A mere two blocks south of UNM’s main campus, budding musicians and old New Mexico favorites offer a range of jazz styles every Monday night.
The Outpost Performance Space, 210 Yale Blvd. S.E., continues its sixth annual Summer Monday Jazz Nights series, allowing experienced and up-and-coming musicians to showcase their love of jazz from different eras.
The Outpost’s crowd is generally an older audience. Musicians are respected and given full attention, with the exception of applause following solos. The space has a mellow atmosphere, complete with stage lighting and foam cushions on folding chairs.
On July 16, Michael Anthony led an ensemble with a strong Caribbean and Latin American flavor. Anthony led on guitar; Rodolfo Gonzales played flute; Milo Jaramillo was on the bass; Ken Battat was on drums; and Tony Qui§ones owned the congas. The group played a mix of old Latin standards and some of Anthony’s and Gonzales’ compositions.
It was the group’s first performance together, but the experienced musicians communicated well and more than pleased the packed house.
I prefer a brassier sound, which meant I wasn’t thrilled when the ensemble offered a light version of the Spanish classic “No Me Placticas Mas.” The group more than made up for it with “Conversation Para Dos,” which was written by Gonzales.
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They had the subdued audience members bobbing their heads and tapping their feet. The sound was full, passionate and everything you expect from a Latin jazz ensemble. I never thought a flute could play such a prominent role, but Gonzales was all that and more.
The group closed its set with another crowd pleaser, “Silent Fury,” which was written by Anthony. It offered a fast-paced tempo, and some impressive guitar and flute solos, during which both artists showed off their improvisational skills. However, they were dwarfed by the impressive percussion duet by Battat on drums and Qui§ones on the congas.
The series will run for the next six weeks, with each event highlighting different schools of jazz.
Pianist Joseph Slack, trumpeter Dan Perlman, bassist Zimbawe Nkenya and drummer Dave Wayne will perform July 23. Taylor’s group features vocalist Wendy Beach, guitarist Dimi DiSanti and drummer John Bartlit. They will be playing an evening of original, standard and contemporary jazz.
Tickets, which are only sold at the door, cost $8 for the general public and $6 for Outpost members. For more information about the remaining performances, call 268-0044 or visit the Outpost’s Web site, www.outpostspace.org.