Al Di Meola in Gran Canaria



This is a 2009 review





I gotta admit that I never listened to Al Dimeola much and that he never got my attention, except the long play he recorded with Paco de Lucía and John Mclaughlin, but this last Saturday within the “Festival de Guitarra de Las Palmas” he was playing in my town and I had tickets to see him live

As always, we reached the hall with plenty of time. We left the car in the hall parking lot and very soon we were at the entrance of the Alfredo Kraus Auditory.

This time, row 6, seats 21 to 27. The hall was crowded. I guess it was a sold out concert. The vision of the stage was not so good as it was when Madeleine Peyroux played live here, but you know, I can’t complaint..

The show started off with only ten minutes delay, just right after Al Dimeola introduced us the band members: Gumbi Ortiz on percussion, Víctor Miranda on bass guitar, Meter Kaszas on drums and Peo Alfonsi on guitar.

At first I got a bit surprised when I saw Al Dimeola and Peo Alfonsi on stage with Spanish guitars and from the very first track they played I found an important Spanish musical flavour that, in my opinion, reamained througout the whole concert.

I did have a perfect view of Al Dimeola and Peo Alfonsi, but not from the rest of the band

Al, used an Hermanos Conde guitar, amplified –as I read on Internet- with a Schoepps C-530 condenser microphone and a RMC piezo pickup.

The US born guitarist presented his most recent recording “World Sinfonia” –a bit pretentious title IMHO to be his first acoustic fusion ensemble album-, that combined Latin, African, Tango influences but sounded to me more Flamenco, more Paco de Lucía than Carlos Gardel’s tangos. Dry, fast and powerful guitar strumming filled up the hall with that “typical flamenco/Hispanic” sound with the collaboration of percusionist Gumbi Ortiz’s perfect use of the cajón flamenco.

Since the very beggining of the concert we saw an oustanding guitar technic. The way Al Dimeola plays guitar is Amazing folks. He is a virtuoso out of any question. I also found chemical between Dimeola and Peo Alfonsi, apart of many, many hours of rehearsal. Their accuracy executing duo strumming was perfect, it seemed more the precision you get from a sophisticated musical software. Peo Alfonsi dindn’t have a single ocassion to show us his skills, because he was all the time playing rythm guitar while Dimeola used his left hand fingers on the fretboard at the speed of light, reaching the last frets of it, to get there a remarkable, clean, and pure tone, using a pick with the right hand, to obtain a potent, strong and mighty riff

Al didn’t use many fx’s . His Spanish guitar tone was clean, or with bit of distortion or delay and another fx that sounded like Calypso, like when you see those black men that hit barrels as if they were drums, when you arrrive to any Caribbean port.

The show went on with one track after another, ‘till we reached the end of it after nearly one hour and a half.

I found that Al didn’t give any space, nor freedom to any of his band mates. I had the feeling that they were there, to simply execute a job they had been paid for and end of the story. The star was Al Dimeola and nobody else was allowed to play out of a script that the US born guitarist had set with spartan severity. Only Gumbi Ortiz that –as Al Dimeola told us- had been playing with him during the last twenty years, was allowed to make one percussion solo. I missed Peo Alfonsi playing guitar freely.

So folks, an intimate, precious, baroque concert, with a high and remarkable technical character, long tracks with differents tempos, rythms and cadence that made it dificult for me to understand it. Al Dimeola had no soul, no feeling to me. Sometimes I saw myself trying not to fall asleep, sometimes I even thought about fallen asleep by I felt embarrassed. How far is Al Dimeola from the poetry and soulful feeling Madeleyne Peyroux or Tuck and Patti deliver in their live shows.

I’m guilty, it might be my fault that I never listened to Dimeola in depht because when the concert ended, the audience stood up furiously clapping and I…..stood up as well, but for sure, when he came out for an encore I prayed Zeus, Father of the Gods that there would be no more than two bonus tracks.

