DIET COKE INAUGURAL
WOMEN IN JAZZ FESTIVAL AT
JAZZ AT LINCOLN CENTER’S DIZZY’S CLUB COCA-COLA
Claudia Acuña Quartet
Claudia Acuña on Vocals
Yayo on Percussion
Omer Avital on Bass
Jason Lindner on Piano
After Hours Set:
Jane Bunnett on Saxophone
Elio Villafranca on Piano
Frederick P. Rose Hall
Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola
Broadway at 60th Street
(Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola Website)
Todd Barkan, Artistic Administrator
Scott Thompson, Press
Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
September 20, 2005
For tonight’s second set, in the robust Diet Coke Women in Jazz Festival at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, the Chilean sensation, Claudia Acuña, and her quartet, with Yayo on percussion , Omer Avital on bass, and Jason Lindner on piano, brought magic into the club, with a new contemporary style that rocked the audience with exotic, exciting sound. Omer Avital is a bassist to watch, and Vida Sin Mil or Life without Honey was sung with Latin percussion enhancements. This quartet generated a New Age, clave sound, unique and mesmerizing. Soon Spanish scat, almost a fused Salsa-Samba, breezed in, and Ms. Acuña seemed to be re-inventing the song each moment.
Ms. Acuña loves to tell stories about love and loss, that lead into her rapturous songs. A song about unrequited love, described in English but sung in Spanish, had theatrical presence, like exotic pop. Lindner, on both electric keyboard and piano, is equally energized and engaging. La Mentira or The Lie started with New Age electric piano chords and a wide range of percussive embellishments that drew Ms. Acuña into a sexy, throaty range, and she did not disappoint. Her vocals dropped to a whisper, as Lindner played along with Yayo’s persuasive percussion, as he added staccato surprises. Latin percussion followed, and Lindner dished up a hot South of the Border sound.
What a Difference a Day Makes was sung in Spanish (like Ms. Acuna’s grandmother sang), with drama and dynamism, and Lindner conversed on piano with tiny intonations. Another ballad of love and loss, warmly introduced by Ms. Acuña, included long piano and keyboard riffs (sometimes both at once) and theatrical tempo and theme. The encore was one more tribute to love with guest artist, Roland Barber, on trombone. Avital and Yoyo added a clave rhythm for full Mambo effect. The quartet began to wax Cuban, with the trombone solo taking the theme with depth and fused jazz. The audience assisted with connected clapping to Ms. Acuña, bass, percussion, and piano.
Claudia Acuña with Jason Lindner and Omer Avital
The After-Hours set, with Jane Bunnett on saxophone and Elio Villafranca on piano, brought lovely melodies to the edgy, elongated sax riffs. Villafranca took generous riffs, with a frenetic flair, and this was one dynamic late set. Villafranca’s style is ethereal, esoteric, and energetic. Ms. Bunnett switched to flute, and a Cuban interchange ensued, as this Cuban-born pianist exude warmth and wildness as the hour grew later. Villafranca quickly turned melodic to moody to mesmerizing.
The next piece was more abstract and Latin, with Ms. Bunnett buoyantly playing her effervescent theme in contrast to the more percussive and prominent piano. The flute returned for a tremolo waterfall in clave and scintillating dance rhythms. Long duo riffs were captivating, as the Latin mood was so inviting. When Ms. Bunnett switched to sax again, Villafranca infused classical with Cuban, and the mood merged to Mambo. The final piece, abstract and pulsating, fused saxophone-piano riffs to Afro-Cuban Jazz.
Elio Villafranca, Jane Bunnett, Todd Barkan