Walter Broadnax, impresario of Doc B Productions, has long done a stellar job of hosting both local musicians and noteworthy national acts, but even by Doc B’s usual standards the concert at The Thompson House this Thursday, November 15 is exceptional. A legend in his own right, Cuban-born percussionist Candido has performed with such jazz icons as Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie and Sonny Rollins. Candido is now 91 years old, and one of the questions I’ll ask him Thursday night is, have you ever played in Cincinnati (well, greater Cincinnati) before? I dare say that if he has, it’s been a very long time, and if you ever want to see him, I do not advise staying home and watching Seinfeld reruns on this particular evening. The show will be from 8 pm to 11 pm, and tickets are $25. Here’s a link to Doc B’s webpage for the event.
Sometimes I struggle to find a song that, by itself, makes it clear that someone is an amazing talent, but with Candido that was not a problem. Three musicians perform on this youtube clip: Sonny Rollins on tenor saxophone; bassist Bob Cranshaw, who has been Sonny’s right-hand man for decades; and Candido. The whole song is great, and toward the end Sonny and Candido engage in a musical face-off that prompts me to ask the following question: is this not the hippest music you’ve ever heard?
The talent pool for the evening does not end with Candido, by the way; in fact, he’s the special guest for an ensemble that’s co-led Jane Bunnett, a highly respected soprano saxophonist. As Kenny G has oft proven, listening to soprano sax can be a saccharine experience, but Bunnett has a much edgier style when she wants to (and can play quite lyrically as well). Again I wonder if she has ever stepped foot in (greater) Cincinnati before. This is a rare experience to see some heavyweights carrying on the Afro-Cuban jazz tradition that Candido helped forged many decades before. God bless Doc B for bringing music of this quality to town.