LIVE: The Afro Cuban Jazz Saxtet @ the Madison Theater, 5/14/16
Review and photographs by Rudy Lu
The 2016 Jazz Concert Series at Albany’s Madison Theater wrapped up with the recent performance of curator Onel Mulet’s Afro Cuban Jazz Saxtet. The unusual instrumentation of the band certainly made for some interesting voicings on the compositions that were played.
The band was comprised of:
* Four saxophone players, Onel Mulet on soprano; Jay Rodriguez on alto; Stanton Kendrick on tenor; and Jason Marshall on baritone
* Three percussionists on small, medium and large batas – Mike Ramsey, Tony DeVivo and Rafael Monteagudo, who doubled on gourd, congas and trap drums respectively.
The music played reflected both Cuban music and American jazz. Works from 19th century composer Jose White to the influential multi-talented Chano Pozo (best known for collaborations with Dizzy Gillespie) showcased the Cuban side of the music. Meanwhile, jazz was represented by compositions from Freddie Hubbard, Thelonious Monk and Horace Silver. The percussionists explored the Nigerian Yoruba rhythms from the Motherland that evolved and influenced the Santeria rhythms of Cuba and the second line rhythms from New Orleans, all coming from the African diaspora.
In spite of a slow start caused by a delayed sound check and technical difficulties, the unusual voicings of the saxophone quartet and the battery of percussionists presented some mighty interesting listening, And an opportunity to dance to the rhythms of this intoxicating band, too…
More of Rudy Lu’s photographs of this concert at RudyLuPhotos.com
Joe Major’s review at AlbanyJazz.com