Sunday, January 30, 2011

GarDel at the Oasis: CD Release Party @ Motorco

Capacity crowd last night at Motorco for Orquesta GarDel's CD release party; David Garcia gave a nice introduction, and GarDel took no prisoners as they launced into the first track from their EP, "Para El Mundo Entero":

Orquesta GarDel

GarDel CD party

Two new songs on the EP, never before performed in public, came out last night. I danced during "Gracias Te Doy," a cha cha chá with great solos by Al Strong and Andy Kleindienst. Already lush, I expect that one will really open up over time. Nelson thanked his wife Cookie for the idea to dedicate the lyrics to his mother, who passed in 2010.

The other was originally penned as a song about bad relationships, but sonero Jaime Ramon didn't want to sing it that way. He rewrote the lyrics of "Esta Situacion" to be about one bad relationship we are all in right now--with the economy:

GarDel CD party

I feel blessed to have one lyric of this remarkable song, "Lo Que Tu Querias," dedicated to me, by sonero/lyricist Nelson Delgado:

It was quite a sight to see all those people dancing to timba in Durham, something that never would have happened 5 years ago. This tune started out with the provisional title "Eric's Timba," and in all honesty, it took awhile for the horns to really master Hirsh's heavy "metal" bamboleo. They punched it out last night pretty comfortably. It feels like it has been a long journey to this oasis, and an even longer road (of touring?) beckons.

NEXT GIG: Friday, Feb. 4 at The Speakeasy in Fayetteville

GarDel CD party


This was one of my favorite songs by opener Dark Water Rising:

They just won a "Nammy," the 2010 Native American Music Award, for "Debut Duo or Group of the year."

Dark Water Rising 1.29.11

Dark Water Rising 1.29.11

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Lincoln Center Jam @ Talulla's

Following their concert last night at UNC-Memorial Hall, members of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra turned up to jam last night at Talulla's, a regular Friday night jazz jam featuring Al Strong & Trio-tet.

Talullas Jam 1.28.11

I am rushing to get this up, since the show goes on tonight (JLCO again at Memorial Hall, and Orquesta GarDel at Motorco), but this was a descarga to remember. Among the JLCO visitors: Marcus Printup (trumpet), Vincent Gardner and Chris Crenshaw (trombones), and Ali Jackson (drums). Local musicians lined up to go shoulder to shoulder with their heroes. It was a very warm gathering and one rapt jazz fans and players beheld with a sense of wonder.

Talullas jam 1.28.11

Talullas jam session 1.28.11

Talulla's is so dark that my videos are hard to make out, but here's one the sums up the energy of the night. Chris Crenshaw, a master with the plunger who at one point played just his slide and a water glass, a la Jack Teagarden, opens the solos; local legend Brian Miller takes over on saxophone, followed by Richmond's elite James "Saxsmo" Gates. I believe that the core players at this point in the evening are Brevan Hampden, drumset, Paul Creel, bass, and Ernest Turner, piano:

Also present in the jam were trumpeters Angel Rodgers and Kadir Muhammad, saxophonists Andy Paolantonio and Aaron Hill, and trombonist Reggie Greenlee. That's a non-inclusive list. Many others were there just to bear witness. This video features Aaron as second soloist, and Marcus Printup who returns to Chapel Hill and Asheville for engagements in February:

talullas jam 1.28.11

Ernest Turner @ Talullas Jam 1.28.11

Later, Brevan moved to congas, making way for some fine drumming by Aaron Tucker, and to top off the night, JLCO's Ali Jackson. Brevan played a great, long conga solo (uncaptured on video), but I did grab a dark snippet of Brevan and Ali exchanging some percussion dialogue. Use your imagination for the visuals:

JLCO & local musicians at Tallullas

JLCO & local musicians at Tallullas

Monday, January 24, 2011

What You Wanted: GarDel's CD Release Party Looms (1/29)

Triangle salseros are abuzz about Orquesta GarDel's much anticipated CD release party this Saturday (1/29) at Motorco. Many contributed to the realization of the EP, Lo Que Tú Querías, via public donations at GarDel's Kickstarter site. So is it any wonder we feel invested?

