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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.)

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.


29 June 2014

THIS WEEK:

Pedrito Martinez Group, Friday, July 4, 7:30pm
City Winery, 1200 W. Randolph, Chicago, IL
The PMG, a compact but powerful Timba Fusion ensemble and one of the most acclaimed groups of its type, returns for a second engagement rocking the house earlier this year. You can find quite a few reviews of some of their previous performances in a few cities throughout our website.  The City Winery page for the event is here. 

Last Saturday, we attended the Chicago Midwest Salsa Open, which closed with a concert by Ray de la Paz.  You can read about it and view a photo gallery here


22 June 2014

THIS WEEK:

Manuel Valera in Chicago, Monday, June 23, 7:30pm
Pianoforte Studios, 1335 S. Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 
This is a solo concert to promote his excellent new solo piano CD, Self Portrait.  (You can read my review here.)  At $20.00 per ticket, this concert is a pretty amazing bargain.  Manuel's New Cuban Express ensemble projects have been at the cutting edge of new Cuban Jazz, and his solo piano work is excellent as well. This is a don't-miss. 

RAY DE LA PAZ & CHICAGO MIDWEST SALSA OPEN. Saturday, June 28
The Westin O'Hare, 6100 River Road, Rosemont, IL
Doors open 8PM

This event is a combination of two things:  A "make-up" concert by Ray de la Paz, whose scheduled appearance at the Chicago International Salsa Congress in February was cancelled due to the weather, and the Chicago Midwest Salsa Open, a dance competition in which the winning couple will advance to the World Salsa Open in San Juan, Puerto Rico.   Doors open at 8pm with musci by official CISC DJs to be followed later by a live concert after 11pm and, of course, the competition. Ray's career before he became a solo artist dates back to Ray Barretto's orchestra (he was in the  key albums Ricanstruction, Barretto Live, Giant Force and Rhythm of Life and later worked with Guarare and Louie Ramirez. 
There will be some VERY serious dancing at this event. 

The CISC web page for ordering tickets is here. 


16 June 2014

Manuel Valera in Chicago, Monday, June 23, 7:30pm
Pianoforte Studios, 1335 S. Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 
This is a solo concert to promote his excellent new solo piano CD, Self Portrait.  (You can read my review here.)  At $20.00 per ticket, this concert is a pretty amazing bargain.  Manuel's New Cuban Express ensemble projects have been at the cutting edge of new Cuban Jazz, and his solo piano work is excellent as well. This is a don't-miss. 


1 June 2014

This section is going to look a little different for a little while - I recently brought back an incredible amount of written and recorded material from Havana, and I will be reacting to some of that in my Sin Clave No Hay Na' blog, the Reviews/Reseñas section, and the From The Studios report. While I still remain supportive of the Chicago scene, even I need to sleep for a few minutes each day. 
SO:  
For the next several weeks at least, coverage here will be more sporadic and will focus primarily on events that are truly major - touring acts by Cuban and/or Cuban American artists   In addition to the sections I just named, keep an eye on the Events and Reviews section:  There are three major events just in June and July (Manuel Valera, Conjunto Chappotin, Chucho Valdés). 
I have also joined Frank Camacho's show Sabados de Fiesta on Saturday mornings at 9:30am-10:00am  Central (his show starts at 8am) on WCGO 1590 AM with a segment called Hablando de la música cubana, which features new and recent releases from Cuba and some Cuban-American artists of merit (we had Manuel Valera on the show last week for example.)  You can stream it at http://www.1590wcgo.com/  and it will have a little bit of everything - new Timba, new Fusion, new traditional, etc etc.  Some weeks (not all ) will include live interviews.   It's en español, but if you don't understand the language, the music will still get you.  How do I know that?  You ARE here, aren't you?


11 May 2014

Report From Chicago will be on hiatus for a couple of weeks due to a special project and will return at the end of the month. If you have never done so before, this would be a great time to check out the Timbapedia  and/or the Reviews section,. 


