Monday, February 8, 2010

Jazz On The Rock

It’s not every day a Grammy award-winning musical act visits Bermuda. Sure, Mary J. Blige performed last summer and superstar turned Haitian relief king Wyclef Jean dropped by for the Bermuda Music Festival in October (along with special guests Michael McDonald, Kenny Rogers, Patti Austin and James Ingram who teamed up for a rendition of We Are The World). But it’s not like it happens all the time, so when it does, I make sure to line up for tickets. Two weeks ago I told you about a performance by the Soweto Gospel Choir, a soulful troupe that brilliantly kicked off this year’s Bermuda Festival of Performing Arts. Fortunately for us islanders the culture fest continued over the weekend with a rousing performance by Arturo O’Farrill and his 17-piece Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra. Son of famed composer and trumpeter Chico O’Farrill, Arturo created the ensemble in 2002 along with legendary jazz musician Wynton Marsalis and the support of Manhattan’s Jazz at Lincoln Center. Together they’ve since won the 2009 Grammy for Best Latin Jazz Album of the Year for “Song for Chico,” including sultry tunes like Caravan and Such Love, both of which the band played with aplomb on Saturday night. (Wanna hear what they sound like? Go here). It was a barn-burner of a performance filled with fast-paced Latin percussion, thick brassy horns and grand piano solos from Arturo himself. Best of all a local musician even got in on the action: When the plane of one of the band’s trombonists couldn’t land in Bermuda due to wind, Arturo sought out his temporary replacement by tapping an island resident to fill in. His name was Graham and he totally rocked it, even being selected by the bandleader to be the featured soloist during the orchestra’s finale. Three cheers to you Arturo and of course, to the band, which is officially welcome back to Bermuda anytime. You come back real soon, ya hear? I'll be the first guy in line.

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