Uncategorized — September 5, 2006 at 4:20 am

El Negro 9–06

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el negroA serious lack of time has made me absent from the monthly newsletter. In other words, I have been in more than 25 countries in what is looking like the most traveled year of my entire life! In January, after recording a documentary for PBS with Marc Ribot and doing a home recording for Mike Sterlacci, I escaped from snow, flying to Barbados to play with the Cuban All-Stars featuring Giovanni Hidalgo and young, rising, alto-sax star Miguel Zenon.

Sunny L.A. was once again the host of the NAMM show, a place where we not only get in touch with the new advances of our industry, but where we also have the chance to spend some time with many of our friends and colleagues. At the Fine Arts Theatre in Puerto Rico, a celebration was held for the fiftieth anniversary of Eddie Palmieri’s career, and simultaneously, I was preparing for a lifetime dream to come to light.

The young Reunion Island phenom Meddy Gerville offered me a tour, along with bass-ace Dominique DiPiazza (John McLaughlin, Bireli Lagrene, etc.) and guitarist Jean-Marie Ecay (Bill Cobham Band) along the entire east coast of Africa. It was a trip that I don’t have enough pages to describe! From the warmth of the African people, to the beauty of the landscape, to the sounds of the musics of every different country, it was all breathtaking…… We started the tour from the “pearl” of east Africa, Meddy’s beautiful Reunion Island, and then travelled into Madagascar, Uganda, Djibouti, Burundi, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Namibia, Swaziland, and South Africa, all going through Tanzania and Kenya, where I got the news in the middle of February, that we were a Grammy winner again for Eddie Palmieri’s “Listen Here” recording.

An opportunity to reunite with old friends lead me to Madrid in March, where along with piano-player Caramello, and Paco DeLucia’s bass player Alain Perez, we performed at Clamores Jazz Club for four nights while recording “live”. A rehearsal in Paris with Mario Canonge and Etienne M’Bappe was the bridge for returning to Africa. In Mauritius, South Africa, and Mozambique, this time around, I’m happy to say, I now have friends! As you can see my friends, these were only the first three months of the year, but right now, I have to get out of the bathtub and run to the airport to fly to Asia. I promise I’ll catch up with you again soon. You’re always in my thoughts.

P.S. 2006 to be continued……..

Love,
eL NEgRO 9/06

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