4 Nay 2014

Words fail to capture the impact of the loss of Juan Formell, without whose life and work so much of what we listen to now may never have existed.  But we did our best - you can read Timba.com's statement about him here. 

This writer has a busy month ahead with a project related to Cubadisco, which you can read more about in the Sin Clave No Hay Na blog and the From The Studios section in Reports.   He is also writing a number of CD reviews of recent recordings.   Here are three upcoming events that you should put on your calendar now:   

A.  Manuel Valera, Monday, June 23, 2014
Pianoforte Studios, 1335 S. Michigan Av, Chicago IL 7:30pm
Born in Cuba and now living in New York, pianist, composer and bandleader Manuel Valera has been one of the most important new forces reshaping Cuban Jazz. His New Cuban Express recordings have been nominated for both GRAMMY and Cubadisco awards, and his new solo CD, Self Portrait, also makes a powerful statement.   This is a rare opportunity for Chicagoans to hear him in a solo piano setting in a venue custom designed for that very purpose.   The Pianoforte Studios web page for the event is http://www.pianofortefoundation.org/concert/manuel-valera-in-a-solo-piano-concert

Manuel will also be the featured guest  May 10 (this Saturday) on Hablando de la música cubana (see the April 27 post for more info.)

B. Conjunto Chappotin, Sunday, July 13 and
Monday, July 14, 2014
(July 13: Festival Appearance tba)
July 14: Martyrs, 7PM
Founded in 1950 after Arsenio Rodriguez left Cuba, Conjunto Chappotin became and remains on of Cuba's most important Son ensembles.  More details about the festival appearance will be published closer to the date.  The Martyrs page for the event is http://www.martyrslive.com/calendar#2014-07

C. Festival Cubano, Riis Park, Chicago, Fri, August 15-
Sun, August 17, 2014

Riis Park, Fullerton and Narragansett, Chicago
This is the fifth edition of the festival, which features, food, music and other entertainment for the kids.  Festival Cubano's page is http://thecubanfestival.com/


27 April 2014

The Thursday night Havana Nights series at the Alhambra continues the week with Angel D'Cuba. Rueda lessons happen before they start playing, so if you want to learn Rueda (or get it on if you know), this is a great place to come.   For more information, see 4fantasticevents.com

Report From Chicago will be a little thinner than usual during May, but it's not for a lack of music - yours truly is currently involved in a large project concerning Cubadisco  (the nominations come out later this week) and the music industry in Cuba.  This means, however, that some of the bands that I nag for schedules probably won't show on the May calendar because I won't be nagging them this month. You will be able to see some of what is going on regarding Cuba  in my Sin Clave No Hay Na blog and the From The Studios section in the Reports section. 


Frank Camacho
's show Sabados de Fiesta (Saturday mornings, 8-10am Central on WCGO 1590 AM, and it does stream and has an I-phone app) is two hours of music and humor.  Frank was gracious and crazy enough to allow me to join him in a new segment called Hablando de la música cubana, which starts around 9:30am central.  We're playing recent recordings of various genres from the island (a different genre each week) and talking a little about the bands and the music. Check it out. 
SATURDAY, MAY 3:  We'll be talking with Palo!  and tasting their new live album. 



20 April 2014

Orquesta Aragón played two great shows Friday, the first was sold out and the second one fairly packed.  A few of them are at rest on break here - you can read a full review and see a photo gallery of the concerts here. 


Frank Camacho
's show Sabados de Fiesta (Saturday mornings, 8-10am Central on WCGO 1590 AM, and it does stream and has an I-phone app) is two hours of music and humor.  Frank was gracious and crazy enough to allow me to join him in a new segment called Hablando de la música cubana, which starts around 9:30am central.  We're playing recent recordings of various genres from the island (a different genre each week) and talking a little about the bands and the music. Check it out. 

