Audiences gave a long and enthusiastic standing ovation to Simón Bolívar Big Band Jazz at the last concert of their U.S. tour, which took place Saturday at New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall in Boston. A day earlier, the band played a free show at the Skirball Center at New York University sponsored by the Consulate General of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in New York and the Industrial Bank of Venezuela.
“The heart and soul of this group is very strong, just like its musicality and technical ability. The universities and conservatories of Boston need more of that spirit. I think they should go to Europe, tour the world, and bring their music as far as possible and to the greatest number of people,” said Bob Moses, a bass player, composer and member of the faculty at the New England Conservatory who joined Venezuelan band onstage for two songs.
Many praised Simón Bolívar Big Band Jazz for its skill in improvisation, its instrumental technique, vitality and expressiveness, as well as its ability to interpret classic jazz standards and contemporary songs while incorporating Afro-Latin styles.
“The whole concert was extraordinary. The energy is fantastic, the soloists are incredible. Sometimes you go to concerts where everyone plays well, but there isn’t that sense of enjoyment. Here you can feel the enjoyment. You can see that they like playing together,” said Joseph Foley, head trumpet player of the Rhode Island Philharmonic.
The concert culminated with the song “Caravan,” by Duke Ellington, in which the Venezuelan group incorporated tambores – the drums of the central region of Barlovento.
When the group left the stage, a euphoric audience began to sing Venezuelan songs, a gesture which the musicians greeted by returning for an encore and improvising while some audience members came up and danced to the tambores.
Simón Bolívar Big Band Jazz, founded four years ago by Valdemar Rodríguez and Andrés Briceño, is part of the outreach program of the Simón Bolívar Conservatory, an institution of the National System of Youth Orchestras and Choirs of Venezuela, which belongs to the Simón Bolívar Music Foundation.
AVN / Press – Embassy of Venezuela to the U.S. / November 7, 2011