Camilo's House

He's played for the President, been decorated by the Dominican Republic,and Michel Camilo can't stop smiling

Camilo carries plenty of classical technique over to the jazz world A the extended forms, the two-handed passages A but it is improvisation that excites him most. "Instant creativity, that's what I call it. The challenge is every time you go on stage, to come up with new ideas and discover more about yourself. And not only that, but you get input from the audience and react to that. The challenge is trying to make a nice shape for a solo and really tell a story A have a beginning, a middle, and an ending. I try to think of the personality of the song. I try to say something with the concept of the song and trigger a mood and don't let go of it."

Soon Camilo will have something else to hold onto, the source of the excitement that has sandpapered his laugh to a grainy whisper. "I'm glad I woke up today after all the hoopla," he says wearily, but still beaming. "I've been going from interview to interview. And now I have to go and pick up that medal."

Michel Camilo performs at 8:00 and 10:00 p.m. Friday at the Lincoln Theatre, 555 Lincoln Rd, Miami Beach, 673-3331. Tickets cost $20 and $25.

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