Sunday, November 2, 2008

All Souls Rumba

As great as it was to have El Gran Combo here in N.C. last night, I can't help but feel some longing as to where else I might have been:

This is fresh footage from the Nov. 1 reunion concert of Grupo Folklorico y Experimental Nuevayorquino, the legendary '70s jazz/folklore experiment at the Hostos Center in the Bronx.

If you ever wanted to know what motivates those of us who love rumba, check this clip out and make a commitment to watch the whole thing through to the end. If you don't have 10 minutes, just skip it. Staying power is not encouraged by the current pace of our popular culture, but you have to build intensity to get to ecstasy.

This starts small, but passionate with Jerry Gonzalez on trumpet recitative. Assembled luminaries include Jerry's brother Andy Gonzalez on bass, and Manny Oquendo on timbales, who played in Eddie Palmieri's La Perfecta in the '60s. Those who stay to the end are rewarded with some rumba dancing by lead singer/conguero Pedrito Martinez.

If those steps look familiar, you may have seen them before. Pedrito unleashed similar rumba moves at the Cat's Cradle three years ago, in a much more contemporary context--the urban melange of Latin styles known as Yerba Buena.

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