Juan de Marcos easily proves he is a faithful man. Since moving on as one of the key members of famous Buena Vista Social Club, he is now celebrating 20 years of his own band, the Afro-Cuban All Stars, accompanied not only by his wife of 38 years, Gliceria Abreu, but with his two daughters Gliceria/vib-key and Laura Kydia/cl-bcl. Not only faithful as a husband and father, but with remaining team with a trumpet section of YoannyPino, Julito Diaz and Orlando de Jesus Frago, a sizzling rhythm team of Jiovanni Cofino/b, Caleb Michel/timb, Tany Allende/cong, Asley Rusell/bong, and Jose Marcos Crego /p and the fervent vocals of Emilio Suarez, de Marcos kept the scintillating flame of Cuban music alive with an hour set that looked both back with honor and forward with encouragement.
The mix of percussion, piano and vibes made for a slithering groove while the muted horns delivered hip accents and solos on “Concierto Barroko” while Gonzalez’s bass clarinet added a thick mole’ textured frame for Suarez’s rich street vender’d voice on celebratory pieces such as “A Distancia” and her straight clarinet seared through the percolation like a sharp knife on the peppy “Lon Dicen Todas.”
De Marcos himself was rich in voice, while he sang along on the sensuous salsa “ “On the Road Again, ” a piece from their latest release Absolutely Live II, while going bel canto on the romantic “Vete De Mi” while the chorus of voices went back and forth like a jai alai match.
Crego’s piano was fluid in swing as the band crated a mix of penetrating brass, rich choral chants and erupting percussion to form a thunderous stampede on a tune dedicated to de Marcos’ daughter on “Laua En El Paraiso” while the celebratory “No Creo En La Jeva” and “Sabrosaura Natural” delivered powerful left hooks like a knockout punch by Teofil Stevenson as the incessant percussion, vocals and horns built up to a volcanic climax.
As de Marcos closed and encored with “Candela” and “La Mujer Del Barbaro” the upscale nightclub turned into a dance hall, as just about everyone in attendance couldn’t resist the pulsating vibes and joined into a foot stomping celebration. IF you weren’t inspired by this 100 minute set by this band, maybe you should take up macramé or pottery, as there’s no better music than this smoking Cubano style that saved jazz from mindless self indulgent intellectualism.
Upcoming shows at Catalina’s include Rachelle Ferrell Apr 27-30, Michael Henderson May 10 and Oz Noy Trio May 12-13