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Volume 15, Number 1
January 19, 2008

Panama Jazz Festival special

Also in this issue's culture section:
Photography, José Ponce's urban scenes
Panama Jazz Festival schedule
Sparky the Wonder Dog
Poets' Corner
More muñeco photos
Music videos, An online inauguration concert


Wayne Shorter
Wayne Shorter, a rare treat for Panamanian music fans

Jazz Festival Friday at ATLAPA
Meeting Luba Mason, visiting a new dimension with Wayne Shorter
by Eric Jackson

It doesn't require a saxophone to be jazz, but no other instrument is so closely identified with the idiom, and more often than not, the outstanding pioneer of any great jazz trend has played the sax. The cutting edge trends of the past are today's canon, such that many a talented student and maybe even most journeyman musicians can play like Charlie Parker or John Coltrane. This, too, will be the inevitable fate of Wayne Shorter.

But for now, nobody plays like Wayne Shorter, and only the very best are able to play with Wayne Shorter. Very privileged were those in the auditorium at ATLAPA, to hear the difference.

At the opening press conference, Panama Jazz Festival creator and Wayne Shorter Quartet pianist Danilo Pérez said that even he doesn't understand Shorter's music. But what could be more natural than that? See, Danilo is from little Panama, which may seem exotic to a lot of people in different latitudes. But to the rest of humanity, he's a homey --- you can tell by his UNICEF ambassador's vest. Wayne Shorter's different. The sounds he makes constitute a prima facie case that he's from another dimension.


Brian Blade


John Patitucci


Danilo Perez reaches into the piano to pluck a string
 

*     *     *


Luba Mason

Luba Mason is a singer of Slovak descent from New York. She does a lot of different stuff, some of which one would know by obtaining her next CD, Krazy Love, which is to go on the market shortly. In recent years she has been singing some jazzy Brazilian tunes.

This year's Panama Jazz Festival was a male dominated affair, with Luba Mason as one of the exceptions. The "female vocalist" niche covers a huge territory, whether one wants to consider music in general, jazz or the narrower world of the Panama Jazz Festivals. Considering that at festivals past Panamanian fans have heard the likes of Nneenah Freelon and Cat Russell and many other female singers from the national and international music scenes, and considering what we heard from Mason, she belonged onstage at the festival according to her own merits.

Backed by four excellent Costa Rican musicians who are the heart of her band Kava, Mason also had the support of world class six-string electric bassman Jimmy Haslip playing with her throughout, and guest appearances by perennial jazz flautist of the year Hubert Laws and her husband, Tourism Minister Rubén Blades.


Hubert Laws


Jimmy Haslip


Rubén Blades












Also in this issue's culture section:
Photography, José Ponce's urban scenes
Panama Jazz Festival schedule
Sparky the Wonder Dog
Poets' Corner
More muñeco photos
Music videos, An online inauguration concert





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© 2009 by Eric Jackson
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