Cubanismo, New Swing Sextet & Dayme Arocena

Posted on Apr 6, 2016

I have been fortunate to have seen some incredible shows during the past 2 weeks.  Jesus Alemany and Cubanismo played phenomenal Cuban music in a myriad of styles from Mambo to Pilon at the SF Jazz Center.  To hear this kind of music in a concert setting is practically a sin. However, Alemany wasn’t one to have anybody sit down once the musical heat blasted from stage from this top notch group of performers, he obligated you to stand, clap, sing-a-long and dance in front of your seat.  The music was so good that you had to obey..happily…..On the other hand, the SF Salsa Festival had the Park Central ballroom floor open and ready for New York’s explosive New Swing Sextet.  The Sextet reunited a number of years ago but had their start in the late 1960’s.  They are a tight, exciting band with the classic Joe Cubaesque vibes sound played expertly by vibist George Rodriguez.  These veterans had the dance floor packed and rows of standing admirers in front of the stage hypnotized to the beat.  Classic hard core salsa for the aficionado y para el bailador!…..Dayme Arocena is a force of nature.  This diminutive powerhouse of a vocalist from Cuba didn’t fool around at The New Parish in Oakland.  Backed by an exceptional piano and bass duo, her potent music went beyond genres as she covered Afro-Cuban, Jazz, RnB, EDM and Funk!  She was a striking sight dressed all in white like a Santeria princess as she radiated charisma and warmth.  She connected with the audience with her beautiful smile, impressive vocal range and songs full of emotional depth.  She invited Oakland based DJ Cecil to jam with her and the results were a crowd delight.  I first saw Dayme last year as part of Jane Bunnett’s Maqueque and I was impressed.  After this stunning performance, I’m convinced that this is a rising star in the making.