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RFC Blog Archive - RFC Sept-Oct 2011

26 September 2011

This Week:  

LOS VAN VAN CANCELLED FOR KENTUCKY

Well, folks, it's definitely  not a visa thing this time since they were in California, New York and Florida, but we have received confirmation that Los Van Van is notdoing Louisville  on September 30th after all.  This is the third time within a year that attempts to book the band in the Midwest have crashed and burned, and that's not a good thing for anyone, anywhere - not the band, not the clubs, and most certainly not the public, some of which had planned to travel considerable distances to catch the group live.  

Event Review: On a happier note, we saw The Creole Choir of Cuba  at the Mayne Stage last Wednesday, and it was a very pleasant surprise indeed. (We're at that point in life where we still get enough pleasant but not so many surprises. This group was refreshingly different.) 
Read our review of the performance here.


19 September 2011

This Week:

Event Alert:  Creole Choir of Cuba 
21 September 2011, 8pm  at the Mayne Stage

In addition to the many other types of acts that it hosts, the Mayne Stage has been carving out a role as one of the Chicago area's most important venues for Cuban music and Latin Jazz and dance music over the course of the last year; its bookings in the last few months have included Ricardo Lemvo, Omar Sosa, Poncho Sanchez, CALJE and Sierra Maestra.  This impressive string continues with the

Creole Choir of Cuba, a group of 10 singers from Camagüey that celebrate and preserve the musical heritage of their Haitian ancestors in Cuba (of which there was a significant influx after Haiti's independence from France. Incidentally, what we now call charanga was originally called charanga francesa a century ago.)   We have never seen this group before ourselves, so we went video-fishing and really liked what we saw.  Here's a sample of them; they are definitely worth checking out:                                                                               


(Cancelled)Event Alert:
  Los Van Van 

30 September 2011, 10pm, Coconut Beach Club, Louisville KY

After two false starts caused by visa issues for the band, Los Van Van now has a new date for the Coconut Beach nightclub, 436 Baxter Av in Louisville Kentucky: Friday, September 30th at 10PM.  Louisville is a 5-6 hour drive from Chicago (a "doable" distance for hard core vanvaneros), and this will be as close as they will come to us this tour.  Coconut Beach does not have a website but is on Facebook (the page name is "Coconuts Beach" with an "S"),  and you can purchase tickets through Ticketriver.com. They are definitely in the US now, albeit with a substitute drummer (Timbalive's Leo Garcia) due to continuing visa woes for Samuel Formell, and we received favorable reports about last week's Los Angeles performance (seeCuruyé in LA)  The third time should be a charm here. 

Event Review: Paquito D'Rivera and the Jazz Faculty of the Music Institute of Chicago On Saturday, September 17th, we attended a morning workshop byPaquito D'Rivera and Alexander Brown (an up and coming young jazz pianist) and an evening concert by the two of them with the MIC's jazz faculty at the Nichols Concert Hall.  Before we get to the actual event review, it's worth mentioning that we were extremely impressed with what we learned about theMusic Institute of Chicago and its programs for young students.    The MIC teaches classical and other genres, of course, but we focused our own attention on the new jazz program. The Director of Jazz Studies, Audrey Morrison (a fine trombonist), informed us that the Jazz Studies program is in its second year (the MIC's history dates to 1931), involves approximately 60 students and has a Latin Jazz component along with other modules including Big Band.  We looked over the performance resumes of various jazz faculty members and were impressed with what we saw. We wish this new program growth and success and encourage young students and their parents to check it out.  You can learn more about the MIC at musicinst.org

Now then, Paquito's  workshop and concert were both excellent. Read the complete review including photos here...

Coming Soon:

Attention Timba fanatics : tickets are now on sale for the Tiempo Libre concert at the Old Town School of Folk Music   on October 22, 2011.  Check out our review of their newest CD, My Secret Radio  and you'll see why you won't want to miss this event.  We'll be posting up more about them and their music as the date approaches, but this is on the short list of "don't miss" concerts for the year.  We've been playing the new CD in our car a lot, and it's not for lack of other things to listen to.  
You can also click here for Tiempo Libre's website .



