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RFC Blog Archive - RFC Apr-Jun 2013

30 June 2013

MORE ABOUT FESTIVAL CUBANO:  We were at their press conference at 90 Miles last Tuesday, and we learned some more about who is headlining the festival. You can read more about this in our Sin Clave No Hay Na' blog

Speaking of which, if you aren't a regular reader of our main-page blogs, you should check these out. Things have really taken off recently, and there is something new and exciting practically every day now. Some special highlights I want to bring to your attention are Michelle's interview and film clip pieces with Maykel Blanco and Interactivo, Kevin Moore's new book in the Beyond Salsa Piano series, new singles by Contrabando, and a killer new album by Chucho Valdés.  There's more, but that should help keep you busy for a little bit. 

COMING SOON:

7th Chicago Latin Jazz Festival
Humboldt Park Boathouse, 1359 N. Sacramento Av, Chicago IL
July 19-20, 2013

There is an excellent line-up for this year's edition.  Two of the highlights will be Jane Bunnett, the legendary percussionist Candido and piano virtuoso Hilario Duran performing in trio on Friday and Bobby Sanabria & Quarteto Ache on Saturday. We'll be saying more about this as the event approaches, but you can also find more details at the Jazz Institute of Chicago's website. 

Last week, we checked out Sureya (who will be one of the local acts featured at this year's Festival Cubano) at the Cubby Bear (Live Salsa Sundays).  She put on a very energetic set and now has two videos up on the web, Dos Gardenias, and Que Nadie Sepa Mi Sufrir. She also turns up fairly often at Siboney on Saturday nights

We wish every Chicago concert of this music went off as well as Mezcla's did Saturday at the Old Town School of Folk Music.  Great sound, very enthusiastic crowd, excellent attendance, and the band fed off the vibes. One of the special moments in the evening was whenAngel d'Cuba, one of their former singers, and Orbert Davis joined them on stage for Round Midnight. This and the recent Buika concert, which was sold out weeks in advance, have renewed our faith in Chicago's sometimes-fickle concert audiences.  You can read our bilingual review here, and there is also a photo gallery from the concert.   Folks, if you aren't already a member of the Old Town School of Folk Music, you should join AND send them a note letting them know that you joined to help them support more of this music. There aren't many venues in the US that present the music with this level of quality this consistently.

Speaking of Mezcla, their Kickstarter page will remain active for three more weeks.  It's a little late to have your photo taken with them at the gig now, but they do have some other options for those who support them  http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/mezcla/mezcla-direct-from-cuba-2013-us-tour

 


23 June 2013

THIS WEEK:

Sureya, Chicago's La dama de la Salsa, is performing tonight (Sunday, June 23) at the Cubby Bear (Live Salsa Sundays)  at 9pm and 11pm to celebrate her single and video Que nadie sepa mi sufrir.  This fine vocalist nails the more classic style of Cuban dance music as well as anyone currently singing the repertoire in the United States, and she has become an area favorite in the festival scene.  

Pablo Menéndez and Mezcla
Old Town School of Folk Music 
Saturday, June 29 at 8PM

This is truly a don't-miss event. Direct from Cuba on a limited-engagement US Tour, this edition of the powerhouse band has beefed up its Jazz and folkloric elements for the occasion. Our special Mezcla section includes video clips of the band, and you can read our recent interview with Pablo here. 
Also, our own Angel D'Cuba sang with the group while he was in Cuba, and we have reason to believe that he may sit in with the group as well. 

COMING SOON:

7th Chicago Latin Jazz Festival
Humboldt Park Boathouse, 1359 N. Sacramento Av, Chicago IL
July 19-20, 2013

There is an excellent line-up for this year's edition.  Two of the highlights will be Jane Bunnett, the legendary percussionist Candido and piano virtuoso Hilario Duran performing in trio on Friday and Bobby Sanabria & Quarteto Ache on Saturday. We'll be saying more about this as the event approaches, but you can also find more details at the Jazz Institute of Chicago's website. 

