Monday, December 14, 2009

Papaya Party Highlights

Some new video of Orquesta GarDel from the tremendously successful Papaya party Saturday night, where musicians and dancers were happy all around. Everybody who should have been there was there, I think, a historic gathering of all the salsa and mambo crowds, old and new school.

The brass section sounded crisper with the use of new in-ear monitors, and this tune showcases los metales, going down the line in a series of short solo blasts, which start at the 2:40 min mark:

Passing solos down the line, from right to left: Alberto Carrasquillo (trumpet), Andy Kleindienst (trombone), Tim Smith (alto sax), Blu Thompson (bari sax), back around to Al Strong (trumpet), and down the line again to Blu, merry musical prankster, who ends the tear with an allusion to a familiar holiday tune.

NCCU music faculty Al Strong brought his flugelhorn along, for a change of pace, and deftly substituted it for one of the softer solos in another tune. A few friends dropped in to help celebrate Nelson Delgado's birthday, including Ramon "Chino" Casiano, leader of Sajaso, who took the lead on one tune.

Al Strong, flugelhorn

Click on small photos to see larger

GarDel in action

Ramon "Chino" Casiano, guest vocal

Charanga Carolina opened and sounded great; I'm cheered to hear the sangre nueva, aka several of the group's newest student members, telling me how much they love playing in the group, and plan to do so for the rest of their UNC careers. This is exactly what I (we) want to hear! This is the idea behind this cutting-edge Latin music education; recruiting talent into the fold and training up the next generation. I danced a lot, consequently didn't stand around much taking new photos or videos, but this group sounded great and is growing stronger. Their songbook has increased a lot more than I had expected, from the timba they were doing, to salsa dura, and late 70s Fania with creamy string arrangements. Talking with director David Garcia, I'm confident we're going to hear great things to come in the spring semester.

As GarDel played their first notes, Eric Hirsh's distinctive keyboard sound really hit me, in the best way. Here we are near the end of the night, as I was able to catch this solo, and the general good vibe of Papaya:

It was a historic pairing of bands, and as noted, GarDel has its roots in Charanga, and shared most of the same rhythm section and vocalists night. The neat thing about this joint concert was the chance to hear both bands, sounding great, and to appreciate their uniqueness and their differences. It also shows that, great live music in the right atmosphere at an accessible price really brings our salsa community together. This rarely seems possible anymore; thanks to David Garcia and to both bands for showing that it is.

xmas candids
click on photo to see more at my flickr page

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