I hope to be a bit more lucky this next Friday……Larry Carlton at 21.00 hours and Diane Schuur on Saturday at the same time. I haven’t heard a word about this US jazz singer but it seems she is coming with a 1940/1950 jazz repertoire

Five days in Barcelona




Couple of months ago my wife told me she would like to visit Barcelona. As I do not like travelling at all, as soon she warned me out about her crazy plans, I stood against pointing her with my forefinger and with a strong and unbending firmness I told her: "I wanna make this absolutely clear: I’m not gonna go anywhere”

Last Tuesday, December 8, VY-3000 flight brought us back to Gran Canaria after a five days stay in Barcelona. From Thursday to Tuesday.

Barcelona is an amazing city, with endless roads and wide avenues

A job mate had told me, "man, get ready, you go to a theme park" and that was what we exactly saw in Barcelona.

I gotta admit that I felt better than when we were in Madrid. The sea made the weather very similar to ours in the Canaries. Cold and humidity was similar too. I mean it was not the dry continental climate of Madrid.

There are people everywhere at all times. Bars, restaurants, greengrocers, hairdressers, clothing stores, supermarkets all open at 23:18. Streets and squares crowded at that time at night……….thousands of people ......... ....... .... The amount of holidaymakers visiting Barcelona is more than huge. People from all over the world flooded the city. Russians, hundreds of North Americans, there were also many Italians, French, Germans and Spaniards, but Chinese tourism in groups of up to thirty people were the most.

We visited Barcelona Town Hall. La Sagrada Familia as well, but we did not enter because of the enormous queues so I shot several pictures and we walked away. We also visited the Park Guell where we paid an eight euros tickets each to get in. Within the park borders there are three buildings designed by Gaudí opened to be visited. One of them is were the Catalonian architect used to live while planning the building of the park. It is the first building you face at the beginning of the enclosure. My wife tried to get in,…..but………..we were asked to pay again: "This visit is not included in the ticket price. It is an extra 5 euros.” With a smile in our faces we respectfully refused the 5 euros tickets they were offering us and did not get into the house. The visit to the other two buildings was covered by the eight euros tickets. After a 25 minutes queue, we entered “The Guard’s house”, an empty house with no furniture at all. In a room an early Twentieth Century audiovisual presentation of the park. In the other one panels covered with newspaper clippings from 1907. The third building had become a souvenirs shop.

We walked by el “Raval”, by “Las Ramblas and Paseo de Gracia”, by “La Boquería Market”, by the “Gothic neighbordood” and we visited the Cathedral of Barcelona where no one in his right mind would attempt to pray. We saw the old and the new parts of the Port of Barcelona, la Barceloneta, the Columbus column, the Batlló house and “La Pedrera” house and we even had the chance to visit the “Palacio de la Capitanía de Barcelona”.

In bars and restaurants we found thousands of friendly and very polite latinoamericans employees. The few Catalonians we had to deal with while getting a taxi or the bus or in a commerce were correct but they were not as friendly. We found out lovely Catalonians altough, but I gotta admit they were the less. At “Bosque Palermo” restaurant, -163, Valencia road- we were treated lovely by their Catalonians waiters. We enjoyed our four last dinners there.

On the other hand, Our Lord, in His Infinite Wisdom –the ways of God are inscrutables- has not been particularly generous to Catalonians women, because you sit down in any terrace in Las Canteras Beach avenue here in Gran Canaria and you see more hot Gran Canarian women in an hour that all the girls I saw in the five days I spent over there. The most of the women I saw in the streets were ugly or very ugly.

Anyway, the best of this 3200 miles trip is that I’ve come back home fully confident that my wife have enjoyed a lot this time in Barcelona and this particular fact makes the rest becomes irrelevant. How much did we spend? For God’s sake! There is no price when talking about my holy wife’s happiness. I just follow instructions coming from her command with a smile on my face, while secretly I was crossing out the days left to return home.

We were still at Barcelona’s Airport waiting for our flight back departure, when I told my wife that after the heroic deed of my coming to Barcelona, I was not gonna leave Gran Canaria ‘till 2020, ……she looked at me and said…………”check your agenda…mate………Sevilla awaits us next year by this time”.. ....... and then a boundless joy filled my heart.

¡Con ustedes.....Larry Carlton!


Larry Carlton's show review. 2009







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Friday April 3, 21:00 Larry Carlton’s turn.