Festival Cubano expands to three days
Riis Park, Fullerton and Narragansett Chicago IL
August 2-4, 2013
We'll have the entertainment lineup for you in next week's report.  The Festival has expanded to three days, and what we have learned about the lineup so far looks promising. 


16 June 2013

Havana d'Primera played its heart out in Lousville last week - for a photo gallery and review, click here. 

BuikaIván Melón Lewis and Ramón Porrina played to a sold-out (literally) Old Town School of Folk Music last night.   We'll have a special section about that on Tuesday or Wednesday, so stay tuned.  

This Week:  Sureya, our Chicago-based La dama de la Salsa, is celebrating her single and video Que nadie sepa mi sufrir as part of her performance at the Cubby Bear (Live Salsa Sundays) on Sunday, June 23 at 9pm and 11pm.  Everybody likes to talk about supporting Chicago's own, here's an opportunity to do just that with this fine vocalist and her band. 

Also, Grupo Cha Cha is celebrating the release of their CD This is the Life at the Old Town School on Friday, June 21.  See ourNuestros Primos Musicales section  for more information about this member of Chicago's musical finest. 

COMING SOON:  
Pablo Menéndez & Mezcla Jazz All Stars at the Old Town School of Folk Music, Saturday, June 29 at 8pm.   Direct from Cuba on a limited-engagement US Tour, this edition of the powerhouse band has beefed up its Jazz and folkloric elements for the occasion.  As the date draws nearer, we'll be adding some special features including an interview with Pablo.  For now, check out our special Mezcla sectionhere.    We'll be adding some things during the next couple of weeks.  We've been following Pablo's career since before there even was a Mezcla, and this is on our must-not-miss list for the year. Especially if you are a percussionist or deeply into percussion, because we anticipate that barring unforeseen, there will be a workshop connected with the performance.  Here's a little biographical information about two of the master drummers on board for the tour:

OCTAVIO RODRIGUEZ: percussion and vocals,  is one of the first to develop the modern style of playing all three batá drums at once while singing at the same time. He is a true drum master, or Rumbero Mayor. He brings to the group his many years of experience playing in Afro-Cuban religious settings, carnivals and folkloric groups, and is one of the most respected percussionists in Cuba.

ROBERTO SMITH IZQUIERDO “EL CAPITÁN” has performed as guest artist with Mezcla on several occasions over the last two years. Known as "El Capitán", Mr. Smith is an Afro-Cuban percussion sensation who has worked with many groups including el Médico de la Salsa, Septeto Tradición Cubana and Angel Bonné. He is a sought out teacher, known for his ability to play complex rhythms using all four limbs at once. He is also the creator of LP's "Fusheki" a pedal that allows the drummer to play maracas with their foot!

Last but not least: 
The fourth annual Festival Cubano has expanded to three days this year.  Watch for details about the lineup in the very near future; we have high hopes that at least one Timba group will be part of the lineup (last year brought us Issac Delgado). 


9 June 2013

NOW PLAYING TODAY:  HAVANA D'PRIMERA AT CLUB AZUCAR, LOUISVILLE KY

Here's a taste of the group from a performance in San Francisco last week:

Louisville is usually about a 5-6 hour drive from Chicago depending on your starting point.  For more information and advance tickets, see http://lexvillelatino.com/havana_clubazucar.php#.UbMWP-dthik

LATER THIS WEEK:

BUIKA, Old Town School of Folk Music, Saturday, June 15, 8PM (SOLD OUT)
Well, it should tell you something that she sold out a month and change in advance, but you never know when some tickets (or even another show?)  might open up, so keep your eyes peeled. Buika works with a lot of Cuban artists that we follow, including Ivan Melón Lewis, who will be at this performance.  This will also be part of the Musicology series on WYCC TV, so if you didn't get a ticket before they sold out, you'll have a chance to catch up on TV later.   Her newest CD,  La Noche Más Larga, on which Iván Melon Lewis is musical director and pianist, jumped almost immediately to #1 on the Amazon World Music and Latin Jazz charts, #1 on iTunes World and #2 on iTunes Latin thanks in part to a boost from being featured on NPR's First Listen.  You can read our review here.