The Thursday night Havana Nights series at the Alhambra continues the week with Al Sierra and his Cuban Flavor. Rueda lessons happen before they start playing, so if you want to learn Rueda (or get it on if you know), this is a great place to come.   For more information, see 4fantasticevents.com

I'm working on an absolutely massive project recording recent recordings in Cuba and the recording industry there.  Keep your eye on the Reviews/Reseñas and From the Studios sections as well as my Sin Clave No Hay Na' blog.  Those will be a LOT more active than this report in coming weeks as I will be attending fewer local concerts during that time. 


13 April 2014


Charangueo
did the second of the Havana Nights series at Alhambra Palace,  The series continues this week with Son de la Habana on Thursday, April 17.  For more information, see 4fantasticevents.com

THIS WEEK:

Orquesta Aragon at the Mayne Stage
Two shows, 7:30 and 10:00pm
One of Cuba's  oldest still-performing charangas and perhaps its most prominent. No museum piece either, at the same time that it plays classics, it also keeps enough modern style repertoire to stay fresh. This is one of the don't-miss Cuban music concerts in Chicago this year. 

NEW RADIO SEGMENT:  Hablando de la música cubana...

Frank Camacho's long-running Sabados de Fiesta (WCGO, AM 1590), which runs from 8-10am Central on Saturdays and streams on the internet, has added a new segment, Hablando de la música cubana, and yours truly will be joining him each week aounrd 9:30 am central to play and talk about a different genre of Cuban music each week using modern ecordings from the island.  This Saturday, the 19th, we'll take a look at some of Cuba's modern alternative bands like Interactivo, Qva Libre and Elevense.  Stay tuned. 


6 April 2014: 

THIS WEEK: HAVANA NIGHTS CONTINUES AT
ALHAMBRA PALACE
Thursday, April10, 2014
This is a weekly event featuring Rueda lessons, live bands playing Cuban music  and selections from the DJs that we are told will contain more Cuban content than their usual Salsa events.  The opening band last week was Angel D' Cuba, and although we missed it due to other commitments, we heard good feedback about it.  This week is charanga week with Charangueo, which plays retro but swinging charanga.  For more information, see 4fantasticevents.com

Local radio host Frank Camacho has a Saturday morning show called Sabados de Fiesta from 8am to 10pm on WCGO, 1590 AM. The station streams live on the web.  This is a variety show rather than just a music show, but it does include a health dose of Cuban and Cuban-American music, and beginning this Saturday, it will include a special sort segment at approximately 9:30am dedicated to music from Cuba with different genres each week for a quarter hour  Barring the unforeseen, yours truly will be bringing in the music for that segment.  So, come for the variety, stay for la música cubana...

Saturday night, we caught Sureya at Candela on Milwuakee.  This place is developing a really nice vibe, and Sureya is working in a new sextet format that includes Jerome Croswell on trumpet, Joe Rendon on congas, Joaquin Garcia, piano/Music Director, Jorge Leal on timbales and Jose Porcayo on bass.  Although they are still doing some classic dance material from Celia's era, they also opened with Manteca followed by a cover of Van Van's Aquí se enciende la candela and closed with some hard-hitting Cuban Salsa.  Both the new band and the (relatively) new venue show promise - the crowd was jumping. 

Coming April 18:  Orquesta Aragon at the Mayne Stage
Two shows, 7:30 and 10:30pm
One of Cuba's  oldest still-performing charangas and perhaps its most prominent. No museum piece either, at the same time that it plays classics, it also keeps enough modern style repertoire to stay fresh. This is one of the don't-miss Cuban music concerts in Chicago this year. 