Las Palmas de Gran Canaria University concert hall

After the complete deception with Al Dimeola, I had huge expectations with Mr. 335’s concert  as Larry Carlton is known.

The University concert hall is not the Alfredo Kraus Auditory and just because it’s smaller size, it gave the concert an intimate atmosphere that I’ve always thought is a must in a jazz concert. The most popular local guitarists were there too. A sold out concert

The show started off on time. Larry Carlton stepped on the stage –alone- with his 335 and adressed the audience: “My birthday was last March, so the first tune I’m gonna play is…Happy Birthday, folks…..never ever in my life I had listened to a so precious version of that track. Played with a very slow tempo, with melody beautifully hidden among arpeggios, chords and harmonics, arranged with tons of an elegant good taste. When this track was over, I thought to myself “que le den por culo a Al Dimeola” (“Fuck Al Dimeola” in a free translation)” Carlton captured and transmited me more feeling in this 3/4 minutes happy birthday song, than Dimeola in his whole concert.

The tone coming from his 335 was simply oustanding, creamy, fat, thick, the sound that you would expect from a Gibson, even more when Carlton closed his tone pot

We listened smooth jazz loaded with a colourful sensibility and we listened blues full of soulful feeling, from a Larry Carlton that showed us that a superb technique can be melted down with lyricism and inspiration to  obtain an amazing piece of beauty that in the end is what music means, something trascendent that somehow comes through and is communicated to the listener to conquer him by emotions.

I liked very much the way Larry Carlton executed the show. It seem to me not only brave, facing it just with bass guitar, guitar and drums, but because was it was planned with common sense, IMHO.

The Californian born guitarist played three or four tracks alone, no bass, no drums on stage, leaving the audience knocked out in their seats with his personal, clean, pure guitar playing, with no tricks  to freely amaze the people in the hall, displaying only a superb and beatiful playing technique. Then his son, Travis Carlton, on bass guitar, stepped on the stage to perform several more track, to finally let drummer Gene Coye enter to take his seat behind the drums. The concert was “in crescendo” track after track

Carlton had his guitar plugged into two Fender Twin Reverb, using very few fx’s, delightning us most of the time with a clean tone. I guess he only used saturation a the very end of the show, with a bit of wah-wah and a volumen pedal, but that was all.

With a powerful and colourful guitar prhasing, Carlton filled up the room with very fast scales and riff  but also with other slow, passionate rythm  variations , with soulful bendings that conquered the audience achieving a fully jazz atmosphere. Carlton gave me all I missed with Dimeola. Passion, precious, intimate arragements, feeling, argumental tension, I mean, the way they executed breaks, was amazing. Carlton used a pick but also played without it, getting from his guitar a different tone than Dimeola , You know what tone I mean folks, that tone that expert fingers can get from a guitar.

Gene Coye caught me since he put his feet on stage. What a sensibility! He played as he’s been doing it long before he was born, he touched lighty the drums and offered an original technique, rich in expression, and details.

Travis Carlton played a 5 strings bass guitar, plugged into two Ampeg cabinets -I believe two 4x12- and reamained in front of both cabinets the whole concert as if that was the only way to listen himself. I was told that Larry Calrton had been a very, very  tough bass teacher with his son and……..he did a superb job: Travis Carlton is an amazing bass player, I mean , he is not the son of……

Since the beggining of the concert Larry Carlton’s guitars –it seems he only owns those two- were on the stage. His 68’ 335 and his 84’ Acoustic Valley Art. One of my friends told me “Hey mate, where is the acoustic guitar? Folks someone had stepped on the stage, took the guitar in front of us –probaly to tune it- and we didn’t see him!!! Carlton’ show had hipnotized us. When I had a look at my watch an hour a twenty minutes had gone.

Outside the hall people were talking about this and that, but from the very good guitar players that attended the show two sentences still remain in my mind. One, “after what I’ve seen and I’ve listened from this man, all my guitars will go to the basement, what a depresión!. Second, “yes, yes Larry Carlton superb, ….OK…..but those two guys on bass and drums……..I got no words!

Then we went for dinner and while talking in the restaurant we all agreed that it would take time to enjoy a show as the one we had with Mr. 335, but folks, we were absolutely wrong. What Dianne Schuur gave us the next night, deserves a review.