Coming soon:  Grupo Cha Cha has a CD release party at the Old Town School of Folk Music on the 21st;  Sureya is celebrating the release of a single at Cubby Bear on the 23rd.   Pablo Menéndez and Mezcla will be at the Old Town School on the 29th.  Check out our Calendar of Events for more information about these and several other events. 

Finally, Chuchito Valdés had a killer four-night stand at the Jazz Showcase last week.  Here is our photo gallery and review. 


2 June 2013

Editorial:  The Summer music season is here, and with it a lot more restaurants, festivals and live music.   We will post as much of it as we can within reason in our Event Calendar, but a word to both the venues (restaurants, festivals etc)  and the bands in that regard:
One of the loudest and most frequent arguments we witness between presenters and bands is the "Who is responsible for bringing in  the crowd?" argument.   Some bands think that it is the responsibility of the venue, and all they need to do is show up and play.  Some venues think it is the band's responsibility to bring in their following, and all they need to do is provide the performance space. Whose responsibility is it really?  BOTH.  If you are a restaurant that posts "live music" without naming the band on your site, we aren't going to interrogate you about who you are hosting, we just won't post you unless you tell us who it is.  Bands, if you leave it up to the venues, don't blame anyone else if your audience is 15 people.  You share in the responsibility, it's called "building a following". We will ask you nicely where and when you are playing, but we aren't going to hunt you down with bloodhounds either.  If you don't end up listed with us, it's on you, especially considering that the calendar listing is gratis.  Some of you act responsibly, others not, and you can tell the difference in who has reasonably full rooms on band nights and who does not.   'Nuff said. 

Now Playing:  
The Chuchito Valdés Trio (Chuchito Valdés on piano, Rafael Monteagudo on drums, Christopher Nolte on bass) is wrapping up a 4-night stand at the Jazz Showcase on Sunday, June 2 with sets at 4pm, 8pm and 10pm.  We heard the Friday night set. If you are into Jazz at all, catch it if you can.  A special treat is that in addition to Chuchito's virtuosic technique,  the new bassist, Christopher, is a monster bassist, and Rafael is wonderful on the drums as well, and this is a very conversational set between the three of them - everyone has a chance to shine.    

Must-See Timba on Sunday, June 9:
Yes, it is a bit of a drive, but Havana d'Primera, Cuba's hottest current Timba band really is coming to the Club Azucar in Louisville Kentucky on Sunday, June 9.  They are tearing up California right now. They just won the Cubadisco 2013 (Cuba's equivalent to the GRAMMY awards) for Popular Dance Music.  Here's a taste of why: 

An emerging area favorite in Kentucky, the KY Salsa All Stars, is scheduled to do an opening set. (For those of you who still like to make noises about the Salsa vs. Timba debate, be advised that the local band in Louisville includes some young Cuban Americans who attended ISA when they were students in Cuba, and Kentuckians are getting comfortable with having Salsa, Songo and Timba in the same place with the philosophy that if it sounds and feels good, dance it.  Maybe Chicagoans could learn a thing or two from that.)
Advanced tickets can be purchased through http://www.boletosexpress.com/event/havana-dprimera/
This will also give you the chance to hear the differences between Salsa and Timba in one concert, but you'll enjoy both if you go in with an open mind. 


26 May 2013


Over the weekend, we went down to Louisville, Kentucky, and while we were there, we caught yet another very good area Salsa band, the 13-piece Kentucky Salsa All Stars at the absolutely stunning Louisville Palace (we wish Chicago had more venues for Salsa acts that look like this). They throw down some excellent Salsa Dura.  The group has only been together for about four months, but they have great charts, talented musicians, and if they avoid the various curses that often afflict new bands, they will be a welcome addition to the scene.   (Speaking of Louisville, remember that Havana d'Primera is playing there on June 9, and yes, they are already in the country and just played Miami over the weekend, so no, there won't be any visa nonsense.)