12 September 2011

This Week:

Event Alert:  Paquito D'Rivera with MIC Jazz Faculty  
17 September, 2011 at the Music Institute of Chicago

Nine-time Grammy (both regular and Latin) award-winning artist Paquito D'Riverais doing both a workshop and a performance with the Jazz Faculty of the Music Institute of Chicago on September 17, 2011.   Paquito first became known to Americans over 30 years ago for his work with Irakere, and he later moved on to build a pretty remarkable career that includes a formidable body of work under his own name and together with too many other notable musicians to name here. Many people tend to think of him simply as a "Latin jazz" artist, but his range includes classical and several other genres as well (his newest of over 30 recordings is dedicated to tango jazz).     He will be conducting a workshop September 17 at 11am and will be in concert that night at 7:30pm.  Tickets for the concert are $25.00 for adults, $15.00 for seniors and $10.00 for students.  For the workshop, tickets are $10.00 at the door for non-Music Institute students.     Both of these events will be at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Av, Evanston IL. Tickets for the concert can be obtained at (click here for link to the Music Institute of Chicago's event page ) 
The Music Institute of Chicago has a fascinating history of its own, and we encourage you to also visit the rest of  their website and learn more about them.  
You can also click here for Paquito's website   .

ALSO:   Some of the faculty that are playing with Paquito also play with the Chicago Afro Latin Jazz Ensemble, which will be playing the previous evening, Friday, Sept. 16, at the Green Mill Jazz Club.   CALJE is one of Chicago's best kept Latin Jazz secrets, and we need to work on fixing the secret thing.

Coming Soon:

Los Van Van  in Kentucky

Los Van Van now has a new date for the Coconut Beach Club, 436 Baxter Av in Louisville Kentucky: Friday, September 30th at 10PM.  Louisville is a 5-6 hour drive from Chicago, and barring a pleasant surprise, this will be as close as they will come to us this tour.  The Club does not have a website but is on Facebook (the page name is "Coconuts Beach" with an "S").  They will be doing the Conga Room in LA and SOB's in New York before then, so we'll have the luxury of knowing for sure whether they made it to the US this time after their last set of visa issues.


1 September 2011

When we first started this section, we chose the name Report From Chicago rather thanChicago Report because we knew that a lot of interesting things that would come our way would be happening outside the city limits. Sure enough, Milwaukee and Madison Wisconsin are emerging as places to watch (and yes, go to  as well) for the music.  Both cities had Maraca in July, and this last weekend, both had Cuban jazz virtuoso Ernán López Nussa.  We attended the Milwaukee performance, and it was phenomenal. 
See our review and photos here... 
Longer term, it's worth noting that the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music tells us that it  is undertaking a significant expansion of its Latin Jazz program, and we'll share more about that over time. Meanwhile, we encourage you to visit their website and learn more about their programs, classes, concerts etc.  
So,  expect to see more regional coverage in the future (especially Wisconsin, Indiana, Kentucky) if it's within driving distance.

Event Alert:  Paquito D'Rivera with MIC Jazz Faculty  
17 September, 2011 at the Music Institute of Chicago

Nine-time Grammy (both regular and Latin) award-winning artist Paquito D'Riverais doing both a workshop and a performance with the Jazz Faculty of the Music Institute of Chicago on September 17, 2011.   Paquito first became known to Americans over 30 years ago for his work with Irakere, and he later moved on to build a pretty remarkable career that includes a formidable body of work under his own name and together with too many other notable musicians to name here. Many people tend to think of him simply as a "Latin jazz" artist, but his range includes classical and several other genres as well (his newest of over 30 recordings is dedicated to tango jazz).     He will be conducting a workshop September 17 at 11am and will be in concert that night at 7:30pm.  Tickets for the concert are $25.00 for adults, $15.00 for seniors and $10.00 for students.  For the workshop, tickets are $10.00 at the door for non-Music Institute students.     Both of these events will be at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Av, Evanston IL. Tickets for the concert can be obtained at (click here for link to the Music Institute of Chicago's event page ) 
The Music Institute of Chicago has a fascinating history of its own, and we encourage you to also visit the rest of  their website and learn more about them.  
You can also click here for Paquito's website   .