Scarborough 2016


This is the article I wrote about my daughter summer school in England in 2016. Hope you like it!
 
Alea jacta est............the daughter is flying to the UK for four weeks this summer. I've already made the deposit and the registration fee on line. She was scared at first but it seems she has asummed there is no way out. Let's see how it goes...........

She arrived yesterday afternoon after 29 days in Scarborough, North Yorkshire, England.
I remember it was my wife the one who began with the "it's-time-to-send-the-girl-to- England" thing, back in March 2016. By May, she already had the most of the info regarding teen courses avalaible in the UK and Ireland.
When I checked out the info, I noticed that the whole teen summer courses offer, took place in England Southern towns and villages. Bornemouth, Brighton, Worthing, Portsmouth. In Ireland only Dublin and Galway.
I soon forget everything about Ireland. Dates didn't match.
So I went back to consider England to realise that my daughter was going to be an hour away by train from London and not only that, what it was worst, she was going to be sourronded by Spaniards like her, attending teen summer courses just like her.
Obviously the most of the Spanish companies that deal with kids summer courses in the UK, always choose Southern towns because of the costs. They can offer a tigh budget packet as it is much easier to fly to London as several daily flights from all over Spain are avalaible.
So I started off seeking other alternatives when I said to myself "you moron, what about the summer course you attended at the Scarborough School of English back in the 80's?"
When I searched the net I found out the “Scarborough International School of English” and that was the starting point.
I talked to my wife. I told her the girl was going to travel with other Spaniards to London several times a week and she was not going to speak English but Spanish and that IMHO that was just throwing away our money.
She agreed and I was in charge since.
The girl flew to Manchester from Gran Canaria in a four hours flight. I hired a transfer that picked her up at the airport and drove her to Scarborough, 124 miles away.
She has attended the teen course succesfully. She met ten Spaniards at the school but they left at the end of her first week. No more Spaniards since. “I was the only Spaniard in the school, dad!” Great!
She has enjoyed a wonderful experience in the UK she’ll never forget.
“Would you repeat next year?” I told her yesterday while we were heading home from the airport
“For sure dad”




Spassiva!


