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Tuesday, May 7, 2002

Today was the one day where nothing worked out and nothing was happening. At least I was able to ditch the quasimodo eye patch in the morning.

I headed over to Egrem in the morning to meet up with Pupy, but I should have called first. The guy who had told me that Pupy was going to be mixing was misinformed. No mixing, no Pupy. He had left for some other country for the rest of the week—the lady at the desk didn't know where. Mexico, Venezuela, who knows. Oh well, next time.

Leonel had scheduled a meeting with someone he knew from the Ministry of Culture. He said that this woman could arrange an invitation for Mamborama to play the Jazz Festival in Habana. I waited at his house for an hour, and when he showed up, the empresa from the Ministry was not with him. She couldn't come today, Leonel explained. Ay, Cuba.

Manolito had invited me over to his place at three, bit when I showed up there, he was gone, whereabouts unknown. I headed back to my room. The day was turning out to be a total bust, and I was still running on about sixty percent of normal energy, due to the head cold. I tried to track down Chucho to see if he knew of any shows going on that night, but he was at large, too. Over the weekend, I had had way too many shows to choose from, but tonight nothing was going on. Every club I called was dark on this Tuesday Night. The one good thing was a call from my friend and piano teacher Marcos Greco, the piano player of Klimax. He asked if I wanted to come to a Klimax rehearsal tomorrow. You bet. He said he'd pick me up around ten in the morning.

I decided to give the Jazz Cafe across from the Cohiba Hotel a try, even though I still was feeling lousy. I couldn't let the whole day go by without music, could I? On the phone, I was assured that the music started at 11. Yeah, sure. At 11, there were no musicians in sight, but the stage was crammed with drums of every kind, from traps to batá. This could either be good, or extremely bad. It turned out to be the latter. I don't remember the name of the group, and I wouldn't publicly embarrass them here even if I did, but their concept was not to my liking. Lots and lots of people have attempted to fuse traditional Yoruba and Rumba rhythms with jazz, and like any fusion, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

Imagine putting Yoruba batá grooves in a blender with instrumental mixes of KC and the Sunshine Band, and you have a fairly good idea of what this band was doing. After two songs, I drank up and headed home. My notes for the day are a single word: "Nada."

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