New & Noteworthy. Catching up with new and recent releases



Manuel Valera Trio
The Planets

Since exploding in the New York jazz scene in the early 2000s, Cuban pianist and composer Manuel Valera has not been one to settle on just one musical path or take the safe bet. In his most recent release, The Planets, he again raises the ante.

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Eliseo Parra: Re-creating The Tradition


Eliseo Parra

Hearing the beauty, the stories and the hidden possibilities in an old, traditional song requires an unusual combination of qualities – imagination and a passion for your subject just for starters.

Few have been better at it in Spain for the past three decades than singer, percussionist, composer, and folklorist Eliseo Parra, appearing with his septet at The Gleason Room at the Fillmore, Miami Beach, Saturday at 8:30 p.m.

Trained as a musician, Parra has made himself into a leading figure in the collecting, study, and performance of Spanish traditional music.

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Monsieur Periné and the Art of Serious Fun


From left to right: Santiago Prieto, guitar; Jairo Alfonso, sax; Catalina Garcia, vocals; Abstin Caviedes, trombone, and Nicolas Junca, guitar.
Photo Luis Olazábal, The Rhythm Foundation

Getting people to have serious fun is no easy business. But at the North Beach Bandshell, Miami Beach, Sunday, the Colombian group Monsieur Periné got the near-capacity crowd to sing along, dance, follow  the dips and raises on stage and just have a grand time while listening to a mix of funk, R&B, Gypsy jazz, old-timey swing and bits and pieces of half a dozen Latin American roots music styles.

Some of it can be chalked up to charm, and the engaging stage presence of vocalist Catalina Garcia. But Periné goes most naturally from “Bailar Contigo,” a piece with a neo-bossa nova/samba feel that would not be out of place in Bebel Gilberto’s repertoire, to “Tu M’as Promis,” a song set in a classic 1930s Gypsy swing and sung in French and Spanish. And just as they think nothing of adding some whistling to an instrumental arrangement, they also choose to have an Andean charango in “Tarde,” a song that otherwise sounds closer to Paul Desmond’s jazz standard “Take Five” than to traditional folk music.
These things don’t just happen. They require smarts and a certain vision. Continue reading