day of changed plans. Originally, I was going to have a session
with the Pianista of Estrellas Cubanas, Eduardo Cana Olivia. He
wanted to learn some jazz voicings, and I wanted to steal some of
his killer tumbaos. I showed up at Leonel Costa's house and found
out that Don Eduardo had to be at a rehearsal of the Estrellas,
so we went over there.
The group was sounding much better at the rehearsal
than they had at the Tropical the other night. Much more energy.
Maybe it's because Rene doesn't allow any drinking at the rehearsal.
When Leonel and I got thirsty (it doesn't take very long in La Habana),
we went around the corner to buy some beer and cool off. I told
Leonel about the recording session I was going to that night and
that tomorrow night Pupy was playing the Casa De La Musica. He got
sort of a sad faraway look in his eyes when I asked him if he was
going to go. "No money," he said. I fished a ten out of
my pocket and told him he should goafter all, Pupy has the
best new group in Habana. He said, "you know, I'm not asking
for this." I told him no problem. Leonel is a good cat, just
a fellow musician, definitely not a jinetero, and I was glad
to give him the bread for the show.
Back at the rehearsal, I stood behind Eduardo
and studied what he was playing. He appears to be in his seventies,
and has the whole history of Son and Danzón at
his fingertips. A very elegant player. After awhile, Rene invited
me to play with the group, and that was a complete kick. Eduardo
started off the classic La Negra Tomasa, and then I sat down
and played a solo and attempted the tumbao I had seen Eduardo play.
What fun to play with guys like these.
Later in the afternoon, I went around Vedado to
cancel out the previous engagements I had set up. I stopped at Chucho
"El Capitalista's" house and explained to his mother to
tell him that I wouldn't be at the Habana Cafe for Issac Delgado's
show that night. Chucho had reserved a table and bribed the appropriate
people so that if I paid Chucho the entrance fee, I would not only
get in, but be at a table of six along with two bottles of rum,
cervezas, etc. All that, and who knows how much of the $25 would
go into Chucho's pocket. A true wheeler-dealer.
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