ALSO:   Some of the faculty that are playing with Paquito also play with the Chicago Afro Latin Jazz Ensemble, which will be playing the previous evening, Friday, Sept. 16, at the Green Mill Jazz Club.   CALJE is one of Chicago's best kept Latin Jazz secrets, and we need to work on fixing the secret thing.

CALJE's dance band unit is playing at the Mayne Stage this Saturday, September 3rd. 


30 October 2011

This Week:  Papo Santiago y Infraverde at the Cubby Bear , Sun, 6 Nov 2011

Papo's group just released its debut CD (see our 23 October item about this).  We aren't sure about the exact time thatInfraverde starts; the Sunday night sets at the Cubby Bear usually start with a DJ and dance lessons at 7pm with the band coming on later.  The 2nd preliminary round of a $5000 dance competition will also be taking place that evening. This is an opportunity to hear Infraverde live and pick up their new CD as well.  

Infraverde was the first group out of the gate with a finished product, but we also expect to see new releases from Afincao , Angel D'Cuba and Sureya over the course of the next several months. 


23 October 2011

This Week:  David Bixler/Arturo O'Farrill: The Auction Project 
Old Town School of Folk Music , Saturday, 29 October 2011 7PM

Arturo O'Farrill  is probably best known to most jazz listeners for leading the Chico O'Farrill Afro Cuban Jazz Orchestra, but The Auction Project is an interesting experimental sextet  fusing Afrocuban with other ingredients including some Celtic influences. We tasted their CD very recently and liked it enough to recommend catching them live, especially if you like the more experimental side of either Latin jazz or groups like GES.   The Old Town School's page for this event includes a video clip: 
 https://www.oldtownschool.org/concerts/2011/10/29_bixler.php

Papo Santiago y Infraverde  release their first CD:   We were considering starting a really serious betting pool about which of the area bands with recording projects in progress  would finish up and get their CD out first, but Papo just made that impossible by being the first one out of the gate. Seriously though, congratulations to Papo and the band for  releasing a fine new Salsa album, Infraverde.   We gave it a good listen over the weekend, and you can read our review here

Addendum:  Papo is having a CD release event at the Cubby Bear on Sunday, November 6.  

Finally, if you missed Tiempo Libre 's performance at the Old Town School of Folk Music  last Saturday, you should probably just go kick yourself now.  As is so frequently the case with so many of the best bands, they were even hotter live than they are on disc, and since they have been nominated for a GRAMMY multiple times,   you can probably figure out what that means without our help.  Nevertheless, read our review and see our photo gallery here

 


16 October 2011

THIS WEEK:  TIEMPO LIBRE
Old Town School of Folk Music , Saturday, 22 October 2011,  7PM

This is Chicago's don't-miss concert for the month.  Tiempo Libre is in the very top tier of US-based Timba bands, and their latest recording, My Secret Radio , has them going full throttle. (Read our review of the CD here) 
Here's their official video for the lead track, Lo Mio Primero :

Tiempo Libre has had great buzz and reviews in other cities about their current tour, which recently came through the West Coast. 
See our other blog page, Sin Clave No Hay Na' ,   for a review of Rumbankete's debut CD, Que No Pare La Fiesta, along with capsules of two movies (one made in Cuba, one in Spain) of interest.  
Last week, we shared an item about arts funding in Milwaukee; we have subsequently received a report that this funding may be mostly restored with a 15% cut after several people wrote the county board there.  Chicagoans should remember this when our own arts budgets come under the knife (which they inevitably will again given the state of our finances here).  
Check out Kevin Moore's blog  for Maykel Blanco' s recent performances in California.  This was their first trip to the US, so the bookings were limited.   It would be nice to see them in Chicago in 2012 as part of a much larger tour.    


