JAZZ AT THE CROSSROADS
ROMAN DÍAZ & RUMBA HABANERA
Román Díaz and Rumba Habanera continue their fifth year of a residency at Zinc Bar, the first Thursday of every month.
“AfroCuban master drummer Román Díaz and his nine piece ensemble perform the potent magic of the AfroCaribbean experience: the ritual drumming, dance and call-and-response singing handed down from generation to generation in secret societies in Cuba; a living repository of the Yoruba, Congo and Abakuá cultures.” – Jazz at the Crossroads
Though Román Díaz came to fame as a member of the world-renown folkloric ensemble Yoruba Andabo, the Rumba he brings to Zinc Bar is a departure from the rehearsed, choreographed presentations of Cuba’s official touring groups. His Rumba Habanera is the authentic, spontaneous Rumba of the back alleys and inner courtyards of the tenements of Havana. 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 why the Rumba attracts visitors from la crème de la crème of musicians from every genre, from famous percussionists (Francisco Mela, Nicky Marrero, Mark Quinones and Samuel Torres) 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 baseball cap & sweats).
At first glance, the improvisations 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 improvisations occur within a ritual of call and response between the performers and the audience. 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.” – Dita Sullivan, producer, Jazz at the Crossroads
Cover $20 at the door