Monday, September 13, 2010
SAlsa JAzz SOul
SAJASO @ Yancy's Friday night: Lou Ramos, Billy Marrero, Pako Santiago, and Rick Radian back vocalist/leader Chino Casiano
Ramon Casiano, better known as Chino, has been making his brand of Latin jazz in the Triangle for several decades. A hardscrabble New Jersey native, Chino can reminisce about growing up around Frankie Ruiz, Herman Olivera and others who rose to prominence in that scene. Chino has a soulful authenticity as a singer of English-language standards such as "Autumn Leaves," one of the snappiest arrangements in Sajaso's book. Boricua to the core, he takes a high energy Cuban son, "El Cuarto de Tula," and playfully weaves it together with bombiplena lyrics and rhythms. "Elena, Elena," meet "Tula": a fitting meetingplace for two of the most storied women in Antillean verse.
On this gig were Andy Kleindienst on electric bass, Frank Vila on grand piano, a tricolor brass trio of Ricardo James (trumpet), Serena Wiley (tenor saxophone) and Joshua Vincent (trombone), and a seasoned array of percussionists who rotated positions, making for a collegial atmosphere: Pako Santiago, Billy Marrero, Rick Radian and guest Lou Ramos. Ramos, a sometime visitor from the Bronx, has family in the Triangle; his daughter directs church music and runs a music school in Raleigh.
Yancy's is a jazz venue on the outskirts of Raleigh, with a small dance floor; most of the beers were reasonably priced domestics (I had a $3 Yuengling draft). The barbecue wings got rave reviews from Serena, who was dipping between sets.
You wouldn't think we'd need another video of "Oye Como Va." But as a descarga tune, it's a perfect opportunity for soloists to shine. Here, Andy Kleindienst gets funky on an unstoppable bass solo; Billy Marrero comes in on timbales around the 4 min mark:
The Tite Curet classic "La Esencia de Guaguanco" is an easygoing salsa tune in Sajaso's hands, but again the soloists paint some magic in the corners. First the percussionists converse, with Pako Santiago on bongos, Billy on timbal, and Rick on congas. Then Ricardo James shows what he can do with an extended trumpet solo:
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