Mike Atkinson

Buena Vista Social Club – Nottingham Royal Concert Hall, Thursday March 22

Posted in gigs, Nottingham Post, Royal Concert Hall by Mike A on March 23, 2007

Despite the recent loss of its three biggest names – Ibrahim Ferrer, Rubén González and Compay Segundo – the Buena Vista show rolls on, with star billing passed to four other key members. All are respected elder statesmen of the Cuban scene, who have enjoyed a new lease of life following the remarkable explosion of worldwide interest in their music.

Leading a frisky three-piece brass section, with a nice line in nifty (if occasionally shaky) formation dance steps, we had veteran trumpeter Guajiro Mirabal. Over on double bass, Cachaito López bears the unique distinction of having played on every track on every album in the Buena Vista series. Trombonist Jesús “Aguaje” Ramos – a spirited, commanding presence – doubled up as band leader. Clearly suffering from some unfortunate finger trouble, guitarist Manuel Galbán kept a low-key profile, only once taking centre stage.

The twelve piece band – natty in their double-breasted suits, and with an average age of at least seventy – also featured a younger pianist called Orlando, whose comparatively youthful vigour added an important extra dimension. His pounding, emphatic solos were rapturously received.

With no unifying backbeat to rely on, the rolling, fluid rhythms folded into each other, underpinned by rump-shaking basslines that all but begged you to get up and dance. In the overly reverential confines of the Royal Concert Hall, this proved impossible until the closing numbers – at which point, urged to our feet by the band, the whole atmosphere loosened up. If only we had lost our British reserve a little earlier.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s