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Exhilarating concert by Roberto Fonseca band at Howard Assembly Room / The Reviews Hub

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This exhilarating concert by Roberto Fonseca was the first in a short UK leg of a European tour – and how lucky we were to get it when only the Midlands and London, apart from Yorkshire, were able to hear this wonderful band. Roberto Fonseca is best known in Europe for being the pianist with the Buena Vista Social Club on international tours, but his current album, ABUC, from which he took much of the concert, delves deep into the spirit of Cuban jazz – the observant will have noted that it's the work of someone who knows CUBA backwards!

 

At the start of the single long set only bassist Yandy Martinez, drummer Ramses "Dynamite" Rodriguez and conga drummer Adel Gonzalez took to the stage and the pulsating rhythm set up by the two drummers set the tone for the evening. The appearance of Fonseca and a feisty horn section built a little call and response between piano and horns before Javier Zalvi's booting baritone sax and Matthew Simon's mariachi-tinged trumpet took potent solos. The thing built from climax to climax – no need to warm up. 

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