Este debe ser de 2008

My daughter is having ballet lessons since she is four years old. She is now eight.
Two weeks ago I picked her up at the ballet school after her Friday lesson, when the ballet teacher –a Romanian who has been living here for years, named Gelu Barbu- told me: “Look, the Russia Imperial Ballet is coming to town and they’ve asked me if some of my pupils would like to have a role in the play, as several kids are involved in it, you know, -he went on- it would be great for your daughter, it would be a superb experience for her and bla, bla, bla.”
At first, I got impressed by the name of the ballet company: folks, the Russia Imperial Ballet! But also by the fact that my daughter could have a role –even when it was a tiny one- in a play with such an important company. Suddenly, the teacher gave me the rehearsal schedule and the dates of the shows, and folks, for sure it was not so great, nor superb.
Rehearsals expected to take place on the 28th 29th 30th 31st of December and 2nd of January. Each rehearsal lasted four hours.
The shows were going to take place at 20.30 on the 3rd, at 12.00 and at 20.30 on the 4th, at 12.00 on the 5th and at 19.30 on the 6th of January. Kids at the theater, two hours before the show starts off.
So soon I realized that all this dancing stuff was really a very tough and sacrificed task. She would have to spend most of her holiday time at the rehearsals and at the theater. I began to consider that, probably, it would be better to forget everything about dancing and have proper “kids” holidays instead.
Kids in Spain are on Xmas holidays from the 21st of December ‘till the 8th of January and there are two big “dates” for them: the night of the 24th of December, Santa and the night of the 5th of January, the Three Kings of the Far East. My daughter and two of her cousins, more or less on her age, traditionally spent four o five days in Xmas staying at my parents’ as two of them do not live in Gran Canaria, so they two both come across every year because my mum always  insists: “I want to have my granddaughters together with me for a few days”, you know how grandmothers are, and also because there is a very good feeling among the three girls.
Even when I was trying to make her forget all about the ballet, she decided she wanted to take the chance and we supported her.
The first rehearsal came and went but after the second, the girl came back home really tired, showing not very good “vibrations” about all the dancing stuff and pointing out that, perhaps, she would have more fun, staying at her grandmum’s with her cousins. “It is too tough, dad, it is four hours, and when I’m back home I still have to do all the Xmas homework, the director of the company make us repeat and repeat and repeat”.
I was with her. I was confidence that it was too tough, that she was having ballet lessons as part of her education, there was not any other reason but her tuition and that if we had to choose between ballet and a nice holidays with family……………………………I was sure about my choice.
But wife was sure about hers too.
Wife insisted. A very important psychologist strategy was suddenly developed and carried out. The girl’s attitude towards the rehearsals and shows was turned upside down in less than half an hour. All my efforts to avoid the “feared” ballet stuff……….in the rubbish bin, folks.  
My wife told me: “let me try please, just one more rehearsal, if she still does not want to go after this one, I’ll be OK”
The next day, after the rehearsal, finally my daughter decided to take part in the show.
Thanks God she did! Everybody was right except me.
After the first show the girl was very excited, “I was nervous, I had a stomach ache when I saw how many people there was at the theater, dad, it was crowded, there was not a single empty seat”. I must admit that she will never forget this experience, you know, everything involving a theater play lived from the inside, sharing that time with a professional ballet company, ballerinas,  make up and hairdresser, being on the stage, behind of it, the lights, the discipline of the ballet itself.
We were not able to see her on stage more than once. As parents of the girl they gave us only two tickets for the first show. When we asked for more, we were told that all the shows were sold out and there was not a single ticket left.
We picked her up after the last show and she told me “dad, If I had my way I'd go touring with the ballet company from tomorrow”.
Last week at the ballet school, I saw the teacher giving the pupils a diploma, a 30/40 euros check to spend in leotards and things like that. I thought to myself that it would have been unforgivable to make my daughter not to enjoy this marvelous chance that the Russian Imperial ballet has given her, an experience that she will remember her entire life.
39 lashes in my back as punishment.


Faceboook se cargó los foros de internet

Este año de 2017 está siendo el menos productivo en el blog. Hasta anteayer no había más de 6 o 7 artículos y estamos en agosto.

Hace un par de días me encontré con artículos que había estado subiendo con el tiempo al foro guiri del que soy miembro desde hace no se ni cuánto.

Recuerdo que después de varios años de experiencia, terminé harto de los foros en español. Eran un pozo de malcriadez, de falta de respeto y de intolerancia sectaria alentada por el anonimato de la red, cuando no por los propios administradores de los mismos.

Total, que me dio por probar en foros de habla inglesa y llegué a Harmony Central allá por 2002. Cuando me registré me encontré dentro de un grupo formado por varios cientos de miles de miembros de todo el mundo unidos por una única cuestión: la música. 

En Harmony empezó mi "journey" por el mundo anglosajón de los foros y fue Harmony quien me descubrió que mi inglés estaba al borde de la extinción. 

Pasaron los años y mi dominio del  idioma se iba recuperando. Estaba solo dormido. Cada vez intervenía con más soltura, ya subía algunas de mis reseñas de conciertos a la sección del foro correspondiente.

Luego, no recuerdo cómo, me registré en "Political Forum.com" formado por unos 50 miembros. Más de la mitad eran del Reino Unido. El resto norteamericanos, y yo, la nota de color.

Ya mi inglés escrito estaba más que bien a estas alturas aunque mis intervenciones eran muchísimas menos que las de cualquiera de ellos, lógicamente. Leía la guerras entre los anglosajones y los insultos que se lanzaban entre ellos y eran muy parecidas a las nuestras aquí, pero allí, por lo menos, practicaba inglés. Subía ya no sólo las reseñas de los conciertos, sino las cosas que hacía los sábados en Valsequillo o lo que me ocurría en mi vida diaria

