Prince of Asturias Foundation concerts · 13-10-2005
After Dark 'Round Midnight' · por James Graff





The Bob Sands Big Band opened for Juan Coloma. The band played an introductory old-style set to a packed house, with solid instrumental work and just the right pace to get the audience in the mood, an audience that applauded time and time again: after every song, after every solo, and after every tutti section. It was a spectacular way to raise the curtain on the Cajastur and Prince of Asturias Foundation concerts.

Juan Coloma appeared on the stage to the tune of «Fly me to the moon» before moving on to «You make me feel». He soon expressed his first words of appreciation for the spectacular backing he had behind him: the big band and the Horacio Icasto Sextet.
Impeccably suited with not a crease out of place, Coloma models himself on the great crooners of the past, and from the word go leaves us in no doubt as to his love for a style of music that has been around for decades and has stood the test of time: «When I was young, not so very long ago», joked the singer, «a record by Count Basie fell into my hands, and I dreamed that one day I would sing in front of an orchestra. And here I am now, with Bob Sands, who decided to set up a big band to celebrate a birthday». And Bob Sands offered us a host of musical highlights, both as band leader and player alongside his great orchestra.
And so as to leave no one out of his accolades, Coloma added, with a touch of humor: «I didn’t think a big band was going to be enough. So I thought I’d get Icasto’s sextet behind me as well».
This paved the way for a session which explored every permutation and combination possible: vocals backed by piano, big band and singer, sextet and soloist, and everyone together. He also went down among the audience, wireless mike in hand («Luck be a lady»). A tap dancer rounded off what was a very complete show.

The first numbers by the big band were followed by an instrumental set with the sextet, with Horacio Icasto on piano and all his group putting in a spectacular performance. Next came the voice of Coloma backed by the sextet. We were treated to real pearls of popular music in a variety of registers spanning the entire globe: we heard the sensitivity of the bossa «Eu sei que vou te amar», the melancholy of «Caminito» (with piano accompaniment in the second part). Before that came «All right with me» and «Mundo raro», the famous piece by José Alfredo Jiménez.

And in amongst a plethora of classic songs was an endless flow of talent from the musicians. The stage was packed and from time to time delivered some musical surprises.

Such as the opening bars from Antonio Serrano with his harmonica, or Ara Malikiam’ subtle violin (who had to wait on stage for a few minutes while they sorted out his mike). It was a constant ebb and flow of musical touches, interspersed with the voice of Juan Coloma. As he himself explained to this newspaper, his voice lends itself to different styles, although his predominant style has a very stateside feel to it.

To close he chose a heartfelt rendition of the blues number «One for my baby», «New York, New York», and «Strangers in the night».

That brought the curtain down on a show that had everything, one that kept the Oviedo audience rapt and enthralled throughout. Today it’s the turn of Gijón, where Coloma is putting on his show in the Cajastur Cultural Center, at the Colegiata San Juan Bautista.





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