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