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ENTERTAINMENT: Spencertown’s Roots and Shoots hosts Latin Jazz Band

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By LORNA CHEROT LITTLEWAY

THE PABLO SHINE Latin Jazz Band was the featured artist at the Spencertown Academy of the Arts’ Roots and Shoots concert series, Saturday, June 15. The quartet, all Hudson Valley musicians, played two 1-hour sets to a very enthusiastic audience of Latin Jazz aficionados.

Pictured are The Pablo Shine Latin Jazz Band members (l to r) Rick Altman, Pablo Shine, John Dresler and Paul Anthony Duffy. Photo contributed

The musicians are Pablo Shine, congas and stationary cymbal; John Drechsler, upright bass; Paul Anthony Duffy, keyboard; and Rick Altman, vibes and various percussion instruments. Altman is, also, the band’s music director.

Latin Jazz embraces the influences of Afro-Brazilian music, including samba and bossa nova, and Afro-Cuban music. Seated behind three congas and the cymbal, Shine described his music as an “encounter between jazz and salsa.” He also encouraged audience members to leave their seats and dance.

The band opened with “Alonso,” a rousing tribute to Alonso Gonzalez, a Colombian native regarded as a prodigy at age 8 and widely credited with bringing Latin Jazz to Asia.

The band played Latin Jazz standards “Morning” composed by pianist Clare Fischer, and “Footprints” composed by saxophonist Wayne Shorter and recorded by Miles Davis.

The first set included numbers popularized by Tito Puente “Mambo Inn,” which combines the Afro-Cuban tambao – a basic bass rhythm and the Cuban guaracha, – a rapid tempo; and Cal Tjader, “Mindanao” and “Linda Chicana,” a Cuban peasant dance tune.

The first set concluded with George Gershwin’s “Summertime” and Dizzy Gillespie’s composition “A Night in Tunisia.”

The second set brought four pairs of dancers to their feet for songs with bossa nova beats. Phyllis Diamond of Spencertown and Howard, from Hurley in Ulster County, danced to “Nica’s Dream.” Next Howard and his wife, Elizabeth, danced house right to “Cubano Chant” while Josiah and Jordan, ages 13, danced house left. Elizabeth told me “the boys were like cousins.”

The dancing concluded with Howard and a young woman dancing to “Caravan.” Howard, originally from Columbia, described the dancing as “derivatives of the Mambo.”

Other set two songs included “Sabor” a sentimental ballad by Mexican composer Álvaro Carrillo; “Invitation,” a Golden Globe Best Score nominee for the film “A Life of Her Own”; and “Poinciana” composed by Nat Simon and adopted by jazz pianist Ahmad Jamal as his theme song.

The performance ended with Shine’s composition “Pablo’s Fancy,” considered an early example of Afro-Cuban Jazz.

For more information about the Pablo Shine Latin Jazz Band visit the website pabloshineband.com.

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