30 March 2014

(Photos courtesy 4 Fantastic Events)

On Saturday, March 29, a group of 13 couples in Chicago participated in the International Rueda de Casino Multi Flash Mob.  Considering the weather, this took some serious enthusiasm, and it did not go unnoticed by Channel 7: 

Rueda is growing in Chicago.  Which brings us to: 

THIS WEEK: HAVANA NIGHTS BEGINS AT A
ALHAMBRA PALACE
Thursday, April 3, 2014
This will be a weekly event featuring Rueda lessons, live bands playing Cuban music  and selections from the DJs that we are told will contain more Cuban content than their usual Salsa events.  The opening band will be Angel D' Cuba, whose tresero, James Cornolo, tells us will be throwing down a Cuban dance music set including some Timba and Cuban Salsa.   For complete details, see 
4fantasticevents.com

ALSO THIS WEEK: SUREYA AT CANDELA
Saturday, April 5
Chicago's Cuban-American diva comes out for a set at this fairly new restaurant/club.  The DJ will be Fernando Cuban Mix, so ou will also be able to get your Timba fix. 
We are told that she will also be on Frank Camacho's Saturday morning radio program, Sabados de Fiesta, which airs on AM 1590 between 8-10 am every Saturday morning. 

Coming April 18:  Orquesta Aragon at the Mayne Stage
Two shows, 7:30 and 10:30pm
One of Cuba's oldest still-performing charangas and perhaps its most prominent. No museum piece either, at the same time that it plays classics, it also keeps enough modern style repertoire to stay fresh.  This is one of the don't-miss Cuban music concerts in Chicago this year. 

Early Warnings:  Barring unforeseen, Chicago will be seeing Adalberto Alvarez in late May and Mezcla in the fall.  Stay tuned for details. 


23 March 2014

The Dos y Mas concert at the Old Town School of Folk Music last week was excellent; you can see a review and pictures here...





















Siboney Reopens:  Siboney Cuban Cuisine is back after being closed for some months for remodeling.  While we always wished that they did more promo of whatever music they were having when they were open before, this was a frequent home for a lot of good music, both live and DJ, and we are happy to see it back.   We are told that you'll be able to get cafe con leche early in the day there too with the new schedule. 

Coming in April:  
Havana Nights at Alhambra Palace
This will be a new Thursday night series with live bands (Angel d'Cuba opens the series on April 3) with both a recorded and live music list with more Cuban content than most of the ongoing current events in Chicago.  As with all events of the type, success will depend not only on whether the presenter delivers but also on whether the right people show up to enjoy. We sincerely hope that this takes off successfully - if it doesn't,  that night could go back to Fania or something else again. 

This week: for Charanga fans, Charangueo is playing both Friday and Saturday night, see the Events & Reviews page of this report for details for this and other performances. 

Coming April 18:  Orquesta Aragon at the Mayne Stage
Two shows, 7:30 and 10:30pm
One of Cuba oldest still-performing charangas and perhaps its most prominent.  No museum piece either, at the same time that it plays classics, it also keeps enough modern style repertoire to stay fresh.  We'll have a lot more about this group next week.  In the meantime go buy those tickets, this is one of the don't miss Cuban music concerts in Chicago this year. 


16 March 2014

THIS WEEK: 

The Pedrito Martinez Group concert was excellent, and you can see a review here...

Dos y Más at the Old Town School of Folk Music
4454 N. Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL
Wednesday, March 19, 8:00PM
If Pedtrito is a must-see for fans of the dance music, Dos y Más is the must-see for Jazz fans.  Pianist Elio Villafranca and drummer Arturo Stable, both  graduates of ISA in Havana, first collaborated in Jane Bunnett's Spirits of Havana almost a decade ago.  Both have an encyclopaedic musical range, so this pairing should be truly interesting. 


9 March 2014

THIS WEEK:

Pedrito Martínez Group
City Winery, 1200 W. Randolph St., Chicago

Saturday, March 15, 8:00PM
If you are a true fan of Timba music, attendance at this show is practically mandatory.  This is a quartet that sounds like a larger ensemble without the use of electronic gimmickry, and they play together constantly, so they just keep getting tighter and tighter. This is an all-too infrequent opportunity for Chicago to enjoy the real thing. 

