Sunday, May 9, 2010

REVIEW: Michel Camilo Trio & Friends at the DSO


The Michel Camilo Trio, composed of pianist Michel Camilo, bassist Charles Flores, and drummer Cliff Almond returned to Orchestra Hall on Friday May 7th, joined by bassist Esperanza Spalding, saxophonist David Sánchez, and pianists Alfredo Rodríguez and Luke Celenza. The concert is part of the DSO's Bank of America Paradise Jazz Series. I received my tickets courtesy of the DSO.

I am a proud lifelong Detroiter, and to show how important Detroit and the DSO is in the music scene, the Michel Camilo Trio and Friends had just played the night before in New York at Carnegie Hall and after playing in Detroit, they flew out to perform in Barcelona, Spain.

I first heard Michel Camilo play when I took my son to the DSO Young People's Concert "South of the Border" in November of last year. During that concert, Michel spoke to the children in the audience about how his Santo Dominican heritage is infused into his music. The concert was wonderful and even my son was impressed by Michel's playing, so I have been looking forward to this performance.

The Michel Camilo Trio's music was a wonderful combination of classical, jazz and Latino beats fused together into pulsating, driving rhythms.  From songs like "From Within" to "My Secret Place", the trio showed their range from slow and emotionally moving to fast and furious.  

Michel Camilo also showcased some of his very talented friends on piano, sax and bass.  Alfredo Rodriguez, a 23 year old prodigy discovered by Quincy Jones, treated us to a very moving piano selection and then joined Michel in playful "dueling" pianos.  Seventeen year old Luke Celenza also performed on piano and showed just why he has just been accepted into the prestigious Julliard School of Music.

Also performing were David Sanchez on Sax and the crowd favorite of the night, Esperanza Spalding on bass and voice.  When Esperanza took the stage, I wondered what this person who looked more like a little girl than woman was going to do with a bass that was bigger than herself.  But when she started to play and then opened her mouth to sing in Spanish, the entire audience was amazed.  Her bluesy voice was enticing and when she started scatting on "Autumn Leaves" everyone was cheering at the end of the performance.

The Michel Camilo Trio and Friends were a total treat and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra just announced a new season of programming for the Bank of America Paradise Jazz Series with Michel Camilo for 2010-11 performances. Subscription tickets are on sale now and can be purchased by calling (313) 576-5111 or visiting Single tickets will go on sale in August 2010.

To give everyone a taste of the wonderful music played Friday night by the Michel Camilo Trio, here is a video of  Michel Camilo performing the opening song from Friday night's performance, "From Within". 



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