By Jaime Torres Torres
For National Foundation for Popular Culture, Puerto Rico
In recent years the fusion of the bomba and jazz has aroused the interest of great Puerto Rican musicians, such as William Cepeda, David Sanchez, Papo Vázquez and the veteran saxophonist José ‘Furito’ Ríos.
The most authentic marriage between both expressions, in our opinion, has been achieved by Furito. This assertion was proven when in 2015 he surprised with the album “Standard Bomba”, a concept in which he incorporated to the rhythms or six of the sicá, Dutch, Cuembé and Yubá, among others as part of the standards of the bebop era immortalized by Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, and other legendary jazz players.
In 2016 Furito was the revelation of the Puerto Rico Heineken Jazzfest, achieving the unanimous applause of the critics. Last weekend, as part of his search and tireless creative workshop, Furito released the second volume of Standard Bomba, entitled “This is my bomba!” conceived around original compositions that confirm his vast knowledge of the jazz language.
We attended the second of the two functions of its premiere on Saturday, June 23 at the café-Teatro Punto Fijo of the Center of Fine Arts of Santurce.
In an intimate atmosphere, common to jazz clubs such as the Village Vanguard in New York, and surrounded by friends, family, and music lovers, Furito presented the sequence of Standard Bomba II, which consists of original compositions in which the pump merges with different sixes or rhythms of Afroboricua expression.
Although the focus of attention generally points towards their alto and tenor saxophones, the group that includes Diego Centeno, Manuel Pérez, Amarilis Ríos and Vitito Emmanuelli (barrels), Adrián Ruiz (drums), Carlos Torres (bass) and Manolo Navarro (piano) ) is fundamental in the success and profitability of the proposal “This is my Bomb!”
The evening included “Blues of the sky”, “The old colony”, “Julia Ester”, “Talita cumi”, “Las weasels”, “Isaías” and “Delfines”, fusion of the element of jazz improvisation and swing, with his overwhelming phrasing tinged with the influence of hard-bop on his development as a jazz saxophonist. His compositions, respectively, link to the exuberance of jazz the Dutch rhythms, yubá, cuembé, corvé and others accentuated with precision by the leader of the barrels section, the experienced folklorist Vitito Emmanuelli.
We can not overlook the melodic beauty of Furito’s compositions. Great standards of jazz, such as “Summertime”, “Afro Blue”, “Equinox”, Saint Thomas “and” Giant Steps “, among others, have transcended by the beautiful simplicity of their themes and Furito, graduated in Composition, has the ability to suggest a lot in a few bars and communicate too much during the improvisation around their melodies.
Standard Bomba II by Furito Ríos, without the pretension of the easy exit of a hyperbole, is jazz of unquestionable quality that deserves exposure and international projection.
Spanish to English Translation: Tomas Peña