Remember, Chuchito Valdes is doing a 4-night stint at the Jazz Showcase this weekend, and as always, See our Calendar of Events section for this week's doings.


19 May 2013

THIS WEEK:

See our Calendar of Events section for this week's doings.  Also, if you've been on the fence about the Havana d'Primera performance in Louisville on June 9, HdP just won the Cubadisco 2013 Award (their equivalent of the GRAMMY) for Pasaporte.  We are covering Cubadisco 2013 in depth (including CD reviews, and yes, you CAN buy many of them) in our Sin Clave blog. 


12 May 2013

ATTN MUSICIANSOn Monday, May 13 at 6PM at the Old Town School of Folk Music, there is a free Musicians at Work forum sponsored by DCASE, the Chicago Music Commission, Columbia College and the Chicago Federation of Musicians  on the topic of licensing your work.  For more information, see http://www.chicago-music.org/accomplishments/musicians-at-work-seminars

NEW EVENT ALERTS: 
See our May 5 post for Havana d'Primera and Pablo Menéndez/Mezcla.  In addition: 

Chuchito Valdés Trio, Jazz Showcase, May 30- June 2 2013, various times. This is a four-night stand by Chuchito and company. For those of you who have been living in a cave, Chuchito is the son of Chucho Valdés and grandson of Bebo Valdés, and he has emerged as a distinguished pianist in his own right.  He will be joined by drummer Rafael Monteagudo, whom we have written about in connection with his 2012 CD Innovation. 

BUIKA, Old Town School of Folk Music, Saturday, June 15, 8PM (SOLD OUT)
Well, it should tell you something that she sold out a month and change in advance, but you never know when some tickets (or even another show?)  might open up, so keep your eyes peeled. Buika works with a lot of Cuban artists that we follow, including Ivan Melón Lewis.  This will also be part of the Musicology series on WYCC.  


5 May 2013

Happy Cinco de Mayo!   To celebrate, we bring you some happy news about a couple of upcoming Cuban events:

Tickets = http://www.boletosexpress.com/event/havana-dprimera/ 

A.  Alexander Abreu & Havana d'Primera, Sunday, June 9, 4pm 
Club Azucar, 1506 Lake Shore Ct., Louisville, KY 40223

Yes, depending upon where you live, this may be a 5-6 hour drive, but they saw you coming, so it's a 4pm matinee. Like the man in the exercise videos says,  You can do it! And it's as close as they'll come to Chicago this time.   More than worth the drive if you can swing it. We saw them in New York and New Jersey last year, and they were on fire. 

B.  Pablo Menéndez & Mezcla Jazz All-Stars,  Saturday,   June 29, 2013, 8pm
Old Town School of Folk Music 

Pablo's cutting-edge resume goes waaaaaaay back. He was a key member of theExperimental Sound Group (Grupo De Experimentación Sonora del ICAIC) in the 1970s (if you never heard of this group, go look for a copy of Bailalo si Puedes or Ekue);  his supergroup Mezcla later combined everything from Cuban folkloric music to Jazz, Reggae, Rock and acheived international recognition as it did so. They have a half-dozen recordings out, all worth having. (Our local singer-songwriter Angel d'Cuba performed with them for a while in the late 90s). The musicians all have serious Jazz chops (most of them also lead other bands), and Pablo tells us that this will have some Yoruba and Rumba but will also bring some serious Jazz to the performance.  This should also be on your don't-miss list. 

Cubadisco 2013 just released its list of nominees, and we have reviewed some of the recordings with more to come over time. Click here for the full article. 

Finally, we have posted a review and pictures of last week's CALJE performance.  Click here for the gallery. 


28 April 2013

We were at CALJE 's concert last night and will share pictures and impressions later this week.  Also watch for our take on the Cubadisco 2013 nominations later this week as well.  For now, we are going to do something a little different this week.  I just finished a review of a new traditional Son recording by Cuba's Septeto Santiaguero.   I'm going to ask you to please read the first paragraph (which you can find here ) even if you aren't a big fan of the more traditional styles.  Why?  Well, as I was typing this, I kept coming back to how many arguments I have listened to over the years about Cubans vs. Puerto Ricans in the music.  I want you to check out the names and the places of birth of the guest artists on this album.  Please pay special attention to the places of birth. 
Now what was it that some of you were arguing about again?  What the musicians care about is whether the cat can sing or play the style well.  
Next case. 


