Charlie Hunter, Marc Ribot, Eddie Palmieri / Brian Lynch, Dafnis Prieto, Billy Martin, Randy Sandke, Billy Bang, Bennie Maupin and Arturo Sandoval
April 27, 2008
What a contrast, later that same night! It's the final set in Cuban trumpeter Arturo Sandoval's Birdland six- night residency, and his current band is still in thrall to the bombast of a barely Latinized beat. It's many years since I last caught him in action, and the old Cuban trappings have receded even further into the keyboard dominated funk miasma. Sandoval still tears out repeated high-note solos at an impressive rate, but his band struts on the clumsy side of the street, wrestling the ears to the ground with a heavy neck- lock. The leader seems curiously ungrateful, managing to insult the crowd by telling them that they're the closest to Deadsville that he's heard all week, and that next time he's gonna miss out the Sunday slot completely. Sandoval doesn't look like he's joking. He's breaking the prime rule of live performance: never dismiss an audience for being subdued. He should be flattered that they've come out to see him in the first place. This kind of displeased attitude (seemingly held by Sandoval) tends to leave a bitter aftertaste, catching in the craw...