Incognito, Al DiMeola, Eldar Djangirov stir the soul on the Riviera Maya in Playa del Carmen, only a short drive from Tulum
Once again, breezy and balmy was the weather along the seaside setting on night two of the Riviera Maya Jazz Festival, here in Playa del Carmen.
Nothing short of spectacular, the night began with Troker–a group of relatively young kats from Guadalajara, the birthplace of Mariachi music. In between the DJ on stage spinning Mambo, there was the occasional hint of Mariachi with a twist, adding to Troker’s high energy, jazzy, rock-grove.
Second in last night’s lineup was a 23 year old kat from New York who was nothing short of phenomenal on keys. His name is Eldar Djangirov. For me, his performance was the “welcome to a jazz festival” that touched my soul. Deeply steeped in classical music, with a mother who instructs piano at Yamaha’s school in San Diego and idols such as Oscar Peterson and Chick Corea, his performance was intensely and improvisationally jazz. In fact, I can’t wait to go and pick up some of his music!
Up next came the wonder and amazement of jazz fusionist and Latin jazz guitarist—Al DiMeola. For me, this was quite a welcome reunion after seeing DiMeolatwo summer’s ago in Atlanta, during the Return to Forever tour. For that show full of incomparable musicians, I brought along a friend who simply was not a true jazz aficionado. The constant disruptions (similar to being seated beside someone who talks all through church) became so uncomfortable that we ended up leaving early. Last night, however, DiMeola’s high energy performance was simply electrifying.
Closing out the second night of the Riviera Maya Jazz Festival was Incognito. And when they took the stage, we cut loose! Everyone–young, old, fat, skinny, everything and everyone danced to the jazz funk sounds of the UK based group who performed several songs by Steve Wonder, some Boz Scaggs and a host of other soulful favorites that brought the house down without Maysa–as much as we love her. In fact, the three singers included longtime member—Tony, from St Lucia, who (according to Incognito founder, Bluey, will soon depart the group to go on tour with Sade; Lorraine from St Vincent and Vanessa from Trinidad. All three singers upheld the standard to which we’ve become accustomed, as did the entire band, including the three kats on brass who towards the end of the night broke out with a bit of choreography that made for a relentless night of excitement. Seriously, Incognito performance last night took us from jazz festival to party!
And in your wildest dreams, would you believe me when I tell you once again that the Riviera Maya Jazz Festival —a four day event—IS FREE?