As the weather grows cold (for those of you in the Northern
hemisphere, and in the Midwestern “yanqui” lizard-corner of my brain), I begin
to look back nostalgically at the incredible summer filled with music, friends
and family. I tend to document as best I can while in the thick of it, then
write it all down later… I guess later is just a little later than usual this
year, but I blame it on the whirlwind post-summer action back in Bogotá, which
–as they (continue to) say in the US– is ALL GOOD!
Chicago is a music-lover’s paradise, especially in the
summer when lots of it is out on the street and for free. It also happens to be
my hometown and base camp for the annual summer pilgrimage. I thank family and
friends for welcoming me back and keeping me busy, and my bike for continuing
to carry me back and forth between all the action.
|BIKING ALONG CHICAGO'S LAKEFRONT|
My first night back I hopped on the bike to visit my friend,
singer/guitarist MERCEDES LANDAZURI
at SIP (great restaurant/bar at Southport
& Irving – give ‘em your business; they help keep live music alive). Thanks
for letting me crash your gig! He we are with another fine guitarist and
friend, AYLON SAMOUHA
|AT SIP WITH MERCEDES AND AYLON (AN CAJONERO DESCONOCIDO)|
|EVENING ON THE BIKE|
My longtime muso buddy, Venezuelan percussionist PIBO MÁRQUEZ
was in town too and invited me to join his All-Star band at the
Colombia Fest, an amazing gathering of Colombian (and other Latino) ex-pats
with the LOUDEST sound system I have ever played with. Great time!
|ON STAGE AT COLOMBIA FEST|
|PIBO MÁRQUEZ ON STAGE AT COLOMBIA FEST|
Pibo was also playing a few gigs with champeta star CHARLES KING
and they invited me to play second guitar to the amazing FRANKLIM MONTAÑO at
the Old Town School (Chicago’s finest year-round world music venue).
|WITH CHARLES KING AND PIBO MÁRQUEZ|
|ON STAGE AT OTS WITH CHARLES KING|
In return, Pibo joined Xumapaz at SABOR A CAFÉ (wonderful
venue run by great people), and we were joined by some incredible Chicago
musicians including my brother SAMMIE TORRES on percussion, JOE SONNEFELDT on
vibes, DEVIN FOSTER on upright bass, and ROY MCGRATH on sax. It was an amazing
show. Definitely one of the highlights of the summer.
|REHEARSING WITH PIBO, DEVIN & ROY|
|WITH SAMMIE TORRES AND DEVIN FOSTER|
|SABOR A CAFÉ|
Our boy TOMÁS GARCÍA
flew in from NYC to visit with his
family and took me and Pibo out with his buddy Chicago DJ Extraordinaire MARK GRUSANE
for a look at the real late nightlife (I hadn’t partied ‘til 3 am in a
long time…) Even got to see Tomi in action at PUNCHHOUSE
under Thalia Hall.
|TOMÁS STATION @ PUNCHHOUSE CHICAGO|
|HITTIN' THE TOWN WITH TOMI, MARK GRUSANE AND PIBO MÁRQUEZ|
Of course, you can’t play all
the time… sometimes you get to watch. Among the highlights this
summer were outdoor shows at Millennium Park (Femi Kuti, King Sunny Ade) and
TIM FITZGERALD’S FULL HOUSE
show at Andy’s.
|FEMI KUTI IN MILLENNIUM PARK|
In August I was back at the VERMONT JAZZ CENTER’S SUMMERCAMP
in Putney, Vermont and I just gotta say… I LOVE THIS PLACE! A solid week
of music and music and more music with great fellow campers of all ages and
amazing teachers from all over the world. This year I was especially blown away
by drum instructor FRANCISCO MELA
and Colombian pianist/composer CAROLINACALVACHE
, not to mention my favorite Ensemble Maestro and sax giant SCOTTMULLETT
. I really recommend this camp to anyone looking for a great jazz
|THE FABULOUS WILSON BROTHERS REUNION BAND|
On my way back to Bogotá, I stopped by Brooklyn to check out
Tomi’s digs and visit with friends… and more music! We caught a DEE DEE
BRIDGEWATER show at the BAM R&B Festival! Ms. Bridgewater and her band were
totally inspiring and gave me a great send-off.
|ENJOYING DEE DEE WITH THE GIRLS|
Thanks to everyone who made this one of the best summers
ever! See you next year!!!