Argentina has long been know for its national dance…the Tango. To see it performed by some of its most famous instrutors such as Facundo and Ching-Ping Posadas and Nadia Funes’ is a beautiful sight to behold.But believe it or not the Argentine’s affinity for jazz is unlike one would expect.There are a sprinkle of venues around town hosting jazz on their nightly card. Mostly, they all are locals, who by the way have a great talent and feel for the original American artform. In other words…”the cats can jam and the ladies got pipes”. ie: the musicians are very talented and the women have a flair plus can really carry a tune with feeling.
Sebastian Palacios and Facundo Pereyra are the major promoters who despite the ever changing local economy (based on the Argentine Peso), seem to attract sponsors to team with and bring high class American talent. Those who regarded as “The Architects of Jazz”, the grand gentlemen still around who can take you from 0 to 100mph/ kilometers in a blink of an eye…the simplist tune with a beautiful melody that turns into a foot tapping, bum shaking, in the seat experience.
One of those Grand Jazz Masters kicked off the Winter season in November 2018, 2004 NEA Jazz Master Pianist from the Windy City “Chi-town” Chicago,IL Herbie Hancock played to a jam packed crowd in Luna Park.
The 2019 season seems to have another awsome season on tap with Kenny Barron and Ron Carter on the same bill May 17th.
Performance night May 17th… Buenos Aires, Argentina
Last night at the Thetro Colesio that very “bum shaking in the seat” experience was realized at two nearly sold out sessions featuring the 2010 NEA Jazz Master pianist/composer/educator from Philadelphia, PA Kenny Barron with his trio in the 8pm set. Unfortunately having missed most of this show, I must say witnessing the last 15minutes the crowd on hand was thoroughly pleased.
Kenny Barron Trio
The second featured Grand Master of the Bass 1998 NEA inductee from Ferndale, MI Ron Carter aptly assisted on piano by Donald Vaga with Russell Malone on guitar.
This set was most interesting …Maestro Ron stated he was dedicating this show to a few of his dearly departed buddies. Thus, the “Having Left the Concert” set began. This segment offered up beautifully constructed melodic twists and turns that tantilized a sold out house who at what seemingly was the end requested an encore via a three minute standing ovation.
First tune called from the play sheet was “Cedar Tree” written by Russell Malone as his dedication to the late great 2010 Jazz Master pianist from Dallas,Tx Cedar Walton. Next, Ron called on the “Passionada” sounds from Brazil, the evoking and popular “Opus 5” penned by his boss’s friend master of the bossa nova sound songbook of Antonio Carlos Jobim.
Here jazz fans had their first chance to experience the brilliant keyboard work of Donald Vega. He has a touch reminiscent of a combination for Mulgrew Miller and Dr. Billy Taylor. Soft and velvety with a hint of a complex melodic syncopation. His chord structure is rich during Opus 5. It’s easy to see why the Maestro chose him to complete this trio.
As I realized in 2008 at the Tokyo Jazz Festival, I was among an enthusiastically live group of jazz lovers. But this night in Argentina it including Associate Producer Nadia Funes. She is responsible for the South America (Buenos Aires, Argentina) wing of Jaris Reed Group. She was inspired as this was her first experience witnessing the greatest of the “Great AMERICAN Art form” the wonderful world of Jazz.
The crowd feasted on every passage of every piece presented tonight. Even Ron stated “I am quite surprised at this group, you are loving this and thank you so much”.
Part ll will showcase this performance in our featured segment next week …
Part ll Ron Carter Trio
Theatro Coliseo Buenos Aires, Argentina
After transporting the audience from the Brazilian theme of Sr. Jobim, the cool sounds of “Autum Breeze” came over the the auditorium.
After 50 plus years in the business, Ron has performed with so many artists he’s earned the distinction of being the most requested Bassist in the business. One of them was 2004 NEA Jazz Master guitarist from Buffalo, NY Jim Hall. “Candle Light” was Ron’s tribute to his buddy. On Russell’s solo you could close your eyes and imagine Jim fingers running the neck of the guitar. Georgia born native Sr. Malone, besides his virtuosity as an excellent guitarist with a string of albums to show for it, also has a movie performance (Billy Strayhorn: Lush Life) under his belt.
When one hears the name Ron Carter naturally your mind goes back to the Miles days right? So, how can you think tonight’s set could not include something by “my employer” as he affectionately referred to him. The next tune “My Funny Valentine” Ron recorded a different version on February 12, 1964 with the 1984 NEA Jazz Master trumpet legend from Alton, IL the great Miles Dewey Davis.
During one of his runs, Ron seemed to have morsels of the spirit of John Coltrane’s “Love Supreme” morph his fingers. This rendition tonight now sits at the top of my list of all time favorite interpretations of a “Milesterpiece”.TM (A Miles Masterpiece)
The musical firm of Carter, Vega & Malone were exceptionally exciting to behold. Their technique and execution along with flawless, communication was precise. Once a solo came each man was in awe of what he just witnessed. At times during Russell’s run on his solos Ron turned to Donald while pointing to Russell with a pleasurable smile. And vice versa with Donald’s solos.
Next up on the nights song sheet was the familiar theme song from Director Marcel Camus’ 1958 Classic movie “Black Orpheus”
Tonight’s enchanting version penned by Antonio Carlos Jobim and Luis Bonfa was reminiscent of carnival in Brazil not only from the movie but even today’s version. It is a timeless tune and obviously brought happiness to the crowd. Ron glowingly complemented the crowd on how he appreciated their enthusiastic response after its completion.
The final piece of the set “Soft Winds” was a far reaching version from the original works of Cuthbert, GA born Arranger, Bandleader James Fletcher Hamilton Henderson aka Fletcher Henderson (Smack). Featuring again mastery finger work from Russell Malone.
When it looked like all was finished for the evening the crowd showed their love…
Crowd at Theatro Coliseo
So, the trio huddled and when they broke the play was called “There Never Will Be Another You” was the encore finale
Although I missed most of the first set of the great Kenny Barron the second was a true treat considering the last time I witnessed his wonders was with Stefon Harris on vibes and Montez Coleman on drums at Jazz At the Bistro in midtown St. Louis, MO.
The Ron Carter trio was a superb experience and joy to share with the Argentinian jazz family.
If these show are any indication of what Argentina fans are getting in high doses, get your ticket and get ready for John Schofield June 7. Same place 9pm. Come on down and see how Argentina Jams.
Stay tuned because Jaris is:
“Backstage: Jazzin In Argentina”
Reed, Russell Malone and Donald Vega backstage with Nadia Funes – Associate Producer Jaris Reed Group/Buenos Aires
J. Reed Ingram – Executive Producer Jaris Reed Group backstage with “Maestro” Ron Carter
This is the first installment from an upcoming series produced by Jaris Reed Group on the Jazz scene in Buenos Aires.
Written by J.R. Ingram