ROMAN DIAZ & MIDNIGHT RUMBA and special guests Mauricio Herrera, Emilio Valdés, Jennifer Hernandez & surprise guest performers.
Thursday December 31 @11 pm & 1 am
AfroCuban master drummer Roman Diaz & his eleven piece percussion & vocal & dance ensemble perform the magic of the AfroCaribbean experience.
Rumba is the celebratory drumming, dance and call-and-response singing that came to the Caribbean from West Africa. These rituals, handed down from generation to generation in secret societies in Cuba, are a living repository of the Yoruba, Congo and Abakuá cultures.
Román Díaz, a leader in the Abakuá community of Cuba, came to fame as a member of the world-renown folkloric ensemble Yoruba Andabo – but the Rumba he brings to Zinc Bar is a departure from the rehearsed, choreographed presentations of official touring groups. His weekly Midnight Rumba – now in its third year of a residency at Zinc Bar – is the authentic, spontaneous Rumba performed in Havana’s back alleys and tenements, often played on handmade instruments and wooden boxes. This Rumba, rarely seen by outsiders, is the Rumba of ambiente: an atmosphere building toward ecstatic fervor at the threshold of possession.
That seductive, mysterious ambiente might explain the critical acclaim that Midnight Rumba received from their show at the NYC Winter Jazzfest in 2013. And why the Rumba attracts la creme de la creme of musicians of every genre, who come back week after week – from famous percussionists (Francisco Mela, Nicky Marrero, Mark Quinones and Samuel Torres) to the hot young Cuban singers Melvis Santa and Jennifer Hernandez, to jazz pianists (George Burton, Aruan Ortiz, David Virelles and Axel Laugart) and the celebrated New Orleans jazz saxophonist Donald Harrison, who sits in – and fits in – on almost every trip he makes to New York. Sometimes a superstar of Latin pop will show up – Ruben Blades came by recently – and there are frequent visits from a Hollywood movie star (going under the radar in hipster disguise of baseball cap & sweats).
At first glance, the improvisation of the Rumba might seem to resemble a jam session -but Rumba is invocatory and ceremonial in a way that jazz no longer is. The Rumba’s improvisation occurs within a ritual – a call and response between the performers and community. Above all, it’s about giving and receiving – a communion that transforms the alleyway and the tenement courtyard into a sacred space. To see the Rumba performed is to look into the womb of Afro-Antillean music; Rumba is the source, where it all comes from: the jam session, and jazz itself.
ROMAN DIAZ & MIDNIGHT RUMBA
THURSDAY DECEMBER 31
SETS: 11 PM & 1 AM
first set: $40 @tables, $25 @bar second set: $20 general admission
ZINC BAR 82 W 3rd St NYC
~ A JAZZ AT THE CROSSROADS PRODUCTION ~
Photo: Tomas Peña