21 April 2013

THIS WEEK:  CALJE AT NORTH CENTRAL COLLEGE, NAPERVILLE, ILLINOIS
27 APRIL 2013 8-10 PM

CALJE, the Chicago Afro Latin Jazz ensemble, our city's excellent big band project led by Darwin Noguera and Victor Garcia, will be at Wentz Hall at North Central College in Naperville on this coming Saturday, April 27 from 8-10 pm. Darwin is now a commuter from NYC, so this opportunity to catch him with the band shouldn't be missed. For more info and tickets, click
HERE .


14 April 2013

SPECIAL BULLETIN:  HAVANA D' PRIMERA 2013 USA TOUR TO INCLUDE LOUISVILLE,  KY

Havana D'Primera is touring the US in May-June 2013 (yes folks, this one's real)  and is scheduled to perform at Club Azucar in Louisville,  Kentucky on Sunday, June 9.  As we are typing this, they are still putting the promo materials together for that date, so sit tight for further details in the near future, but this will be as close as they get to Chicago this year, so we recommend saving the date (actually, since Louisville is a 5-6 hour drive from Chicago, you'll want to see about taking Monday the 10th off as well) and stay tuned for more details. (And yes, if you are curious, Chicago was looked at carefully this time, but there were scheduling and logistical issues.  If this tour goes well, we fully expect to see them in Chicago during the next one.)  
For the rest of the tour dates in the US, see http://www.timba.com/tours/havana-d-primera 
(Note that the website URL shown for the Club Azucar is not currently an active website.  We'll point you to the right place when the time comes.)  

LATER THIS MONTH:  CALJE AT NORTH CENTRAL COLLEGE, NAPERVILLE, ILLINOIS
27 APRIL 2013 8-10 PM

The Chicago Afro Latin Jazz ensemble , the excellent big band project led by Darwin Noguera and Victor Garcia, will be at Wentz Hall at North Central College in Naperville on Saturday, April 27 from 8-10 pm. Darwin is now a commuter from NYC, so the opportunites to catch him with the band shouldn't be missed.   For more info and tickets, click
HERE .

DISTANT EARLY WARNING:  DAFNIS PRIETO IN CHICAGO SEPTEMBER 15, 2013 
Stay tuned for more as it develops.   

We missed Angel d'Cuba 's OTS date due to travel but heard good things about it.  We did catch Havana Blue last night, and will be posting a review in our Sin Clave No Hay Na' blog soon.  As always, for other action around town, see our Events and Reviews  page


7 April 2013

THIS WEEK:  

Two special events are worth noting in Chicago this week:

Angel d'Cuba at the Old Town School of Folk Music , Friday, 12 April, 8:30pm  This is Angel's full band playing a range of selections from Songo/Timba to Ballads, Calypso, Samba, Soca and Funk/Mozambique.  They released their CD Heritage  a few months ago, and they put on a very enjoyable live show.  Angel  has a wonderful voice and is usually backed by some of the city's best musicians for this music. 

Havana Blue at the Auditorium Theatre , Saturday, 13 April at 8:00PM.  This is the World Premiere of a commissioned work performed by Orbert Davis and the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic with  River North Dance Chicago.   This comes in the wake of a recent trip that Orbert Davis and Frank Chaves made to Cuba and is an original work of live music and dance inspired by its cultural history.  Both of these ensembles are excellent, and the combination of the two performing together should make for quite a show. 

See our Events and Reviews page for other performances during the week.  

Earlier in the week, we caught  the 911 Mambo Orchestra in a smoking set at the City Winery.  This is a really fun group to watch, in part because they look like they are having a lot of fun performing.  For a review and photo gallery, click here 

 


 

domingo, 21 julio 2013, 03:43 am