6 June 2015
I booked the internationals for the Capital Jazz Project, given that I've seen many of the locals over the years and would more likely see them again. One international act was the Ospina Brothers form Colombia and I knew nothing about them. They were two brothers and two South American support players based in NYC. Each brother led a trio for one set. Colombians; latin fusion was mentioned. Since the days of Diz, jazzers have loved latin for the rhythms, the patterns, the clave, the space for improv and the life of it all. I lucked on a great night. These brothers were young, on an early tour. At least one had studied at Berkeley. There was enjoyment and energy and enthusiasm here. There was a source in the rhythms of Colombia, from the seaside and the mountains and the plains. There was some singing. There were arrangements. Andres' e-bass was modern, 5-string, playing with slap and fingers and chord style, and plenty of nice solos and nifty little written lines. The drums weren't drums but percussion. Marcel sat on a cajon, had bells on one leg, played two djembe and another drum and several stacks of cymbals with sticks and hands and brushes and brooms (yes, brooms! You could have used these for cleaning the floor and the sound was soft and fat). There were some very nice divisions of the beat here. I especially liked the congas with their more cutting, higher tones. Juan Andres played the first set with his jazz-influenced takes on Ecuadorian grooves and plenty of effective jazz solos and just a few songs. Nicholas sat in for one tune on maracas and this was a revelation. I've only ever seen them played as something simple, but this was all body movement and rich rhythms and true interpretation of the tune: maracas as a genuine instrument. Nicholas led the second set on piano and plenty of singing. I guess he was more true to a folky Colombian music, more sentimental, less jazzy improv-ed. Juan Andres sat in for one song on some nicely effective melodica. I caught some lyrics but mostly didn't catch the titles. What a pleasant surprise! Young guys; enthusiastic, lively and likeable; interesting takes on Colombian latin grooves. Much enjoyed!
Juan Andres Ospina (piano, vocals, melodica) and Nicholas Ospina (piano, vocals, maracas) were supported by Andres Rotmistrovsky (e-bass) and Marcelo Woloski (percussion). They played at the Street Theatre for the Capital Jazz Project. They were introduced by Caroline Stacey (Artistic Director & CEO Street Theatre) and the Colombian Ambassador, Dr Clemencia Forero-Ucros.