Latin jazz works best when the musicians involved are as fluent in Afro-Cuban rhythms as they are in the deep grooves and advanced harmonics of bebop. Arturo O’Farrill has that pedigree in his DNA: His father, Chico O’Farrill, was part of a groundbreaking group of musicians who created the mash-up of Afro-Cuban music and jazz back in late-’40s New York.
The octet you see in this video is a stripped-down version of the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, which is at least twice as large — don’t think I didn’t try to get the whole band behind Bob Boilen’s desk — and dedicated to both preserving the legacy of the elder O’Farrill and documenting the younger musician’s efforts to move the music forward.
The octet includes trombone, trumpet, sax, bongo, conga, drums, bass and of course, piano. And they play three pieces (for quite a long set).
“In Whom…” has a good swinging feel with O’Farrill’s piano running wild. At one point they cut to the conga player and the lady behind him is checking her phone (rudeness even in 2013!). But it’s not all about the piano, there s sax solo and then a fairly lengthy bass solo. Indeed there are many bass solo moments in this concert–Arturo certainly shares the spotlight.
The second song is “Compay Doug.” He explains that “compay” means some who is not family but who is as close as family or maybe even closer. The main melody has a cool fast/slow riff and then there’s another long bass solo. There’s some great conga work in the middle of the song ( you can hear the percussionist use a rain stick, too). Late in the song there a trumpet solo. So even though this is ostensibly a pianist’s performance, there is much more–but don’t be fooled, his piano playing is intense!
The final song is called “Mass Incarceration Blues.” He says many years ago it was called “Blue State Blues,” then it became “Stop and Frisk Blues” and now it’s called “Mass Incarceration Blues.” NPR’s Felix Contreras joins them (he ha so many cameos!). There’s a super fast series of opening piano runs. Then there’s a surprisingly fun (given the name) staccato melody and lots percussion. And, as if to get everybody a moment to shine, this song includes a trombone solo, a sax solo and Felix even gets a conga solo.
[READ: July 5, 2016] Goes for the Gold
This book came out in time for the 2016 Summer Olympics, and Babymouse joins the swim team!
The book begins with her doing a fantastic dive (called the Reverse Messy Whisker Dive) only to wake up in her backyard kiddie pool.
Despite her fantasy of doing dramatic dives, she actually spends all of her time after school reading and eating cupcakes. Her parents insist that she do something–join a team or whatever. She chooses to join the school swim team, “The shrimps.” She figures how hard can it be, “I mean, swimming’s not even a real sport.”
Well not when you wear the suit that Babymouse has on. She is encouraged to wear a proper swimming suit and goggles and a cap (to much amusement of everyone).
But swimming proves to be hard–between trying to go straight, the way the chlorine dries out your fur and the whale living in her locker (Moby-Dick, anyone?), it’s more than just splashing in a pool.
Especially when we see the other team–actual sharks! And is that a giant squid at the bottom of the pool?
But The Shrimps are very good and when Felicia Furrypaws dismisses swimming as not even a real sport, Babymouse has second thoughts–or at least would rather stay up late eating cupcakes. Will she feel guilty about letting her team down? Of course, she will.
But what will she do about it?