Friday, February 5, 2010

abre kuta güiri mambo...plena...jazz

Ned Sublette will make a stop on his multimedia publicity tour in Durham next week. Wednesday (2/10) at 7 pm at the Regulator, he will read from his new book, The Year Before the Flood: A New Orleans Story and perform songs from his new album, Kiss Me Down South. Ned is also the founder of the Institute for Postmambo Studies. (And yes, he will be selling T-shirts.)

Ned Sublette may be my favorite living author and public intellectual. His knowledge of Afro-Atlantic culture is so deep and so connected, and the way he expresses it so fluid and untroubled. Rare. His books on the musics of Cuba and New Orleans, and the historical contexts that shaped them, are both rich, great reads.

The confluence of his visit next week with Miguel Zenón's Esta Plena Septet will result in another meeting of the minds. Ned will give a FREE pre-concert talk, with Miguel and his collaborator Hector "Tito" Matos, on Thursday (2/11) at 6 pm.

It will be old home week for Ned, who produced Tito's 1998 album on Qbadisc with Viento De Agua. That band's latest, a fusion self-release called Fruta Madura, demonstrates how gloriously open and expansive the plena matrix can be.

Tito Matos is a leading practioner of plena, and MacArthur "genius" grant fellow Miguel Zenón built his latest album around him. The double Grammy-nominated Esta Plena is a milestone encounter between plena, a native rhythm of Puerto Rican folklore, and jazz. Zenón's saxophone drips lyricism, and he's joined by a well-attuned quartet that includes Venezuelan pianist Luis Perdomo, Austrian bassist Hans Glawischnig and drummer Henry Cole, who subtly matches the patterns of pandereta and güiro. Tito brings vocals and hand-drumming on board the septet, with the aid of Obanilú Allende and Los Pleneros de la 21 founder Juan Gutierrez.

Lucky us.

Read: Principles of Postmamboism
Book Review: The Year Before the Flood: A Story of New Orleans
Duke Performances: Miguel Zenón Concert Info

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