What Have We Done So Far


How about The Great Latin American Songbook? (JazzTimes column)

As singer Claudia Acuña launched into her first song at her concert at Festival Miami at the University of Miami, in Coral Gables, FL, a few weeks ago, her group´s swing, her own ease at coiling and releasing the melody, even her body language, all said jazz. But the words were in Spanish, and the song, “Gracias a la Vida” by Chilean singer-songwriter Violeta Parra, was no jazz standard but a modern classic of Latin American folk music.

To those familiar with the original song, the juxtaposition brought smiles and a few  “Can you do that to that song?” looks. To those who weren’t, this was simply jazz with an accent.


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Guillermo Klein, Latin American Folklore and the Nuevo Jazz Latino (JazzTimes)

On a cold late winter afternoon, sitting at a table in an enclosed patio in his Buenos Aires home, Argentine pianist, composer, and bandleader Guillermo Klein takes another drag of his cigarette as he considers a question from his visitor. In his responses, like in his music, there seem to be no rote formulas, no practiced licks, no stunt runs. As in his music, he seems to take each opportunity to start from scratch, consider his options and compose his answers as much for himself as for whoever is listening.


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Chucho Valdés, A Cuban Story (JazzTimes)

It’s tempting to hear Chucho’s Steps, the most recent album by Cuban pianist, composer, and bandleader Jesus “Chucho” Valdés, like a memoir of sorts.
After all, Valdés turned 69 on October and the image on the cover, not to read too much into it, shows him approaching a crossroads.
His group, his working quartet augmented here with a sax, a trumpet, and percussion, evokes the sound and brings back some of the material, of Irakere, the extraordinary Grammy-winning Afro-Cuban jazz-rock group Valdés founded in 1972. The music brims with energy and virtuosity as it elaborates on some of Valdés’ familiar musical interests. [...]

It all suggests an artist looking back and taking stock.

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Chico & Rita ... & Bebo Valdés (JazzTimes)

Chico & Rita, the Oscar-nominated animated film by the Spanish team comprising Academy winner director Fernando Trueba, illustrator Javier Mariscal, and director Tono Errando, is being released in a Limited Edition Collector’s Set including Blu-ray and DVD discs, an audio CD, and a 16-page excerpt from the graphic novel based on the film. (A DVD single is also available.)
Likened by Trueba to a bolero on film, Chico & Rita is, on the surface, a standard boy-meets-girl, boy-loses girl, will boy get-girl-back? movie. [...]

But the real subject of Chico & Rita is the music.

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