Monday, August 16, 2010

Army Of Cuban Musicians

Yesterday was a wonderful end to a very full week of playing.

After the big concert Wednesday at the Teatro Juarez I played with TUBA JAM Friday at the Cafe Antik and then the Garrapatas Mexicnas played at Manolos on Saturday. We had a good and lively crowd at Cafe Antik Friday night. Saturday evening there was an intense rain storm that started about an hour before the TUBA JAM Party was scheduled to start at Manolos. The rain kept most of the people at home or at least not at Manolos.

A few weeks ago Cuban pianist Gabriel Hernandez invited me to perform with his Cuban trio during an upcoming concert at the Casa Museo Gene Byron. An invitation from Gabriel is hard if not impossible for me to turn down.

We did not talk much about the concert until the Wednesday before and even then the details were pretty sketchy.

Sunday afternoon, Gabriel and his Cuban trio mates plus the last minute addition of a singer arrived at the Gene Byron a few minutes before 1 (scheduled start time is 1). Introductions were made. I had already met percussionist Kimani Carrazana the last time Gabriel played in Guanajuato. The bass player Aaron Romo is currently living in San Miguel de Allende as does Gabriel and Kimani. Gabriel is amassing quite an army of Cuban musicians in San Miguel. The singer is Dannah Garay from Mexico City. I had already heard of Dannah but until Sunday I was not fortunate enough to have heard her sing. She sounds wonderful.

The band quickly setup, changed clothes and then Gabriel and I talked about the program. The trio would open up with a few pieces and then I would come out. I suggested the Horrace Silver classic Song For My Father followed by Blue Bossa by trumpet legend Kenny Dorham. It was such fun playing with a world class Cuban rhythm section. Hard to keep from dancing. After my tunes Dannah came out and dazzled the sellout crowd with several classic jazz standards. The trio closed out the show with a few classic Cuban Danzons. It was a great show.

The same group was also performing at the Casa de los Cuentos hotel later in the evening on Sunday. Even though I was somewhat tired I did not want to miss another opportunity to play with these great musicians. Boy was I right.

We started playing around 730 in the evening to another packed house. The trio was on fire. Cuban music is infectious. It is very easy to get caught up in the music and not think of anything else in the world. The trumpet is a perfect fit for this type of music. Gabriel told me to play whenever I wanted so I took him up and played on most of the tunes. For most of my solos I used my Ranslear plastic straight mute, which gets a very "Cuban" sound. I did put in my Harmon mute to play behind Dannah's lovely melodies.

I have written before about having the best seat in the house, well Sunday evening was no exception. I sat in this window most of the evening. Gabriel's keyboard about 1/2 a meter from my face and Dannah singing along and sitting just to my right. It's fun to be a trumpet player.
Gabriel and Dannah in the window.


  1. You guys were awesome!! By the way, Aarón Romo is Mexican. :)

  2. Are you gonna post that video I shot on your camera? I'll have mine up on soon!