Chico is a young piano player with big dreams. Rita is a beautiful singer with an extraordinary voice. Music and romantic desire unites them, but their journey - in the tradition of the Latin ballad, the bolero - brings heartache and torment.
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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 »
If you are a music lover, any kind of music, this is a must see.
The introductions are brief and tasteful but the main strength of the film is that the performances are complete and very skillfully filmed, always in concordance with the rhythm and flow of each composition. Each performer gets to play in the same set in 54th street in Manhattan (hence the name) but with different colors reflecting the personality of the group or individual.
The common thread between all acts is that the music and performance is front and center, any context or description given are just a plus and the viewer is left alone to enjoy the virtuosos at work.
It's inevitable to pick favorites among all acts, for me Michel Camilo's dexterity, timing and taste are top.
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