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Calixto Oviedo: New York, NY. July 9, 2013

Ernest Barteldes By

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Calixto Oviedo, "Calixto's Way"
New Dimensions of Latin Jazz: Cuban Drum Series
Jazz Standard
New York, NY

July 9, 2013

Master drummer Calixto Oviedo's quintet—pianist Carlos Averhoff, Jr., electric bassist Nestor Del Prado, percussionist Mauricio Herrera and tenor saxophonist Gustavo Ramirez—set off its early set at New York's Jazz Standard with a contemporary, American jazz-influenced groove that moved, half-way, into Afro-Cuban territory, allowing for Averhoff, Jr. and Ramirez to explore the melody with free improvisation. A very syncopated piece followed, concentrating on an intro mostly revolving around electric bass and saxophone that had a strong northeastern Brazilian influence, which allowed both the bandleader and Herrera to stretch and add interesting accents between the beats.

After a brief introduction, the combo carried on with a slower, rumba-based groove that mostly showcased Averhoff, Jr. and the talents of both Oviedo and Herrera. The tune also featured an accomplished bass solo played against Oviedo's beat. The group then followed with a very up-tempo Afro-Cuban theme that led to a flurry of notes from Ramirez—the speed sounded very technically challenging, but in these musicians hands it just seemed to flow effortlessly. It was a high-energy tune, but the group just sounded more and more energetic as it progressed, climaxing with a drum and percussion duet.

The musicians walked off the stage and, after the audience chanted "mas una" (one more), Oviedo returned to the stage and began a samba groove on his own. The remaining members joined him one by one, and went into a tune that seemed inspired by the work of contemporary Brazilian composer Egberto Gismonti, filled with complicated notes among a captivating, shoe-tapping beat. After the set, he admitted that he was looking for a "Brazilian feel" on that last one.

Calixto Oviedo is a gifted musician who keeps an open ear for different sounds. Though his native country's beats are very present in his music, he has various influences that are not limited by the Caribbean island, resulting in a very enjoyable musical experience.

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