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Live From New York

September 2005

By Published: September 3, 2005
Legendary Cuban bassist Israel "Cachao Lopez reemerged from retirement leading an allstar ensemble for four nights of compelling Latin rhythms at the Blue Note. Cachao began the second set opening night (Aug. 11th) bowing a breathtaking introduction, pausing momentarily to ponder his notes before resuming with a smile, then stopping again to count off the tempo and bring in the rhythm section - pianist Alfredo Valdes, Jr., conguero Richie Flores and timbalero Jimmy Delgado, with vocalists Anthony Columbie and Daniel Palacio on claves and guiro - for his well known "Descarga Cubana . With the entrance of violinist Fedirico Brito, trombonist Jimmy Bosch, trumpeter Kiwzo Fumero and saxophonist Rafael Palau, the cheering audience knew they were in for a classic Cuban jam session. During his electrifying solo, the bassist drummed on his instrument, prompting Flores to feign leaving the stage. On the second number, "Adoracion , Cachao used his bow to tap clave on the bass bridge, after which Flores carried his conga over to join him for an extraordinary duet. The audience was asked to participate on the original "Why , singing the coro "Why, Why Not? . "Mi Lindo Yambu began with a trumpet fanfare and featured the traditional coro "Ave Maria Morena with Fumero blowing strains from "The Peanut Vendor in the background. The set ended with a "Descarga Cachao featuring the bassist with Flores and Delgado's timbales.

Trombonist Slide Hampton played a rare New York engagement at the Village Vanguard, celebrating his new CD, Slide Plays Jobim. Hampton started the second set (Aug. 17th) with a stirring arrangement of "Desafinado , beginning by blowing long warm tones all alone, before tenor saxophonist Andres Boiarsky, pianist Helio Alves, bass guitarist John Lee and drummer Duduka Da Fonseca entered swinging. Hampton and Boiarsky alternated phrases for their first chorus and harmonized the melody on the second, after which the leader soloed with precise articulation and harmonic daring. Lee and Alves also soloed with aplomb, driven by Da Fonseca.

The quintet continued with a brisk reading of "Once I Loved , following which the leader invited vocalist Maucha Adnet to the stage. Adnet opened with "Voce Vai Ver , slow scatting the introduction, then singing the Portuguese lyric. Trombone and tenor opened "Imutil Palsagem (Useless Landscape) unaccompanied and then Hampton played with the trio before being joined by Adnet and Boiarsky on the melody. The singer alternated English and Portuguese lyrics and in a surprising twist the band interpolated the changes of "Shaw Nuff on the out chorus. The group did "One Note Samba up-tempo, followed by Dori Caymi's beautiful ballad "O Cantador , the set's one number not by Jobim. The evening ended, as expected, with "The Girl From Ipanema .

~ Russ Musto

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