Pero aquello comenzó a degenerar y de pronto recibí un mensaje privado. "My name is Mr. Spock -era uno de los miembros- this board is dying. I consider you a quality poster and it will be a pleasure for me to have you in the new board I'm running". ("Mi nombre es señor Spock. Este foro se muere. Considero que tus intervenciones son de calidad y sería para mi un placer tenerte en el nuevo foro que he abierto".) Este mensaje privado del señor Spock fue muy gratificante para mi y me fui al recién inaugurado foro. Solo catorce miembros. Todos yanquis menos yo. Ha estado funcionando bien hasta 2012 en el que el auge de Facebook y otras redes sociales han acabado con los foros de internet. Sigo dejándome caer casi a diario. Sigo subiendo comentarios más o menos elaborados, pero soy el único miembro que queda. Todos se han largado. Y en una de esas visitas estaba cuando vi que había numerosos artículos en el foro pero no en el blog y me dije ¡pues vamos a aprovecharlos!

Son algo viejillos pero servirán para aumentar mi cuota anual de artículos.




Lady Dottie and The Diamonds



 
Weeks ago I had a look at the music program for November and December to find out that three shows were going to take place the same day and at the same time. This disgusting coincidence seemed strange to me because there are two things that are out of any question: first, it is not cheap to bring a band from abroad to performance in a small island and second, there are not enough people in this town to grant a minimum audience to attend each of any of those three shows. Jazz or blues music do not have many “supporters” over here, in fact, I always see the same faces and the same people in most of the shows I usually go to, so we were forced to choose between Polo Ortí Quintet, who was going to play along with vibraphonist Gary Burton, the MGT Guitarists Trio, (MGT stands for Wolfgang Muthspiel, Slava Grigoryan y Ralph Towner) and finally, Lady Dottie and The Diamonds, a Californian band from San Diego.

So after a while our decision was taken. Lady Dottie and The Diamonds got our curiosity, mainly because we wanted to check out how this combination between a 66 years old black woman and four long haired white guys (4 melenudos blancos) in their thirties would work. I guess we did the right election. There was not an empty seat in the hall.


As always, we had a couple of beers at the Hotel Madrid bar just before the show, you know, to warm up our muscles.


The show started off on time. At 20.30 hours Joey Guevara piano, harmonica and vocals, Stephen Rey on bass guitar, Nathan Beale on guitar, Richard Larson on drums stepped on to the stage and with the first chords, we had Lady Dottie in front of us.


Since the very first track they performed we saw ourselves in front of a powerful band that delivered a compact and superb sound. Quickly, the hall was loaded with a high explosion of non adulterer blues and rock and roll that went always in crescendo through out the whole show.


Fender musical instruments ruled the performance.


Guitarist Nathan Beale played a Telecaster, plugged into a Fender Twin Reverb that displayed the thin, flat, slender tone that that particular axe can deliver and even when I’m more on Gibson guitars tone, I swear that if I ever own a Fender guitar, it would be a Telecaster. 


Bassist Stephen Rey played a four strings Fender Jazz Bass plugged into a 4x10 Ampeg cabinet.

The whole band showed a superb playing technique and a very important mutual understanding.

 

Beale executed powerful solos filled up with intuition and accuracy, riffs and bendings that he melted down with a fresh guitar phrasing, that invited the audience to do everything but remained sat in their seats.
 
Lady Dottie and The Diamonds pushed us to stand up and……..dance! I swear I found very few people that were not dancing/moving in their seats


I also found out that Beale only used two or three fx’s pedals, distortion and delay among them, transmitting the feeling of the early rock and roll from the Fifties.


IMO the best of his solos were those he performed using saturated tones played through a fast, instinctive and straight powerful fretwork.

 
Joey Guevara seemed to me a superb player, not only on keyboards but on harmonica too. Quiet and intense, he showed a sweet phrasing, attacking with sensibility the different tracks they performed. He also did the chorus, which wasn’t an easy task due to the very powerful Lady Dottie’s bass tone voice he had to cover.


The rhythmic section, perfectly disciplined, showed an accurate performance too.


Stephen Rey on bass –who stepped on the stage wearing sun glasses- did a good job. But anyway, both, bassist and drummer, did a correct job altough they didn’t have the chance for soloing as Beale and Guevara did.