NEXT WEEK:

Dos y Más at the Old Town School of Folk Music
4454 N. Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL
Wednesday, March 19, 8:00PM
If Pedtrito is a must-see for fans of the dance music, Dos y Más is the must-see for Jazz fans.  Pianist Elio Villafranca and drummer Arturo Stable, both  graduates of ISA in Havana, first collaborated in Jane Bunnett's Spirits of Havana almost a decade ago.  Both have an encyclopaedic musical range, so this pairing should be truly interesting. 


2 March 2014

Legal Travel To Cuba

Yes, there are plenty of legal ways to go rather than sneak through Mexico or wherever.  They aren't always cheap, but they provide the advantage that there is almost no risk of hassle once you have the license, and you are more likely to have a more culturally focused experience than just walking about on your own unless you already know what you are doing. Especially a good way to go for first-timers to get your bearings. One of the best providers is PlazaCuba, but there is also a local option that does trips that are similar but more abbreviated - Don Skoog's Contemporary Music Project, based locally.    They are organizing a trip to Havana called Music, Dance and Cultural Explorations in Cuba from June 20 to 27th, 2014.  For more information, visit their website here.  

(Photos courtesy 4fantasticevents.com)

We mentioned last week that Rueda is getting some traction in Chicago.  One of the best things about it is that it is a little like square dancing - if your partner is really giving you the willies, just wait a few seconds and POOF - he/she is gone (until they come around the circle next time).  Now from my point of view, I have been in some places over the years where I wondered whether a better name for some parts of the whole dance scene might be "anti-social dancing", but hey, I'm a musician, not a dancer, what do I know, right?  So that being said,  you really should learn how to do this if you haven't already.   There are a few instructors about, but the scene that seems to have picked up a good number of bodies is the 4 Fantastic Events nights at the Alhambra (alternate Tuesdays) and Dylan's (alternate Fridays).  The pictures above are from a Dylan's lesson.  I don't normally go this far out of my way to plug dance instruction, but Rueda is important - it's hardly the only way to dance Cuban but maybe the best way to get beginners into the pool.  For more information about these sessions, visit 4fantasticevents.com.   (And after you have learned, start buying those tickets to see live Cuban music, OK?)


23 February 2014


Although it was not without some sound system and stage management issues with the live bands, the Chicago International Salsa Congress was in every other respect a success. You can read all about it in the SIn Clave No Hay Na blog...

Photo by DJ Prieto of 4 Fantastic Events.

Rueda is starting to get some traction in Chicago.  DJ Prieto's 4Fantasticevents is running two regular nights for lessons now - alternate Tuesday nights at the Alhambra Palace and Friday nights at Dylans.  This is leading up to what will become a new regular Thursday night event at Alhambra Palace called Havana Nights, which is scheduled to start April 3.  We wish this all success - the more people that can dance this music, the more demand that there will be to hear it at venues.   For more information about all of the above, visit 4Fantasticevents.com

Tonight (Sunday February 23), you can get your Charanga on at the Cubby Bear (Live Salsa Sundays) with Charangueo

March will be an exciting month, with the Pedrito Martínez Group (above left) coming to the City Winery for dancers on March 15, and Dos y Mas coming to the Old Town School of Folk Music for Jazz aficionados on March 19.  More about both closer to the date (Photos from the respective event websites.)


16 February 2014

CHICAGO INTERNATIONAL SALSA CONGRESS CONCLUDES TONIGHT
The dance demonstrations have been excellent this year - I was especially blown away by two young dance troupes from Cali, Colombia - Son de Luz and Elite Rumba Dance.  If all of the dance ensembles out there brought that level of excitement to what they do, I would cover the dance end of things more frequently than I do.   You can see a gallery from the first two nights here. 
Tonight the Congress concludes with a final dance showcase followed with a concert by Venezuela's Porfi Baloa y Sus Adolescentes.    For more details about tonight's performances, see Chicagosalsacongress.com

