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Monday, May 08, 2006

More 'Every little Thing'

The 'First Coming' Of jesus Fuentes
Prior to Sunday, he was essentially unheralded, but amid the breezy confines of the Pegasus hotel gazebo lawn,
Cuban reedman Jesus (that's hey-suss) Fuentes, ably supported by a vibrant (and energised) Jamaican combo, came
pretty close tro the miraculous and left a distinct feeling that there was hope for live improvised music.

With an unassuming yet self-assured air, he began, on tenor sax with classic bop in the form of Miles Davis'
Tune Up, and it proved entirely appropriate in light of what was to come.

Of the jazz standards, few lend themselves to soaring solos and intense group collaboration like Dizzy Gillespie's
A Night in Tunisia. Fuentes took off from the get-go, circular breathing and all, and the crackerjack band, realising
they were in the presence of a monster player, also caught fire. An intuitive and emotional player, Seretse Small
delivered his most intense yet nuanced playing on guitar in quite some time, as did guest percussionist Ouida Lewis
(who had earlier drummed and tapped her way into the audience's hearts in a solo stint). Matching them -sometimes
phrase for phrase, were Ozouni, with his soulful, percussive 'Monk-meets-Liberace' keyboard style, drummer Wendell
Lawrence (rapidly growing into one of the best) and bassist Carl Gibson. In essence, the group took what had to
that point been an unquestionably good show into the realm of greatness.

More transcendence would follow with their rendition of Latin master Chucho Valdes' sinuous Mambo Influencial and by
the time he donned the soprano sax for the whimsical Cubanito ( 'little Cuban', inspired by his young son) Fuentes
left no doubt that he is deserving of a return engagement.

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