The concert was well planned. IMHO one hour and a half of non stop blues or non stop rockabilly music might bore the audience, so the musicians do have to be very careful regarding the way they plan the concert and Lady Dottie and 

The Diamonds were aware of this fact: they first played a blues song, followed by a rock and roll tune, a blues track and then a rock and roll one, so they kept the audience’s attention for the whole show.

And finally Lady Dottie. IMO she was the best.


Born Dorothy Mae Whitsett, in Alabama, a woman whose father worked three jobs and carried his kids to the picking fields in the family’s only source of transportation—a mule and buggy. A woman who quit school after the eighth grade to raise her 12 brothers and sisters and then, at 16, was carried off to the chicken factory by her mother.


Lady Dottie owns a superb curriculum vitae: she has collaborated with The Rolling Stones, Ike and Tina, Kool and The Gang, Muddy Waters, Budy Holly, Ray Charles, Chuck Berry, Ottis Redding, Little Richard and folks, after the show I understood why these amazing bunch of artists wanted her to work with them.


She stepped on the stage as a hurricane, only armed with her amazing and powerful voice. Just one tonal range with no significant vocal modulations but folks, what an spectacular tone voice. Sometimes she reminded me James Brown’s voice, sometimes I felt I was listening to Tina Turner.


Lady Dottie is a true blueswoman deeply rooted in Gospel music that performed warm, hearty blues and soul tracks melted with rock and roll songs perfectly executed, thanks to her solid and strong voice.


The show went on with one track after another 'till we reached the end of it, after more than two hours of a non stop blues and rock and roll session.


I gotta admit I had a good time with this Californian band. I had the chance to enjoy a very nice show where musicians did a great job and the only mistake I found was that volume was a bit loud; there was a hiss in my ears when we left the hall.

Richard Bona in concert

Since 2007, I ussually spend my Saturdays at my parents tiny cottage, as my father is too old to carry out agricultural tasks. For me it is some sort of a “non stop farmer journey” from 8:00 that we arrive there to 15:00 I am back at home. When I get home, I’m often quite tired, so the idea of a concert, on Saturday at 20:30 is not always desirable.
The " Autumn Jazz 2015" festival taking place in my town ‘till netx December, 3, features a set of five concerts. I had agreed with my cousin to attend some of them.
The first chosen one was “Richard Bona Group”. Saturday, November 7 at the Cuyás Theatre. 20:30


Image


We had already had the chance to see this Cameroonian bassist live last time he visited our island back in 2006 and I had fond memories of that performance.

Our seats were in the second amphitheater and mine in particular in the second row. My mates were in the first row. I was the last one to buy the tickets and I found no seats avalaible netx to them.

With ten minutes delay, Richard Bonna stepped on the stage. He introduced the band members. The Italian Cirrus Manna on guitar, the Cuban Ludwig Afonso on drums and the North Americans, Isamu McGregor and Tatum Greenblat on keyboards and trumpet respectively.

Richard Bona is an exceptional bassist that offers a superb and highly recommended live show. With his phrasing, exquisite and delicate on some ocassions, powerful and vigorous on others, he chained track after track in front of an audience, surrended almost from the beggining of the concert.

The Cameroonian on the other hand, is such a friendly guy that he just needed five minutes to have the audience eating on the palm of his hand. He made the public sing letting them interact with him quite often. He said he had bet $ 500 to someone on the team to sing a song in Spanish and he did it. When nobody expected, no drums, no keyboard, no trumpet…….just him and his bass guitar…….. and he began to play “Quizas, quizas, quizas” asking the audience for collaboration –Bona didn’t know the lyrics- but the most of the audience did know the lyrics for sure. Nat King Cole used to be very popular in España by the end of the Fifties. It was a very cool performance.

The rest of the band did a superb job too. They sounded perfectly assembled.

Perhaps, Tatum Greenblat –apart from Bona- was the one who got my attention the most. His trumpet sounded warm, enveloping, complete. He executed riffs that merged nicely with Bona’s bass guitar playing, filling up the venue with a deliciously rounded tone. When they both performed what the Cameroonian called a “ballad” , -it looked to me more a “bolero”-, they offered the most sublime moments of the concert, IMHO.

