Richard Doron Johnson

October 14, 2006

Bebo Valdes Brings Cuba!

Filed under: Uncategorized — rjjazz @ 8:49 pm

Yesterday was the last day in North Carolinia for this tour and it turned out to be a great week. Our last school for the week was Northwest Performing Arts Academy. They had a really great theater we performed in and they welcomed us warmly. We did a performance and a workshop and boy did they welcome all of our suggestions to making their jazz band better. By 11:30am it was time to move on and get to the airport. Half of the band was flying out of Charlotte and the other half out of Raleigh. I was more than happy to be flying out of Charlotte since it was the first stop.

Well my next stop was New York City. I always love it when the plane touches down in one piece into LaGuardia Airport (I would be very unhappy if it did not touch down in one piece trust me)! Since I had the night off in the city I decided to go see Bebo Valdes in concert at Rose Hall. For those of you who have no clue who he is, his son is Chucho Valdes the worlds greatest cuban piano player. But guess what, his father plays piano too and showed him the foundation for everything he plays on the piano. I thought this would be more than applicable for me to see and experiance since my father plays piano also. Let me first say the concert was great. The first half he played mainly solo. You could really see the maturity in his playing style via him playing alone. During the second half the Latin Afro big band accompanied him directed by Arturo O’Farrell, giving him reminders of Cuba through out their musical sections.
Arturo shows Richard some love!
Arturo shows Richard some Love after not seeing each other for about 4 months!

The concert ended at 10:30pm to a standing ovation. By this late hour I was tired (having been up since 6am) but I decided to go and meet Bebo since he is almost 90 years old. Upon meeting him he spoke to me in broken English. Once I realized Spanish might be better to speak to each other in a whole conversation about where I am from and what I do began. After about 5 minutes I decided it was time to leave because there was a line of people waiting to shake his hands (his hands are huge, he can spread an octave and a half for those muscians out there). Before I left he said to me “Are you coming back tomorrow night?” I replied,” I wish I could but some off us have to work.” He then said ” I wish I had a job like you” and I said, ” You know, one day when you get a little older you might be so lucky.”
Old and Young together.  Which is Which?
The Old and Young together. Which is Which?

On my way home I thought that was a great experiance I am glad to have had the opportunity to meet him.

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