If I were to use one word to describe the “Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra” that word would be astonishing. At first, hearing that I was required to attend a Jazz concert I was completely turned off. I am very closed minded and automatically thought to myself that the kind of music would be dreadful. That is not the case anymore. This genre of music is amusing and very pleasing to the ears.
The band members are some of the most talented musicians that I ever saw or heard. Standing room tickets were sold out when we arrived at Mc Carter Theater. For ten dollars we purchased box seats right near the stage. My friend Kevin and I were thrilled with our seats which allowed the beat view of the whole stage. The theater it self was beautiful. The stage was set up well with nice a nice lighting.
The entire band consisted of eighteen musicians. There were seventeen males and one female. In the front of the stage was the pianist and director Arturo O’ Farril. Also in the front was the musician on bongos. To the left of the stage was the saxophone players and to the right the trombone players. In the rear were the trumpet players with the musician on bass in front of them as well as the drummer.
I believe this setup allowed for their superb sound. Over all our seats were incredible and made the performance much more enjoyable. Between songs the pianist and director Arturo O’ Farril would give a short introduction and history behind the songs. He used mild comedy which added a nice amount of laughter amongst the audience. After each song he would introduce the soloists that performed in the last song that was played. They would then stand up and take a bow.
Before you can ever jump on stage and sing any new song there is a process of seven steps to help you perform it correctly and well. You need to study the piece and prepare it properly. This component study involves seven detailed parts, text, rhythm, meter, and tempo, melody, form, voice, harmony, and dynamics, phrasing and musical articulation. Reading through the text of the song silently first ...
The female member, Erica von Kleist, was very good at the alto saxophone. I also liked Mario Rivera who played the tenor saxophone. The soloists’ that would perform during each song would stand when it was time for there solo. My favorite song of the night was entitled “Wild Jungle.” Before the song Arturo gave us a brief introduction on what to expect. He mentioned a saxophone duo solo between Mario Rivera and one of his fellow band members that he taught. Arturo referred to the solo as “the master vs.
the apprentice.” When the solo began my jaw dropped. It was so fast and lovely to listen too. Both musicians went back and forth playing. I could not tell who was a better saxophone player. Mario Rivera must have taught his student really well because they were both remarkable. In this song there was also a bongo solo that really caught my attention.
The musician played so fast and kept a perfect beat. Another song that I enjoyed was entitled “Humility.” There was also some mild humor in the introduction to this song. The trumpet soloist took off Mario Rivera’s jacket and put it on creating laughter when Arturo said it’s a good look for him. I too found his outfit rather funny. He was wearing leather pants, and chain wallet, and a nice button down shirt. He stood in the front of the stage for about 3 minutes until it was time for his solo.
It was indeed a fine solo on the trumpet. “The Afro-Cuban Jazz Suite” was a rather good song that they also played. This was a very melodic song which was very different from most of the others. This was not as fast and loud as the others. It was very tranquil for most of the song and was nice and relaxing to listen to. There was a trombone, saxophone, and trumpet solo in this song.
I noticed something very different in this song that was not used in the others. The trumpet player would screw a piece in the end of his horn to create various different sounds. In one part he inserted a piece that resembled a harmonica. The trombone player also used some device that looked like a plunger over the end of his horn. It would produce an incredibly unique tone when used. I found this very interesting because I never heard of using these inserted pieces to make different sounds.
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This song was very long, but it was great the entire way through. I timed it at being nearly twenty-five minutes long. What I found most entertaining during this performance was the bass player. I could not believe how fast and well he can play.
His hands were moving so quickly around the instrument that I had to pick my jaw up off the floor. Being that the instrument was fretless it takes extreme accuracy in getting the proper note. There is no way to look at the instrument and know where to put ones fingers. It is all from memory and feel. Overall I really enjoyed this performance.
Both Kevin and I were not looking forward to attending but left Mc Carter Theater with a different view toward this genre of music. It is a very energetic type of music which makes one just want to get up and dance. I would defiantly purchase a compact disc of jazz to listen to when I want to relax and be soothed. The “Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra” is an extraordinary band and very talented. The members must have devoted their entire lives to the instruments that they played being that they played them so well. I would recommend the “Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra” to everyone who likes this genre of music and to people like myself who were at first skeptical..