Saturday, December 29, 2007

One Snazzy Joint

So a couple nights ago I spent some quality time with the breetard and our parents and we were lucky enough to have gotten tickets to Dizzy's Club in Manhattan as a Christmas gift (yeah Grandma). I'd never been to the place before and was pretty blown away. It's a real small place, with a slightly raised stage, and the wall behind the stage is entirely glass, looking out over the city. The tickets didn't say who was going to be performing so it was a nice surprise when we got there that it was actually someone I'm familiar with, Paquito D'Rivera. He played with an ensemble of 6, plus a bandoneon player on several songs. Although all the instrumentalists were extremely talented, the bass player stood out for me as the virtuoso of the group (outside of D'Rivera himself). During one piece he played two extremely complex counterpoint melodies at once, using each hand to hammer-on the notes. The percussion was phenomenal as well. The set player was amazingly technical in his playing and the auxillary percussionists did a great job of blending their sounds with his, playing more drums, chimes, bells, and other little noisemakers than I could count. The trumpet / trombone player had a style very similar to D'Rivera's sax playing, very fast and highly melodic, with few sweeping notes and lots of staccato. Although he was playing mostly a background role, the pianist really shone on the slower pieces and one of the later up tempo songs. There was a section where he and the bandoneon took the center stage playing off of each other that was one of the high points of the show. D'Rivera himself still blew them all away, playing swirling complex melodies as if it was the most natural thing a person could do.

Unfortunately, he was not wearing this outfit.

Not only is D'Rivera an amazing sax player, but he was completely comfortable on stage talking to the crowd. He didn't overdo it with the talking, but threw in a couple stories about Gillespie, who he worked with from a very early point in his career, and background information on the pieces they played and the different genres they crossed. Monday is D'Rivera's last night at the club, and I'd guess it was sold out, but if you can get there by any means, It comes highly reccomended from yours truly. Even if you have a chance to see him elsewhere, or see someone else at Dizzy's, I'd say both would be enjoyable experiences.

"Guataca City" (to David Amram) by Paquito D'Rivera
This song's a great example of the style of most of his set. Upbeat, complex melodies. Awesome.

In other news, I've listened to "Diamonds on the Soles of her Shoes" by Paul Simon at least 5 times today. I hope everyone keeps in mind how great a song that is. How great the whole graceland album is, even.

"Diamonds on the Soles of her Shoes" by Paul Simon

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