Read my review of the album here, in this week's Indy.

According to Orquesta GarDel's website, the physical EP is for sale now for $6 at Bull City Records in Durham, and CD Alley in Chapel Hill. You can buy the digital album online here for only $4.

I'm not sure why Motorco booked an opening band--the place is going to be jammed with normally single-minded salseros, making unprecedented use of the spacious, polished dancefloor. That said, I'm kinda stoked to hear Dark Water Rising open, a band of young Lumbees singing and playing their own brand of Southern rock from Robeson County. I hope that the salsa world shows them some hospitality. What's great for both bands is it will bring a diverse audience together.

Sample Dark Water Rising on Reverbnation here.

Dark Water Rising

Facebook Event page: GarDel @ Motorco, w/ Dark Water Rising, Saturday (1/29)

Salsa 'Noke: Bio Ritmo @ Jefferson Center

On the coldest night of the year, I decided to jump on the road to Roanoke to warm myself at the Jefferson Center's annual Latin dance party, with headliner Bio Ritmo. The tradition has been so successful, the Center's programmer told me, that we should expect a few repeats of this event throughout the year. Additional beats (and a dance or two) were provided by Greensboro's DJ Diego, and dance promoter Salsa Noke cosponsored.

Bio Ritmo @ Jefferson Center

This was Bio Ritmo's first public performance with long-time bongocero Mike Montañez in the timbales position. Horn player Mark Ingraham was also getting his sea legs on backing vocals. Both were filling in for long-time timbalero Giustino Riccio, who is devoting some time to other projects at the moment. Mark plays a coronet, which he was telling me is heavier and more compact than a trumpet because it is actually a closer relative of the French horn.

Rei, Mike, Coco, Eddie

Bringing power to the congas was Hector "Coco" Barez, whom I first met in Virginia Beach last July 4. Coco resides in Metro D.C., and had just flown in that morning from the Dominican Republic, where he toured with his main gig, hiphop duo Calle 13.

Toby hits low D
Toby hits low D.

Bio Ritmo @ Jefferson Center

It was a juicy night, as evidenced by this languorously undulating version of "Tu No Sabes," from the Jon Fausty-engineered EP Salsa System (2005). I was an excited witness the first time a raw version of this tune was heard in public, in March 2004 (and wrote about it here). It's an epicurean pleasure to be around as songs ripen and mature over time, like organic entities. JC Kuhl solos on tenor saxophone:

On the final tune of the evening, I snatched this video (below) of Mike and Coco battling it out in a percussion duel. The tune is an interesting one, "Locutor," stemming from Bio Ritmo's first full-length CD, Que Siga La Musica (1996). A regular part of their live show, the arrangement has morphed harmonically over the years, and also lends its name to the band's own Locutor record label.

Bio Ritmo @ Jefferson Center 1.22.11

Bio Ritmo @ Jefferson Center

Friday, January 14, 2011

James Gates Trio @ Beyu Caffe

Durham is a great place to hear music these days, with a proliferation of new venues in and around downtown. Beyu Caffe has become a regular beacon for good jazz, and last night featured a jam session with the trio of saxophonist James Gates.

James Gates trio @ Beyu Caffe

Richmond native James "Saxsmo" Gates attended Berklee undergrad back in the 80s, and was lured to Durham a year and half ago to attend NCCU's Masters program in Jazz Studies. Ernest Turner, who got his jazz degree at the University of New Orleans, played organ. I'm told the drummer filling in was Devon Fuller, but I have to confirm that. Meanwhile, two of our top horn players 'bilingual' in Latin and jazz idioms came out to the jam: Blu Thompson and Al Strong.

James Gates trio @ Beyu Caffe

It was good to be stepping out again in the Bull City, after a pattern of frantic travel alternating with cozy hibernation over the winter holidays. Here are some videos from the night:

BONUS: Watch the first 10 minutes of "Night and Day," with solos by Saxsmo, Blu, Al, and Ernest--CLICK HERE FOR LINK to PT. 1

James Gates trio @ Beyu Caffe