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Brilliance and the Spirits at Global Cuba Fest

Photo: Brilliance and the Spirits at Global Cuba Fest
Written by: Fernando Gonzalez
Article Rating

Drummer Dafnis Prieto and pianist Omar Sosa closed this year’s Global Cuba Fest at the Light Box in Wynwood, Miami, with shows on Friday and Saturday, March 16-17 that suggested a sort of musical yin and yang. For an annual festival that celebrates the music of Cuba and its diaspora, the weekend was a perfectly tuned statement — artistically ambitious, global in its vision and brilliantly executed.

Prieto’s concert, featuring his strong sextet comprising Roman Filiu and Peter Apfelbaum, saxophones; Mike Rodriguez, trumpet; Manuel Valera, piano, and Ricky Rodriguez, bass, was a dazzling, if at times overwhelming, affair.

Prieto’s brief solo interlude, in which he played claves as he vocalized different rhythmic patterns, was a marvel of design, both minimal and rich.

That was also a welcome respite. If there might be an objection to the sextet’s performance Friday, is that, while there were smart change-of-pace moments such as Apfelbaum’s melodica feature, the music would’ve benefited from more open spaces and greater dynamics. This was a no-nonsense, all-out effort with stunning moments. But if it’s relentless, in time, even brilliance brings diminishing returns.

Omar Sosa, on piano, keyboards, and electronics; kora player and singer Seckou Keita and percussionist Gustavo Ovalles, Sosa’s longtime collaborator, set a completely different tone on Saturday.

Whatever the setting in which he’s appearing, whatever the group he’s performing with, Sosa begins his concerts like a ceremony — and goes from there. The gesture sets a tone, suggesting that the music will be about sound and mysteries, not technical displays. He’s not there to impress you. He’s a celebrant, calling on the spirits and if you are patient, and luck is with us, you might get to hear something special.

Sosa, Seckou, and Ovalles created an immersive experience that spilled out of the stage area, bringing the audience into a place without musical borders, a place in which African grooves could become Cuban montunos, an Argentine chacarera or a Venezuelan merengue.
On Saturday, the spirits did join the proceedings and it was a feast.

Global Cuba Fest was presented by Fundarte and Miami Light Project.

For the full review, please go to: https://jazzwithanaccent.com/2018/03/21/brilliance-and-the-spirits/

 


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About The writer

Music writer, associate editor of the Latin GRAMMY Print & Special Projects for The Latin Recording Academy

Emmy-winner and GRAMMY®-nominated writer, critic, and editor Fernando González is the associate editor of The Latin GRAMMY Print & ..

About the Writer

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