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Fernando Trueba presents his love affair with Latin jazz, his camera following 13 giants into the studio. Trueba drapes walls with single colors - red for Jerry González and the Fort Apache band, white for Tito Puente; his camera is close to faces, instruments, hands, and feet; bands' colors contrast with walls or their leader's clothes. Chucho Valdés does a pyrotechnic solo then joins his aged father Bebo for a subdued duet. Puntilla Ríos takes us to Africa, Chano Domínguez to a marriage of jazz and Flamenco, and Eliane Elias, her shoe-less foot on the pedal, to gorgeous and muscular elegance. With Paquito, Cachao, Patato, Chico, Gato, and Michel Camilo, we travel Calle 54. Written by
Jerry González is shown in concert repeating the names of the featured performers of the film while the screen splits into multiple part with each featuring footage and the name of each performer as the names are called out. In addition there are smaller boxes with the other bandmembers and their names seen in this film. See more »
"Calle 54", named after New York's 54th street where most of the studio filming was done, is a gift from director Fernando Trueba ("Belle Epoque") to lovers of Latin Jazz everywhere. The film features 90 minutes of music by some of the idiom's finest artists with bonus material including a director's voice over offering brief commentary and bio's on the featured artists and interviews which trace the origins of Latin jazz in general and Afro-Cuban jazz specifically. Artistry includes la musica picante of Tito Puente in his final weeks to the haunting sax of Gato Barbieri. However, such notables a Arturo Sandoval, Poncho Sanchez, etc. more were not included leaving plenty of room and yearning for another installment. A must see/hear for Latin jazz lovers. (B+)
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