Hilario Durán Latin Jazz Big Band at Koerner Hall

On the evening of Saturday, February 9, 2019, Cuban-Canadian piano master Hilario Durán and his Latin Jazz Big Band returned to Koerner Hall in Toronto. This band features some of the best jazz and Afro Cuban jazz players in our city, most of them are leaders of their own musical projects. As a very special guest was featured Horacio “El Negro” Hernández, who is regarded as one of the most talented drummers in the world. Horacio has been a longtime friend and musical collaborator who has participated in many of Hilario’s projects and recordings.

The evening got started with a pre-concert talk at 7 pm, followed by the first part of the concert at 8 pm. The opening theme was aptly entitled “Opening”, followed by “Angélica”, a composition by the late Emiliano Salvador, a highly regarded pianist and composer, one of the most influential Cuban artists of his generation. “Rumba y Tumbao” paid tribute to Pérez Prado and Bebo Valdés, two giants of Cuban music of all times. A lush arrangement showcased rumba, cha cha and bembé abakuá rhythms. Next, Hilario Durán introduced the audience to the pacá rhythm of Juanito Márquez, a guitarist and arranger who was very popular in the sixties in Havana. According to Durán the pacá rhythm was very close to mambo. The theme “Farewell” followed. “Tema de Bebo”, another composition by Chucho Valdés dedicated to his father was beautifully arranged for big band for this special concert. The first part of the show came to an end with “Misa Negra”, one of the classics of Irakere’s repertoire. Maestro Durán wrote a superb arrangement a few years back for a special piano duet concert in Cologne, Germany, with Chucho Valdés, accompanied by the greatest WDR Big Band. In Toronto, Durán had some special guests on this performance: Elizabeth Rodríguez (violin and vocals), Marta Elena (vocals), Yosvani Castañeda (vocals), Sarita Leyva and Iré Omó Afro-Cuban Dance Ensemble.

Right after the intermission, Hilario Durán was presented with the Louis Applebaum Composers Award, which was established at the Ontario Arts Foundation in 1998 by Louis Applebaum to recognize excellence in music composition. This year’s $15,000 award recognizes excellence in a body of work by an artist in the field of jazz.

The second part of the concert got started with a riveting version of Arthur Hamilton’s “Cry Me A River” on the fabulous vocals of Elizabeth Rodríguez, seguing into the rumba classic “Llora como lloré”, dancers graciously included, courtesy of Sarita Leyva and her dance troup. Next, Elizabeth Rodríguez (violin and vocals) was again showcased on the timeless bolero “Delirio” (César Portillo de la Luz). Right after, Marta Elena paid tribute to la Guarachera de Oriente, the immortal Celia Cruz, with el pregón “El Yerberito Moderno”. The programme shifted to rumba with “El Tahonero” and “Rumba de cajón (leke-leke)”. Both tracks from the album Contumbao. The night came to an end on a high note with the open rumba “Blem Blem Blem”, previously recorded by Durán. A long standing ovation honoured a true master musician, Hilario Durán, “Gloria de Cuba” (Glory of Cuba), and of Canada as well.

Danilo Navas
Danilo Navas
Founder, Editor, Webmaster: Latin Jazz Network, World Music Report, Toronto Music Report. A passionate and committed communicator with a sensibility for the arts based in Toronto, Canada.

More from author

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related posts

11,403FansLike
1,661FollowersFollow
656FollowersFollow
1,857FollowersFollow
5,655FollowersFollow
165SubscribersSubscribe

Featured Posts

Omar Sosa’s 88 Well-Tuned Drums: A Film by Soren Sorensen

Anyone approaching this film about the iconic Cuban composer and pianist Omar Sosa, by the award-winning filmmaker Soren Sorensen will be almost immediately struck...

Danilo Pérez featuring The Global Messengers: Crisálida

Danilo Pérez began forming his worldview - and aligning his music to it - ever since he came under the sphere of influence of...

The Feeling Messengers, Past and Present (Part II)

Miguelo Valdés & The New Messengers Of Feeling Miguel Valdés, or “Miguelo”, as he has since become known, was born in the province of La...

The Feeling Messengers, Past and Present (Part I)

Preamble Within the current renaissance of popular Cuban music, coupled with the seemingly eternal presence of its first cousin American Jazz, we are once again...

In Conversation with Carlos Cippelletti

Pianist, composer and arranger Carlos Cippelletti, is a promising young Spanish, Franco-Cuban artist from the last generation of Afro-Cuban jazz musicians born outside the...

Celebrating Jane Bunnett: Spirits of Havana’s 30th Anniversary

After dark they gather, the spirits of Havana. Is that a ghostly, but fatback-toned rapping down in the barrio where the great composer and...

Piazzolla Cien Años: Lord of the Tango@100

There is a now famous photograph of the great Ástor Piazzolla that is iconic for so many reasons. Chief among them is the manner...

Omara Portuondo, Multifaceted Gem of Cuban Music

My moon app announces that in 14 hours the Supermoon of May will be here. During a full moon I often get inspired to...

Ray Barretto · Barretto Power

Barretto Power: A Celebratory Reissue on its 50th Anniversary It was 1970 when Fania Records released Barretto Power, one of a series of seminal albums...

El Gran Fellové: Part 3- When my Parents…

When my parents bought their home in 1968, Sunset Beach was just another sleepy little beach town It spanned about one mile in length, sandwiched...

Join our mailing list

Participate in contests, giveaways and more