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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 »
This is a fine collection of performances. I enjoyed Tito Puente's segment most--it's a nice farewell to a great musician. He evokes the men who preceded him, like Mario Bauza, Machito and Chano Pozo (whose conga playing on records with Dizzy Gillespie was a great joy of my teenage years). Bebo Valdes was also wonderful; alone, or in duets with his son Chucho or with Cachao. The only sour note was provided by the schlockmeister Gato Barbieri, purveying dull world music (does anybody remember the soundtrack album for Last Tango In Paris? that was great make-out music from Gato).
I liked this a lot more than Carlos Saura's banal flamenco and tango films, which were the last gasps of a dying filmmaker.
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