 2014, 8pm
A concert by the Afro Cuban Messengers and Bebel Gilberto.  Chucho is one of the Dinastia Valdés and is one of Cuba's premier Jazz pianists, composers and bandleaders.  Ravinia's schedule page for purchasing tickets is https://www.ravinia.org/Calendar

Border-Free, Chucho's latest album, was nominated for a Latin GRAMMY and won a Cubadisco.



B. Alexander Abreu & Havana D'Primera, Friday, August 8, 2014, Doors open 7:30pm
Logan Square Auditorium, 2539 N. Kedzie, Chicago

One of Cuba's most important Timba bands is appearing in Chicago for one night. Expect a few hours of DJs before the band comes on, but this group puts on a don't-miss show. For tickets, see 
Brownpapertickets.com/event/742435

The radio show Sábados de Fiesta, in which yours truly participates, will be featuring some of HdP's music Saturday, July 26 between 9:30-10:00 am central on WCGO AM 1590


13 July 2014

RIGHT NOW:

Conjunto Chappottin
Sunday, 13 July at 4:45pm, Square Roots Festival
Lincoln Square, Chicago IL 

Monday, 14 July at 8pm Martyrs          
3855 N. Lincoln Av, Chicago IL                      

Two opportunities to hear this legendary band from Cuba.  As the successors in Cuba to Arsenio Rodriguez' group, they specialize in that style of Son.   This might be their first US tour; it is definitely their first time in Chicago.  This is a must-see.  Both days are worth catching; we especially recommend the Monday night show for dancers as there will be a dance floor. 

LAST CALL:

Chuchito Valdes
Thursday, 10 July - Sunday, 13 July
Multiple Showtimes 
Jazz Showcase, 806 S. Plymouth
Chicago IL
Chuchito returns in the same trio that he brought with him last July.  That show was a must-see, and this should be as well.  You can see a review and photos of last year's show here.  We saw the Friday night show this time, and it is every bit as excellent.  We'll be reviewing it in a few days. 

THIS WEEKEND:  

Ricardo Lemvo & Makina Loca, Friday-Sunday, July 18, 19 and 20th, 2014
July 18:  Chicago Summerdance, Spirit of Music Garden, 7:30pm
July 19: Evanston Ethnic Arts Festival, 5:30pm
July 20: Celebrate Clark Street Festival

We have reviewed Makina Loca a couple of times in these pages; this group brings a strong mix of Congolese Rumba, other African and Afrocuban styles (including some innovative treatments of Cuban classics).  There are three different Festival opportunities to catch them this weekend, and we recommend that you catch at least one. 


6 July 2014

THIS WEEK:

Chuchito Valdes
Thursday, 10 July - Sunday, 13 July
Multiple Showtimes 
Jazz Showcase, 806 S. Plymouth
Chicago IL
Chuchito returns in the same trio that he brought with him last July.  That show was a must-see, and this should be as well.  You can see a review and photos of last year's show here.


FOLLOWED BY:

Conjunto Chappottin
Sunday, 13 July at 4:45pm, Square Roots Festival
Lincoln Square, Chicago IL 
Monday, 14 July at 8pm Martyrs         
3855 N. Lincoln Av, Chicago IL                      

Two opportunities to hear this legendary band from Cuba.  As the successors in Cuba to Arsenio Rodriguez' group, they specialize in that style of Son.   Another must-see.


See the RFC BLOG ARCHIVE for earlier entries

Kevin Moore - Sunday, 14 December 2014, 10:49 AM