Jazz mecca returning to Bay Area?
Thanks to John Coltranes Indian experiments, free jazz great Don Cherrys embrace of Balinese, West African and Indian music and other high profile cross-cultural projects, musical tastemakers were primed for New Yor-Uba, which made its debut in 1983 with a gala concert at Joseph Papps Public Theater. Its 14 members included drummer and vocalist Orlando Puntilla Rios, with whom Rosewoman developed a deep and mutually beneficial association. Rios, who died in 2008, was a critical source of information on musical as well as spiritual practices in his homeland of Cuba, and provided songs in the Arara dialect from Dahomey (the pre-Colonial African kingdom that is now southern Benin). New Yor-Uba, whose jazz notables includes alto saxophonist and flutist Oliver Lake, gave Rioss artistic vision wide exposure. The 10-piece ensemble captured on 30 Years includes a pair of Cuban aces in drummer-singers Pedrito Martinez and Roman Diaz. Ask Rosewoman why the album took so long and shes more likely to shrug in annoyance than sigh in relief.
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Trumpeter Mike Olmos is coming Dec. 14 to Cafe Stritch in San Jose. One of the year’s most memorable jazz events — ask anyone who was there — happened in August at Cafe Stritch when Turre performed with his band for three nights. He paid tribute to an early mentor, the late saxophonist Rahsaan Roland Kirk, and the music reached Kirk-ian heights: a combination of church, house party and cosmic adventure. Night to night, the crowds grew. Still, not everyone feels the jazz scene is reaching a new critical mass: “I love what SFJazz is trying to do, and I feel like these other places are kind of picking up the slack,” says saxophonist Howard Wiley, who was in Turre’s band. “But I also remember, maybe ten years ago or even less, that just about anybody I wanted to see would come in for a week at Yoshi’s” in Oakland, where jazz bookings have been drastically scaled back.
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