I was glad to see so many people having a good time at George's Garage last Saturday. The dance floor was packed with mambo dancers busting moves.
Orquesta GarDel played, and have added another Eddie Palmieri chart to their book. "Nunca Contigo" from the Sun of Latin Music. They still play "Nada de Ti," and ended the night with "Adoración." Ray Barretto's "Al ver sus campos" still plays nicely.
The sound wasn't as pleasingly balanced as the August show, when GarDel pianist Eric Hirsh brought his own mixer and Latin musician Jerry Leon was the soundman. I am not a technician so I don't want to harsh on anybody's efforts this time around. The difficulties in mixing and amplifying salsa bands are well known. But for the record, I thought the NC Salsa Fest in August had some of the best sound I've heard at a Latin show in NC.
Nataki and I were discussing future repertoire we'd like to hear from GarDel, and Nataki suggested that songs by one of her favorite soneros, Victor Manuelle, might really suit the timbre of Nelson Delgado's voice. I can hear it.
Another direction to go, and my suggestion, would be to reach beyond the well-known albums of well-known artists, and begin to find some more out-of-the-way artists and gems to cover. This is not only a process of self-discovery, but conveys different messages to the savvy audience and casual listener alike. Now that you've established that you can do the Fania thing, I want to know, what else can you do? The Eddie Palmieri Monster Groove is seductive and undeniable, but be mindful of the fact that every salsa band from here to eternity wants to sound like Eddie Palmieri. There comes a time when one should set oneself apart from every other salsa band, and continue to calibrate your sound via your repertoire.
The Cobo Brothers Dance Company did a short mambo performance in between sets. The Cobo's student team led, followed by a few out of town guests. The Cobo's semi-pro team, 3 synchronized pairs, were looking really good, in my non-pro opinion, to cap off the show. (No pictures, sorry, it was hard to get a clear shot through the huddled crowd of onlookers. If anyone out there has good ones we can post, I will be happy to give you photographer credit and appropriate links.)
All photos courtesy of Nataki Kambon - you can see many more by joining her Salsa, Merengue and Bachata Meetup.