Heigh-Ho, my happy rainbow tribe! Bobby Patrick your RAINBOW review here. Put the silent T in cabareT to bring you all the Ts!
So this week, my lambkins, Bobby put on his Spanish and felt the beat as we donned our bow ties and patent leather shoes for a trip to the very Lincoln Center on Friday night. You see darlings, proud Mexican composer Jaime Lozano‘s recent work, SONGS BY AN IMMIGRANT, is a performance (and an album available on iTunes) on diversity and inclusion. After a series of sold-out performances downtown, Jaime rounded up his band and singing buddies and moved everything to the swanky Stanley H. Kaplan Penthouse at Lincoln Center for the AMERICAN SONGBOOK series. Dedicated to bridging the gap between his Mexican heritage and the culture of his adopted country, the performance shifted quickly and easily between English and Spanish in song and sometimes speech, like Lozano (in his adorable accent) asked his bilingual viewers to help him. translated Spanish words for him whenever his English momentarily failed him. An excellent singer and musician in his own right, Jaime served not only as performer/musician but also as musical director and arranger for this evening of entirely original compositions. Joined on stage by his “Familia” (family being the theme of the evening, in fact), an all-Latin line-up of actor-singers from Broadway and beyond, Lozano’s audience was treated to breathtaking voices from part of :
who were all singing at the top of their game and with considerable vocal ranges in front of an equally gifted group of Jaime’s hermanos:
Guitar / cello – Agustín Uriburu
Trumpet – Raúl Agraz
Bass and acoustic bass – Ruben Rodriguez
Drums – Joel Mateo
Percussion – Jonathan Gomez
Sax / Flute – Alberto Toro
All of this happens with Jaime singing, conducting and playing piano, guitar and Bajo Quinto – a sort of oversized guitar with lots of strings – the musicality and musicianship was beyond comparison and the sold-out crowd were not just there for it, but lived for it, from start to finish. Lozano’s sounds on the night encompassed a Latinx/Jazz fusion in a way that was both sincere and danceable. Believe me little Bobby, darlings, the audience would have been standing stomping on the floor if there had been room among the plethora of small round tables filling the space. It’s now that Bobby needs to drop some rain with that rainbow. Each of these small tables was surrounded by six uncomfortable chairs and provided hard-to-navigate legroom for 2 guests and non-existent space for the other four. With a program that lasted 1h45 – whatever the look of the room, with its magnificent view through a panoramic window on 3 walls and its elegant mood lighting by Ayuma “Poe” Saegusa – the only real comfort for us in the stalls was the music. But what music was it…
The highlights of the evening were performances of Jaime’s songs FAR FROM HOME, WINGS, & NO PODEMOS REGRESAR – all sung by the composer’s wife, Florence Cuenca. Now, you could call it nepotism foul here, but this GODDESS (whom Bobby was experiencing for the very first time) wasn’t just utterly fantastic in the singing/acting and acting/singing departments, she truly seemed to be the ONLY choice of performer for her husband’s notes – even though she was put on at the last minute for WINGS, which forced her to use a lyric sheet that miraculously didn’t distract too much from the audience. story she sang. Here you have to drop a few more drops of rain and add a critique to this critique… For too much of the program, the sound of the powerful band overbalanced the vocals. With trumpets, reeds, strings and Mateo’s powerful percussion behind them, the singers, without ever being totally obscured, felt like they were singing behind a curtain of sound. Fortunately, this circumstance felt like it resolved itself pretty much in the middle of the night, and we’re sure sound guys Ken Blessing and Danny Shepherd made some tweaks and recalibrated from their soundcheck d ‘origin. Another KO voice in the night was Shereen Chilli, singing Te Soñé a composition with both music AND lyrics by Lozano. Basically, my dear readers, all of the actors listed above gave their all in a wonderful way and brought the man’s music to life individually through each number, but while the theme for the evening was “FAMILIA” and that each song was a journey in and of itself, the evening as a whole did not turn into a single, identifiable journey from start to finish. The program was made up of songs about the immigrant experience sung by superb performers, but despite the unifying themes stated, each song was an experience in itself, rather than stops along the way in a cohesive evening from start to finish. end. These are little jabs we take from a show that really went like Buster’s Gang in the room… and so Bobby just dribbled his baffles a bit here.
All in all, on a night of chair dancing and meaningful cultural connections, Jaime Lozano: SONGS OF AN IMMIGRANT was more than a beautiful evening, it was a party with FAMILIA. And so we give this one a solid…
3 ½ out of 5 rainbows
What if Latin Rhythms are your Jam my Lambs – Click & Pick up Jaime Lozano: SONGS OF AN IMMIGRANT on iTunes
And we further suggest everyone to check Lincoln Center American Songbook series, BECAUSE – To make the arts more accessible, tickets are available on a Choose What You Pay basis. There is a suggested ticket price, as well as options to pay more or less. But who can argue with a paid ticket to hear some of the best musicians and artists in town?
Find out what’s coming for Lincoln Center’s AMERICAN SONGBOOK: HERE
Tweet Jaime on his Twitters: HERE
See his InstaPictograms: HERE
And follow you on Ye Olde FaceBooke: HERE
All photos by – Kevin Yatarola