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Tribute to Herbie Mann

- Jazz Corner

Jazz and Cabaret Reviews

Tribute to Herbie Mann

Dave Valentin on C Flute
Ruben Rodriguez on Bass
Milton Cardona on Congas
Buddy Williams on Drums
Tony Cintron on Drums
Bill O’Connell on Piano
Andrea Brachfeld on Flute
Lou Volpe on Guitar

And Special Guests:
Paquito D’Rivera on Clarinet and Alto Saxophone
Carlos "Patato" Valdes on Congas
Ray Barretto on Congas
Lew Tabackin on Tenor Saxophone and Flute

Maucha Adnet on Vocals
Duduka Da Fonseca on Drums
Hélio Alves on Piano
Nilson Matta on Bass
Claudio Roditi on Flugelhorn and Trumpet

Blue Note
131 West 3rd Street at Sixth Ave.

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
November 11, 2003

Herbie Mann (whom I had the honor of once hearing for an evening in a Club in New Orleans) was the quintessential Jazz Flutist. He traveled around the world and specialized in fusing jazz with Brazilian music. Herbie Mann was born Herbert Jay Solomon in Brooklyn, NY, in 1930. Mann started playing the clarinet as a child, and then played flute. He played Bop in the 1950’s and recorded on bass clarinet and on flute. In 1959, he created the Afro-Jazz Sextet and toured Africa and Brazil. He recorded Bossa Novas in Brazil in the 1960’s and integrated pop music with cultural sounds and rhythms. He appeared in Newport, and in the 1970’s branched into reggae and disco. By the end of the 1970’s, Mann returned to jazz and recorded with Dave Valentin. Mann founded various recoding labels in which to pursue his musical interests. (Blue Note Publicity).

Tonight’s second set was very special at Blue Note, the swank and sleek Jazz Club in Greenwich Village, home of many of the past and current Jazz Greats, including Herbie Mann. Tonight, Dave Valentin led a caravan of Jazz Stars through a warm-hearted and sometimes misty eyed medley of personal and musical memories of one of the greatest flutists and certainly the most famous contemporary Jazz flutist of all times. I had seen Dave Valentin perform at The Copacabana with Jose Alberto and other great Latin musicians. Dave is a passionate performer and a born leader, as he keeps the music and audience alive and energetic. He created a special Tribute to his dear mentor, Herbie Mann, by inviting surprise guests and friends of Herbie to perform in various ensembles onstage, including a group from Brazil, Mann’s adopted country and beloved culture.

There were so many unexpected guests arriving to perform tonight, that there may be omissions in the above musician list. Andrea Brachfeld led a Quartet of flutists, who played in harmony and contrast, with rolling melodies, eliciting Folk intonations in this first, more esoteric piece. The intellectual moment was soon eclipsed with dynamic, Latin rhythms, with the strong presence of Lou Volpe on guitar. Ruben Rodriguez on bass provided depth, and Buddy Williams’ percussion went wild. A special guest, "Patato" Valdes, who has been seen of late celebrating his birthday (let’s just call him a tradition), took the congas, but not until he tuned them by hand for what seemed an eternity. This piece was a heated Salsa, and the diminutive "Patato" was all smiles, as he mesmerized his fans. Bill O’Connell’s keyboard created overtones of Valentin’s fantastic flute, and Volpe’s guitar added steely, sultry, and sensual effects. When Ray Barretto took over the Congas, repositioning and re-tuning them onstage, he immersed the club with rapid and rolling rhythms.

Tony Cintron took the percussion position, and there was chanting and singing at the congas. When Lew Tabackin arrived, he played a Japanese inspired piece on flute. I could have imagined Lew in Japan, as he was so at one with this music. He even stamped his foot to emphasize rhythm. His second piece, in contrast, was a ballad turned Swing, as he seamlessly moved from flute to tenor saxophone. Lew heated this Club with wild and driven sounds. Andrea Brachfeld returned onstage with her own pianist in a special arrangement for flute and keyboard. Volpe, on guitar, provided class and character.

Trio Da Paz brought Paquito D’Rivera onstage with his charismatic clarinet. Hélio Alves on piano, Nilson Matta on bass, Duduka Da Fonseca on drums, Claudio Roditi on flugelhorn and trumpet, and Maucha Adnet on vocals brought Brazil to Blue Note, and Bossa Novas and Sambas resounded within. Blues Walk was melodic and mellow. Matta on bass played a dynamic solo, and Ms. Adnet was sexy and sensual, as Brazilian music requires. Her long, dark hair and throaty lyrics provided warmth and class to this eclectic mix of music and musicians. When Paquito, in fullest personality and appeal returned on clarinet, Ms. Adnet hummed along. Portuguese never sounded better. Paquito has humor and strength, always in control, always engaging his fans. Roditi is one of the finest trumpet performers around, getting the octaves tipped upside down and gaining strength with each phrase. Da Fonseca on percussion was exciting and energizing, and Alves played a piano jazz solo that brought the crowd to admiration. Dave Valentin joined this vocal Sextet and the ensuing piece was rhythmically riveting.

Herbie Mann was smiling down on Blue Note tonight. This was truly a Tribute to remember.

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at