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Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
Performance Reviews
Jazz at Lincoln Center

Jazz in Motion: Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra and Ballet Hispanico World Premiere - Palladium Nights

by Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
April 21, 2006
Jazz at Lincoln Center
33 West 60 Street, Floor 11
New York, NY 10023
(212) 258-9800

About the Author:

Jazz in Motion: Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra and Ballet Hispanico World Premiere - Palladium Nights

Jazz in Motion
World Premiere of
Palladium Nights
Frederick P. Rose Hall
Rose Theater

Featuring the
Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra
(Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra Website)
Arturo O'Farrill
Ballet Hispanico

Arturo O'Farrill and Tina Ramirez, Artistic Directors
Choreography by Willie Rosario
Dramaturge by Edwin Sanchez
Set Design by Neil Patel
Costume Design by Emilio Sosa
Lighting Design by David Weiner
Press: Scott Thompson and Zooey Tidal

Ballet Hispanico:
Verdery Roosevelt, Executive Director
Derek Munson, General Manager
Gina Bugatti, Artistic Associate/Rehearsal Director
William Schaffner, Production Stage Manager
Mark Hankla, Lighting Director
Costumes by Grace Costumes, Timberlake Studios,
Juan Median Tailors, Arnold S. Levine, Inc.
Set Construction by John Creech Design

Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra:
Arturo O'Farrill, Music Director, Piano
Michael Philip Mossman, Trumpet
Darryl Shaw, Trumpet
Jim Seeley, Trumpet
Mike Rodriguez, Trumpet
Luis Bonilla, Trombone
Gary Valente, Trombone
Reynaldo Jorge, Trombone
Douglas Purviance, Bass Trombone
Bobby Porcelli, Alto Saxophone
Erica Von Kleist, Alto Saxophone
Pablo Calogero, Baritone Saxophone
Mario Rivera, Tenor Saxophone,
Ivan Renta, Tenor Saxophone
Ruben Rodriguez, Bass
Vince Cherico, Drums
Jimmy Delgado, Percussion
Tony Rosa, Percussion

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
April 21, 2006

(See Ballet Hispanico Reviews and Photos)
(Read More about Salsa/Mambo)


Characters: Mira (Angelica Burgos), Sparky (Waldemar Quinones Villanueva), Lola (Irene Hogarth-Cimino), Veronique (Candice Monet McCall), Antonio (Rodney Hamilton), Nina (Sara Kappraff), Casanova (Eric Rivera), Miss Chi Chi (Natalia Alonso), Woody (Iyun Harrison), Buster (Nicholas Villenueve), Hester (Kristine Covillo).

Act I:

Such Love, by Arturo O'Farrill: The Party Begins

Cuban Blues, by Chico O'Farrill: The Dance Lesson

3-D Mambo, by Tito Puente, arr. José Madera, Jr.

Trumpet Fantasy, by Chico O'Farrill: Veronique and Antonio's Nightclub Act

Tanga Bolero, by Mario Bauza, arr. Chico O'Farrill

Picadillo, by Tito Puente, arr. José Madera, Jr.: The Competition

Act II:

Chico and the Man, by Chico O'Farrill: The Night is Young

Guaguasi Empire, by Chico O'Farrill: Lola's Boys: Woody, Casanova, Buster, Sparky

Wild Jungle, Composed and arr. René Hernandez

Manteca, by Dizzy Gillespie and Chano Pozo, arr. Chico O'Farrill: A Mambo Jamboree

Pura Emocion, by Chico O'Farrill: A Love Duet

Sambia, by Mario Bauza, arr. Michael Mossman & Marcus Persiani

Pianarabatibiri, by Chico O'Farrill: Last Call

The Journey, by Chico O'Farrill: Sunrise

Para Los Rumberos, by Tito Puente, arr. Jose Madera, Jr.

Tonight's very entertaining combined program, at Jazz at Lincoln Center's Rose Hall, with Tina Ramirez' Ballet Hispanico teaming with Arturo O'Farrill's Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra, was hot, spiced, and virtuosic. Not only did we hear O'Farrill's 18-piece orchestra, with greats like Tony Rosa and Jimmy Delgado on Latin congas and percussion, but also, of course, we had O'Farrill on a powerful piano performance, as he conducted with his busy arms, at the keyboard and at center stage. Front stage were the 11 Ballet Hispanico dancers, athletically and aerobically entertaining the audience, but also entertaining the musicians. At one point, the musicians were bouncing in their seats.

O'Farrill gave us his renowned father, Chico O'Farrill's, Cuban Blues, Trumpet Fantasy, Chico and the Man, Guaguasi Empire, Pura Emocion, Pianarabatibiri, and The Journey. With Willie Rosario's choreography, re-creating the infamous nights at the Palladium Ballroom, and Emilio Sosa's ruffled, sexy, silky costumes, the Ballet Hispanico dancers exemplified the best Salsa/Mambo/Rumba techniques this side of Puerto Rico. These dancers are coy, classy, characteristic, charismatic, and creative, as they spin, leap, lift, flirt, and generally cause a stage sensation, whether in solo, duo, or ensemble. Veronique and Antonio's Nightclub Act, to Chico O'Farrill's Trumpet Fantasy, featured Candice Monet McCall and Rodney Hamilton in a most sensuous duet.

Sometimes the orchestra played on its own, as the dancers casually flirted at the bar tables, in Neil Patel's appropriate stage set. Throughout the evening, it seemed that this was a total trumpet fantasy, as all four trumpets seemed to dance on their own, wild and wooly. The four trombonists (one bass) and five saxophonists enhanced the all-that-brass bravura brilliance. Even a samba snuck in, as Sambia, by Mario Bauza, added a nod to Brazil, while Tanga Bolero turned the rhythm to undulating exoticism.

Natalia Alonso, Miss Chi Chi, is one of the most mesmerizing Latin dancers today, with Rodney Hamilton, Antonio, a strong male virtuoso. All the Ballet Hispanico dancers were equally charming and engaging, with Candice Monet McCall, Eric Rivera, and Irene Hogarth-Cimino especially effervescent. Tito Puente's Para Los Rumberos closed the night with the full company in effortless abandon, legs winding about partners and dare-devil dramatics. At one point, I saw a Salsa Rueda, with a circle of dancers constantly switching partners in like rhythms and steps.

Palladium Nights is a perfect example of what happens when a seasoned dance company and a seasoned orchestra collaborate for a tribute to a genre. The Palladium styled Mambo (called Salsa now) is a genre to keep alive and active. Kudos to Arturo O'Farrill, Tina Ramirez, Willie Rosario, the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra, Ballet Hispanico, and Jazz at Lincoln Center for this most successful World Premiere.

Ballet Hispanico
Photo courtesy of Ayano Hisa

Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra
Photo courtesy of Ayano Hisa

(See photos from the Ballet Hispanico / Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra rehearsals)

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