THIS WEEK: CALJE (CHICAGO AFRO LATIN JAZZ ENSEMBLE) SEXTET
Saturday, February 22, 7:30pm
Freedom Hall, Nathan Manilow Theatre
410 Lakewood Boulevard, Park Forest
This is the Sextet unit of the critically-acclaimed (including by this writer) Chicago Afro Latin Jazz Ensemble, which is led by pianist Darwin Noguera and trumpeter Victor Garcia.   Opportunities to catch these two together in the Chicago area are infrequent, so catch them while you can.  Guitarist Neal Alger is goinig the group for the show. For more information and tickets, see the Freedom Hall website

Save the Dates:
Pedrito Martinez Group at City Winery March 15; Dos y Más 9 (Arturo Stable and Elio Villafranca) at Old Town School of Folk Music March 19; Orquesta Aragon at Mayne Stage April 18


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 the CISC website at Chicagosalsacongress.com 


9  February 2014

This Week:  
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. 

If you aren't doing the Congress, there are are lot of good Plan Bs this week - see our Calendar of Events for details.  Special mention goes to Sureya, who is back at Candela on the 15th. 


2 February 2014

For those of you living without electricity, San Francisco's Pacific Mambo Orchestra won the GRAMMY for Best Tropical Latin Album, and Paquito's album Song For Maura won the Latin Jazz category.  It is unfortunate that the network chooses not to mention this in the big broadcast, but the Recording Academy does officially present those awards in a pre-broadcast ceremony.  

Coming Soon:  
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. 

COMING IN MARCH:  
Pedrito Martinez Group,
City Winery, 1200 W. Randolph,
Chicago IL, Friday, March 15, 2014 8pm
For hard-core fans of Timba music, this is practically a mandatory concert.  For those of you unfamiliar with the group, we are including a video taste.  For more information and tickets, see the City Winery's web page
for the event. 


26 January 2014:

GRAMMY Day!   The interesting categories for us are Latin Jazz, where Cubans Omar Sosa and Roberto Fonseca along with Cuban-American Paquito d'Rivera have a shot at the award for Best Latin Jazz Album.   In the Best Tropical category, San Francisco's Pacific Mambo Orchestra has a shot.  


Out and about........  We caught Sureya Saturday night (well, technically early Sunday morning) at a new restaurant/nightclub, Candela Latin Cuisine & Bar.  Sureya put on a fine show as usual (DJ Fernando Cubanmix was also at the turntable), and welcome Candela to the wonderful but challenging world of Chicago's Latin nightlife.   We have a capsule review of the club in our Restaurants With La Música section. 

That'll be $50.00, Fernando.   No, but seriously, one of the few DJs in the area that spins a lot of Timba, so we'll show you his face here. 


19 January 2014:

A lot of good music is happening in Chicago this week, but we are going to give special mention here to our resident Cuban diva Sureya, who will be performing at Candela Latin Cuisine & Bar, 2451 N. Milwaukee Av., Chicago IL 60618, which we understand to be a relative newcomer to the live music scene in the city, on Saturday the 25th. Additionally, DJ Fernando Cubanmix, one of the few DJs in the city who spins a healthy dose of real Timba, will be at the turntable. 


12 January 2014:

EARLY WARNING:
ORQUESTA ARAGÓN at the MAYNE STAGE
FRIDAY,  APRIL 18, 2014,  7:30 & 10:00 PM

Yes, Orquesta Aragon has been around even longer than I have (seven decades plus), but like the Son, the Charanga format is a living, breathing, adaptable thing, and they never sound like a museum band.   For more information, see the Mayne Stage web page for the event. 
Speaking of charangas, Chicago's own Charangueo has two nights this week - see our Calendar of Events page for details. 


5 January 2014:

If you have any interest in Jazz, you should check out our article about Havana's Jazz festival here.   Locally, it appears that the folks at  4 Fantastic Events are working diligently to help stimulate interest in Rueda with classes on Tuesday at the Alhambra and Friday at Dylans.   Good for them!


 

(See the RFC Archive for earlier posts)

Kevin Moore - Sunday, 27 July 2014, 06:42 PM