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Undead Music Festival’s Final Days, Sosa, Adujah, Palmieri

Jazz Notes

Ron Scott | 5/15/2014, 5:11 p.m.

Sosa’s quartet included saxophonist Leandro Saint-Hill, bassist Childo Thomas Madangela and drummer Ernesto Simpson. Together, these musicians are a fierce, intuitive force that reflects the voice of African and Latin culture. Like a Baptist preacher, Sosa sweats and claps his hands as the music forces the audience to clap and move in their seats, baring witness to the uplifting spirit.

He plays the piano with cascading, pounding notes. His musicians alternate on electric bass and timbales. There are Latin beats, salsa swing rhythms and funk. The audience wanted more. There aren’t many pianists who can free your soul like Sosa.

The Christian aTunde Adjuah Dectet: Stretch Music is the most dynamic improvisational ensemble on the jazz scene, as he recently demonstrated at Harlem Stage as part of the Harlem Jazz Shrines Festival. The young trumpeter from New Orleans has nurtured a 10-piece ensemble that uses the seeds of Miles Davis’ innovative fusion concepts to create Adjuah’s own creative movement of jazz.

This isn’t a fusion band—it is a creative ensemble that plays a mixed improvisational brew that includes, at times, fusion, the swing from New Orleans’ strutting marching bands, electric funk and blues from the core. Adjuah can play it straight. He has a smooth, mellow tone that can sink the blues into any tune or raise the notes to the sky, urging audiences to move to the beat. The guitarist Cliff Hines is an electronics wizard whose technology blends in to stretch the music.

Adjuah gave his musicians opportunities to stretch out on their solos. The vibraphonist Warren Wolf was involved in an intense conversation with the two drummers Corey Fonville and Joseph C. Dyson Jr., along with deep undertones from bassist Max Moran.

All the tunes were originals. The many instruments offer the band the chance to perform with a variety of textures, including high sweet notes from 19-year-old flautist Elena Pinderhughes, a student at Manhattan School of Music. Vocals were provided by Isadora, Adjuah’s wife.

“This unit was created with the mission of eradicating all arguments that inhibit creative thought and experimentation in music,” stated Adjuah.

Eddie Palmieri is the “Salsa King.” He has inspired audiences and musicians since the 1960s, and his album “Azucar Pa’ Ti (Sugar for Me)” is a international anthem. During his recent engagement at the Blue Note, the audience yelled for more as they moved frantically in their wooden seats with an urgency to get up and dance.

Palmieri dedicated “Life”—a tune, he noted, he was playing for the first time—as a tribute to his wife of 60 years who had passed away on May 3, only four days prior to this engagement. The tune was a moving melody of the pianist’s hard-hitting notes that moved with a heartfelt intimacy, producing some watery eyes in the audience.

During the evening, the pianist told many jokes and kept swinging with a variety of special guests, including vibraphonist Joe Locke, alto saxophonist Donald Harrison, baritone saxophonist Ronnie Cuber and violinist Alfedo De La Fe. He took the audience back to those swinging days when he performed in the Bronx at the Concourse Plaza and downtown at the Diplomat Hotel for serious salsa dancers only.

Palmieri gave his son Eddie Jr. credit for putting this dynamic band together.