Bobby McFerrin & Los Hombres Calientes
A cute young fella named Bobby McFerrin had been playing and singing in a piano bar on the Florida Gulf Coast. He took a side trip to New Orleans, where he sat in with a new jazz group, Astral Project at the Old Absinthe, a French Quarter bar, in 1979.
Bobby was working on his vocal arrangements, and Astral Project was setting its direction toward lyrical improvisation on a ferocious, or delicate, New Orleans beat.
Together, they played four nights a week for five months. Then Bobby moved on to San Francisco to become a tremendous solo artist, improvising vocalist, choral arranger and now symphony conductor. The awesome Astral Project continues to transcend musical categories as well. JazzSet captured a 1999 Bobby McFerrin/Astral Project reunion, outdoors in Cain Park in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. It's one of our favorite recordings, ever.
Los Hombres Calientes
Los Hombres Calientes (the hot men!) is all about "N'Awlins." Opening our second segment onstage at the 2002 San Jose Jazz Fest, leader Bill Summers calls up hometown gourmet delights, from beignets to oysters to crawfish etouffee and beyond.
For Los Hombres Calientes, New Orleans is the northern-most Caribbean country. The band has traveled to Trinidad, Haiti, Cuba, Jamaica and even Brazil, to meet musicians and record five CDs for the Basin Street Records label. Rolling Stone magazine calls the concept "a brilliant travelogue."
Yet it's not so much about differences between these countries; it's about cultural similarities, exciting your ear and moving your feet.
"I Mean You" by Thelonious Monk
"Moondance" by Van Morrison
"Voodoo Bop" by Steve Masakowski
"St. Thomas/Dance with Me" medley
Themes from Cuba
"I Shot the Sheriff" from Jamaica
New Orleans parade theme
Tony Dagradi, saxophone
Steve Masakowski, guitar
David Torkanowsky, piano
Jim Singleton, bass
Johnny Vidacovich, drums
Los Hombres Calientes
Co-leaders: Irvin Mayfield, Jr., trumpet, and Bill Summers, percussion
Leon Brown, trumpet
Steve Walker, trombone
Devon Philips, tenor sax
Victor Atkins, piano
Edwin Livingston, bass
Ricky Sebastian, drums
Los Hombres Calientes/Basin Street Records
San Jose Jazz Society
Producer Becca Pulliam; Executive Producer Thurston Briscoe III @ Jazz 88, WBGO in Newark
Ginger Bruner, recording engineer, @ KUNV in Las Vegas
For the McFerrin / Astral Project recording @ Cain Park, Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Thanks to the concert producers, the City of Cleveland Heights together with the Northeast Ohio Jazz Society
Thanks to Janet Barlow
Field producer Lisa Stewart
Recording engineer Duke Markos
For the Los Hombres Calientes recording @ San Jose Jazz Festival
Thanks to Steve Saperstein
Field producer Duke Markos
Recording engineer Phil Edwards
Assistants Bill Rock and Brian Edwards
Copyright 2007 NPR