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Reportes: From The St... : Jazz Plaza ...
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Staff: Bill Tilford
Reportes: From The St... : Cubadisco 2...
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Grupos: Tirso Duarte
Grupos: Tirso Duarte : Discography
Grupos: Charanga Habaner... : 8. El bla bla bla
Grupos: Pupy y los que S... : Tirso Duarte
Grupos: Pupy y los que S... : compared to "Timba: T...
Grupos: Pupy y los que S... : Conclusion

Photos of the Day [hide]

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Cuba based rap duo, Zona Franka, blends traditional rhythms with the grit and swagger of hip-hop and rap vocal phrasings. Their clever shout choruses create instant tropical dance classics using their unique self-titled "changui con flow" style.

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Sunday, 15 May 2022, 10:22 PM

Havana d'Primera in the Bay Area

Here's Tom's gallery from the HdP portion of the big show this weekend at UC Theater in Berkeley. Check back soon for another gallery on Los Van Van who played on the same historic double bill.

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Tuesday, 10 May 2022, 10:30 AM

RIP Sergio Noroña

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We've lost another titan of the timba era. Sergio Noroña's timba career was short but extremely important. Looking back with the perspective of 25 years, certain albums from the 90s stand out as timeless masterpieces and Paulito FG's Con la conciencia tranquila is at or near the top of that list.

Sergio's predecessor in that legendary band--Emilio Morales--and his successors--Yaniel "El Majá" Matos and Rolando Luna--were also great innovators and, as with any great musical collaboration, it's not always possible to determine who contributed which idea. For example, in concert, Morales was the first to play Y San Toma qué and the basic idea for the title track. Among the breathtaking piano tumbaos that I know from my MIDI research were definitely penned by Noroña were Y ahora qué, No te crees, and at least some aspects of Paulito's anthem, De La Habana. He also anecdotally contributed piano tumbao ideas during the pre-Con la conciencia period when he was the band's tecladista and added his distinctive voice to the coro section. But beyond the authorship of tumbaos, Noroña played with a rhythmic ferocity distinct among the great timba pianists. To get a sense of the excitement he generated from the piano chair, track down Paulito's live show at the Plaza de la Revolución from late 1996 or early 1997. After his short tenure with Paulito, Noroña was a member of the great Envidia house band that recorded on many important CDs, e.g., Michel Maza's Fieeesta and Que hablen los habladores. 

It's difficult to piece together the full family tree but the extended Noroña family includes many great timba musicians, including Julio Noroña, Los Van Van's founding and current güiro player, Julio's son, Julito Noroña, who fills the same role with Pupy y Los Que Son Son, Paulito alumnus Yosvel Bernal, now tecladista with Havana d'Primera, the great Revé bassist Pipo Noroña, and longtime Van Van trombonista Edmundo Pina, to name just a few. Whenever you see Noroña, Bernal, or Pina in the credits of an album, it's probably one of Sergito's relatives. He'll be greatly missed. 

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Saturday, 05 March 2022, 11:54 AM

Pedrito Martínez & Alfredo Rodríguez!

At Stanford's Bing Auditorium on Friday March 11th

And Tonight, March 5th, in Miami

Finally ... live music returns to the world! They play tonight in Miami.

Click here for full details of the Stanford show and here for all of Pedrito's upcoming shows. Here are some of Tom Ehrlich's photos from other performances:

                                                   Kuumbwa Jazz Center - 2019

St. Louis - 2017 (debut performance of the duo)

St. Louis - 2017

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Friday, 28 January 2022, 01:19 PM

Remembering Los Metales del Terror

We've Lost El Greco, and now Chappottín

NG La Banda launched the timba genre with a ferocious, virtuosic horn section affectionately known as Los Metales del Terror. The saxophonists were Germán Velazco (still going strong) and Carlos Averhoff, Sr. (who passed in 2016). The trumpeters were José "El Greco" Crego and Elpidio Chappottín, both of whom have passed in recent weeks. After Irakere and NG La Banda, El Greco led his own jazz band, Top Secret, and Chappottín (the grandson of the legendary Arsenio Rodríguez trumpeter and bandleader Félix Chappottín and a cousin of the younger Félix Chappottín now leading Conjunto Chappottín) became an in-demand session player and touring musician, most recently coming to the States with Issac Delgado. El Greco's son Marcos Crego is a leading pianist who played with Klímax and Juan de Marcos' Afro-Cuban All Stars and now lives in Arizona.

       Elpidio Chappottín with Issac at SF Jazz (click here for photos from Kuumbwa Jazz)

José "El Greco" Crego

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Marcos Crego (son of El Greco) with Afro-Cuban All Stars in SF

(photos by Tom Ehrlich)

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