Carlos Nino and Friends opened the night with an organic percussion set that bathed the senses in sound. So lush and layered with texture and movement that giving in and trusting the process was rewarded by transcendence of the soul. I closed my eyes and felt the jungle, the forest, the sea with melodies so emotional that it became a mantra. This was spiritual jazz at its purest improvisational state.
This unique sound was made even richer by the blending of electronic sounds and acoustic instruments. Each thread blended to lend to the colors and emotion behind the music. Under Carlos’s direction the ensemble that included renown talent such as Miguel Attwood-Ferguson on the electric viola, Dexter Story on the drums, young cats, Black Nile on the alto saxophone and New School alumni —- on the piano, Benjamin — on the turntable and the legendary World Stage —- on the congas.
Things got real when —- began a conga solo to jazz standard that literally stopped the show. The audience and the rest of the band members gaped at the mastery on display. Ancestral was the word that came to mind as I watched him channel as a true conduit to past and future. A great moment if you needed a lesson in how to re-appreciate a humble instrument that is often treated like a lousy background singer. At some point he signaled to the transfixed band that it was time to resume, Carlos resigned and fully handed the man the floor.
The World Stage has been a constant in the Leimert Park community for over 20 years and has nurtured jazz and it’s purveyors as a home. Even when things were rough and jazz was flailing and struggling to find its voice amidst the noise. It’s been a home and