 

9 October 2011

Things are tough all over when it comes to arts funding from the cities.  Chicago made deep cuts this year and will probably do so next year (one of the casualties was the Viva Chicago festival, which was integrated into the Taste of Chicago, itself now slated for further deep cuts).  Our neighbor, Milwaukee, is also being faced with some proposed deep cuts and is having a meeting early this week to discuss those. Those of you who either live in Milwaukee or go to Milwaukee events (we have attended and written about Milwaukee events on a few occasions in recent months) may wish to read the following information, which was shared by the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music:
Letter From Wisconsin Conservatory of Music

The Conservatory has a relatively new Latin jazz education program, and Milwaukee's Latino Arts program has some interesting groups in their lineup.  We hope that things work out well for them.  


1 October 2011

The Month Ahead:

THE 47TH  CHICAGO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

Why are we posting movies, you ask? Well, it's actually interesting to see what's in the soundtracks of Cuban films in addition to just watching them as movies. Sometimes you get some interesting surprises.  We haven't seen any of these but are bringing them to your attention.  Two are made in Cuba.  The third, made in Spain, is ironically the one that is the most on-topic for what we usually do here.  All of these are playing at the AMC River East, 322 E. Illinois St., Chicago IL.  As we said, there are three of interest for fans of Cuban films and music:

I.  Ticket To Paradise.   October 7, 6:15pm, October 8, 2:30pm, October 10, 3:30pm. A Cuban-made drama about disaffected youth culture in Cuba.  A full synopsis is at Ticket to Paradise  
II.  Juan of the Dead. October 13, 10:40pm, October 14, 10:40pm. Also made in Cuba, this has zombies (the George Romero kind) in Havana.  Could be fun, but you decide, the summary is atJuan of the Dead 
III.   Chico & Rita.   October 14, 3:15pm, October 15, 8pm, and October 16, 12:30pm. Spanish Filmmaker Fernando Trueba, who also has Calle 54 and La Belle Epoque in his filmography, did an animated tribute to the Afrocuban and bebop musicians of the 1940s and 1950s.  We expect this one to have a beautiful musical score.   This film even has its own website, and the trailer looks like great fun:  http://www.chicoandrita.com/home.html .   The Festival's link for ticket info is Chico and Rita

THIS MONTH'S BIG GIG:  TIEMPO LIBRE
Old Town School of Folk Music , Saturday, 22 October 2011,  7PM

This is Chicago's don't-miss concert for the month.  Tiempo Libre is in the very top tier of US-based Timba bands, and their latest recording, My Secret Radio , has them going full throttle. (Read our review of the CD here) 
Here's their official video for the lead track, Lo Mio Primero :

...and this isn't even our personal favorite track from the album (we like it, but we like some of the other tracks even better, they just don't happen to be on video yet). Not to mention, like most Timba groups, they crank it up a notch or two when they are live in front of the right audience.   Enough said.  Tickets are on sale at the Old Town School's Website , get them while you can.  

Also at the OTS:  David Bixler/Arturo O'Farrill: The Auction Project 
Old Town School of Folk Music , Saturday, 29 October 2011 7PM

Arturo is probably best known for leading the Chico O'Farrill Afro Cuban Jazz Orchestra, but this is an interesting experimental sextet project fusing Afrocuban with other ingredients.  It's not for all tastes, and definitely not a "dance set", this is for jazz listeners and fans of experimental music.  If you liked GES, for example,(we do), you should check this out.    We'll say more closer to the date. 


 

Saturday, 12 November 2011, 07:40 AM