Manolito y su Trabuco might have the best horn section in Havana. That’s kind of a big call. I mean, I know there isn’t actually a lot of competition out there - a lot of the horn sections here run to the ragged - but those that are good are sizzling. Like Havana D’Primera’s for instance. I wouldn’t want to deny those guys their props. I would have put Pupy’s in there once but now, without Chocolate (Canada) and Uyuni (HdP), I’m not so sure. I’ll have to hear Bamboleo’s again to know how theirs stacks up. People say La Charanga’s is good. I’ll have to take their word for it.
Galiano wasn’t that crowded for Trabuco’s habitual matinee. You know, not empty but a far cry from the melee at Christmas time. Of course none of the gigs have been that crowded, except HdP’s matinee. And Alain Daniel’s Capri, hilariously enough. Not sure how many of that crowd were there for the music though.
The DJ played all salsa which was awesome, especially as Trabuco didn’t come on until after 7.30.
Some of the professional dancers, Ramoncito et al, were there with a group of foreigners - maybe one reason why the DJ was playing salsa. The extended stage that Combinacion de la Habana had on Saturday was still in place and later on I wondered if it was there to cover up the gouged up tiles which I noticed on Friday night: they looked like a fatality waiting to happen.
There was all kinds of fancing rigging as well - for the night’s “Havana Show” - some kind of PMM thing I think with dancing girls and house music and lights and blah blah. Something I wouldn’t be going to.
Trabuco have recorded about six songs as demos for a new album (that I know of) and the show was all about roadtesting estrenos. Only La noche, Locos por me Habana and La Habana me llama were from the back catalogue; everything else was new. Oh wait, the one about doing stuff around the house (or not doing it), I think that’s from the last album. Amaray mumbled something before one song that sounded like “por Alexander Abreu”, so I whipped the camera out and hit record on the video. He might have meant Alexander Abreu de Sello LA. Jaja. I shall endeavour to find out. It was sung by Mayami, who was commiting his usual fashion crimes (see photo) and it sounded pretty good.
There is no doubt that Trabuco have a new sound, or nueva honda, as they say here sometimes. Of course they’ve had it for sometime - it’s just taken a while for me to let go of the old band and accept the new. Now that I don’t expect that much from them, I’m not as disappointed. There were still some things I hated in the repertoire, but there were some things I liked too, and I might like some other things more if I hear them again. I really hated La noche when I first heard it - and the inane lyrics still drive me insane (“fiesta” and “amanezca” do NOT rhyme; and just because Amaray has done it, that doesn’t make it all right, Mr P.F. Gallo) - but it surely does kick arse live. As I mentioned, the horns are pure joy, and they get a little boost from David Bencomo’s lovely flute.
There were guest appearances from Michel, the singer from Adalberto’s band - he’s been getting around and he’s pretty good, but not good enough to get me to Miramar on a Wednesday night; Charanga’s Helder on piano and a guiro player who I think is from Azucar Negra.
The band was missing Miguelito Pan con Salsa - in Canada conducting a workshop apparently - and Riveron, who is sick - again! Not sure what is wrong but I hope it isn’t pneumonia like last time and I hope he gets better soon. The eminently capable Andy Fornet of La Reve was sitting in on drums. What a country this is, when someone of Riveron’s calibre needs replacing, and the back-up is someone like Fornet. Jeez.
Bencomo and some pals were all hilariously drunk afterwards and ready to party something fierce but I was starving - truth be told, I'd been thinking about the tasting plate at my favourite local paladar pretty much all through the gig, so we slipped out of their clutches (quite literally) and skedaddled up to San Rafael.