Ugh! So behind again in posting. I gotta learn how to do a quick post about a concert I attend.
On Friday March 11 at the 92nd St Y TriBeCa, the string quartet Sweet Plantain, as uncategorizable as it is excellent, played a great set of original music and covers of Cuban pieces, opening for the phenomenal pianist Fernando Otero and his group (which included a killer, sexy bandoneón player).
As I sat with a friend in the club setting (nice bar area and tables in front of the stage, which surprised me-I was expecting something more like the Upper East Side 92nd St. Y’s concert hall) of the venue’s main space, so delighted to be hearing terrific music by musicians I’d never heard of until recently, I got why Steve Smith and Nate Chinen were so enthusiastic about preparing event listings when I heard them speak earlier this month. Of course if you care about music, you want people to know about what’s coming up so that they will actually attend the events. It was through the Time Out New York fabulous music listings (Steve’s in charge of those) that I had found out about this event by looking to see what was scheduled for the night. “This is amazing!” I thought. “More people should be here.“ And I realized that if I were writing/blogging about music as a full-time gig, I’d want to be telling people about shows like this in advance, too.
Since then, it the only person I’ve talked to about the show who already knew of either Sweet Plantain or Otero went to school with David Gotay, Plantain’s cellist. No one, even my pianist friend who is nuts for Piazzolla and tango music (very much a part of Otero’s language) had heard of Otero–who won a frigging Latin Grammy, for crying out loud.
Now you do. Check them both out–well worth it. Sweet Plantain plays with technical virtuosity, energy, commitment, and a sense of fun and adventure. And they do original music. The return of the performer-composer is such a big part of the revitalization of the music formerly known as “classical.” Not only is this sort of we-want-to-connect-with-audiences creativity very healthy for music, but it’s also a fantastic way for a young group to establish itself in the musical marketplace. And Otero? Well, his Grammy-winning album is great (I became such a fan at the show that I actually bought one–would have picked up a Sweet Plantain album, too, it they’d had some for sale), but in person he (and his colleagues) are phenomenal. Electrifying.
(And this was a pretty quick post. Whew!)
[edited to correct spelling of Otero. Oops.]