With the exception of this delicious, full of good taste ballad in which Bona with its measured silences, with a clean sound coming from a very slow phrasing, all wrapped with an accurate execution plus an astonished fretwork that made sound clear and diaphanous, almost tangible, every single note coming out from that bass guitar, one more track I can’t recall its name and one more from Jaco Pastorius that I loved, the rest of the repertoire was loaded with a deep and elegantly arranged ethnic flavour, due, IMHO, to Bona’s peculiar voice timbre when he sings in his mother tongue, a timbre however, that sounded completely different when he was singing in English, a radical shift in his vocal register my ear was able to distinguish with clarity. His vocal versatility is outstanding, but I gotta admit that I rather prefer him when he sings in English.

The Cameroonian made a superb demonstration of technique throughout the entire show, but he performed a duo with drummer Ludwig Afonso that removed me on the seat. Quite impressive!

More than half of the concert had gone when I noticed that part of the audience showed an inordinate desire to express Bona and his band mates, some sort of “unconditional devotion”. The irruption of gratuitous applauses in the middle of the songs or before the ending of the track, went in crescendo. One of these particular interruptions was…….disgusting! The tension-release thing of this track was about to be resolved, the band executes a silence that anticipate that last chord, the one that finally release that accumulated tension, and that silence is covered by unacceptables applauses that ruined the whole track. I swear I still don’t know how, but at that moment there was a gun in my hand, Your Honor!

From my seat the stage was reasonably well at sight despite the distance, but in the first row, just in front of me, -I remember this episode with renovated affection- two girls, not in their twenties, spent part of the show joining their heads to whisper, inviting me soon to turn my portable heart pacemaker on and forcing me to resort, as Dr. Sheldon Cooper often does, to "Kolinaar " –a Vulcan ritual by which emotions are removed-, to prevent myself from a heart attack, so when the band was performed the last track ......... ..the people was already up from their seats ... .. ... ..the two girls in front of me……….too...............I suddenly saw myself sourrounded but people that were not sat……..........folks, I swear that with the agricultural morning and the irrepressible public frenzy, I had had enough, I got up and left the venue without waiting for the encore.

By the way, as he did back in 2006, Bona went alone on stage just to build up a song using multitrack looping recorder. I remember Bona then, kindly asking the audience for silence while he was constructing the track…….the public started clapping every time a new loop was added to the song ............ .

One more Sunday excursion

I went out last Sunday morning with the bike. I spent the most of the time within the city borders even when I finally drove, once again, to the Southeast of the island. It was 8:30 when I left home.

I usually drop by Las Palmas Marina first to spot the harbour in order to evaluate if a visit is or is not worth. Only platforms. Not really interested



As soon as I left the Marina, I noticed that there were several churches in town missed in my photographic-bike-excursions album, so that is what I did.


I shot nearly 100 pictures. Here you've got some of them


Nuestra Señora de los Dolores Church. Building not in good shape. Founded in 1959.


San Francisco de Asís Church in the old part of town. Not able to shot pictures in the inside of the building because there was a service on. Founded in 1840.
 


San Sebastián Church. Southeast of the island. Founded in 1540.



Some more pictures of the inside






Indoor pictures were shot with my kick ass LG4 cellphone. Outdoor pictures were shot with my Nikon D-200

I got back home right around 12:30/12:45






The awning

We have decided to replace the awning because after ten years it was almost "dead". It hardly protected from sun or rain but it's done it's job at full satisfaction.


We've though about crossing 9 wooden sticks from left to right as a structure to support the 5 meters long new awning.

The 4 meters long sticks painting job took me 7 hours. 
 

OK. Here's the plan
We're gonna hammer nails to stick those rectangular pieces to those 4 meters long sticks 

But first we got to set the sticks on their spot. Up here.
Thing is that,.... I can't count with my 82 y/o father so I have to carry out "the job" by myself. I gotta admit that I've been coming back home on Saturday, way more tired than what is usual.
 
I've finally set the 4 meters long sticks at their spot. 

Next Saturday we started off with the planks we want to set between the 9 sticks. 
 
 
It is finally over folks. Two of my brothers and my brother in law came up last Saturday and they completed the job. 

Here you have some more pictures
 
 
 
 It took us nearly 12 Saturdays