It so happened to be a sunny day in London, the first that drew the colours and smells of warm spring from the pink blossoms of the trees down to the street. Seizing the opportunity, Alfredo Rodriguez had captured this warmth and let it shine from the stage of Kings Place.
Alfredo’s latest album Tocororo is full of this same bounding warmth which permeated the evening’s set (and by all accounts the duration of this UK tour). Arranged for his touring trio (Munir Hossn on electric bass + guitar, Michael Olivera on drums) the music conjured all sorts of global rhythms and melodies. Like the band, the music was drawn from South America and Cuba, dancing with joyful ease between cowbell punctuated ballads and the first ‘Besame Mucho’ that Kings Place will have heard with a slap-bass intro.
The three artists generated enough laughter and buoyancy to compensate for an occasionally stilted audience. This seemed like music to dance to and if there was one thing the gig was missing it was the same carefree hip gyrations that bassist Hossn exhibited throughout. Olivera added everything you’d want to hear from a Cuban-infused drummer and then topped it up with a jacket and smile that both illuminated the righthand-side of the platform. Alfredo’s use of vocoder also helped to flesh out some of the vocal-led tracks and there was a sense of carnival that continued throughout.
The last time London saw Alfredo, it was in the grandiose setting of the Royal Albert Hall as one of the soloists at the Quincy Jones Prom complete with orchestral arrangements. Stripped back to trio and raw passion, this excitingly growing talent was even clearer to see, radiating from first note to last.
Listen to Tocororo here.