Working long days in the studio,
I missed the jazz festival entirely. But I still went out to the
clubs after the sessions. Como no? Bamboleo was at Casa De La Musica
and Lázaro Valdés invited me to sit in. Let me tell
you, that was a rush you cant believe. What a powerful rhythm
section that is! It made me wish I had planned some tunes to record
with them. But maybe I can do that on the next album. Imagine the
possibilities for song titles: Mamboleo Bamborama.
I was going out every night after
recording, and the guys would ask me when I had gone to bed. One
night, I got all of one hours sleep from seven until eight
in the morning, and then it was time for the studio. I told the
guys, I can sleep in the States.
One of the Jazz festival activities
I managed to catch was Bobby Sanabrias show at La Zorra Y
El Cuervo. Bobby and I knew each other only through correspondence
on the Latin Jazz email list, and it was nice to meet him in person.
I sat in, along with a dynamite young drummer who was all of about
seventeen years old. I got to talking to him, and asked him who
his favorite drummers were. When he mentioned Riverón, I
invited him to the studio to watch Riverón in action. He
came down, and Riverón, great guy that he is, took him under
his wing and gave him lessons right there while we were setting
up. After we finished cutting the tracks, he and this kid jammed
together the whole time the rest of us were eating lunch.
Now I had the tunes with Trabuco
in the can, and the only thing left was the tune I wanted to do
with the guys from Klimax. The only problem was, I hadnt had
time to finish writing out the horn parts. I had brought my laptop
with me, planning to finish the chart there, but I hadnt done
it yet, and there was no way I was going to have time to do it.
I asked Marcos if he would help me. He said sure, and came over
to my casa where I set him up with the keyboard, the laptop and
the demo of the song. The chart was only partly done, the form of
the song was there, but not the horn parts, which were on the demo.
Marcos asked me if it was all right if he changed a few things.
I said, please! Do whatever you want with it! I got a lesson in
arranging that day. Actually, it was the next day, because I didnt
hear what he had done until we recorded it.
While Marcos was in my casa working
on the chart, Hector, Michel and I were running around setting up
for a party I gave for the musicians. This was my last week, and
the best night to have a party for musicians in Havana is Monday,
when most all of them dont have gigs. My landlady kindly allowed
us to use her courtyard for the party, which was also going to be
a descarga, or jam session, if you dont know the term. Manolito
again came to the rescue and allowed us to use part of his sound
system to power the music. So in this quiet residential street in
Vedado, we had a killer sound system, two keyboards, congas and
timbales, and plenty of mics for singers and horns.
Ill bet my landladys
neighbors are still talking about that night. Manolito was there,
El Indio, David (who showed up without his flute! I made him go
back home and get it), Piloto, Marcos, Yusef Díaz (keyboards
for Klimax), Osiris (keyboard player for Pupys band, formerly
with Trabuco), singers from Klimax, Pepito Gómez from Pupys
group, you name it. Riverón was a no-show, but there was
this fifteen year old kid who played timbales and did a great job.
Pescado, the violinist of Trabuco played, as did Armando Gola, bass
player for Gonzalo Rubalcaba. We had some killer músicos
on hand, that much was certain.
I tried to get Piloto to play timbales,
but he just smiled and declined, saying that he didnt play
timbales, he plays drums. But after awhile, he grabbed a mic and
started doing some incredible scat singing. And before the night
was over, he took a turn at the timbales, and blew everyone away
with an amazing solo.
I just took a couple of turns playing.
I wanted to hear these guys play. There were a lot of keyboard players
there, and just two keyboards. While Osiris was playing piano, Manolito
took over on bass, and El Indio started playing timbales! And both
of them were good! Apparently, Manolito is a decent drummer, too.
And he plays trés, if that wasnt enough.
We wound up playing far longer than
the 11:30 pm curfew for a residential neighborhood, but no one complained.
I helped Hector and Michel pack up the sound system, and we went
down the street for a final beer for the evening.
| next: Klimax
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