The sky is the limit for this eclectic Dominican-born pianist. A member of his native country's symphony orchestra while still in his teens, Michel Camilo made the decision to leave that position in 1979, when he went to New York to study at Juilliard. At the same time, he hit the local jazz scene. A mere four years later, The Manhattan Transfer won a Grammy for the recording of his composition "Why Not?"
As a versatile performer and composer in his own right, Camilo is equally comfortable playing classical music, Broadway tunes, and jazz, but it is in the last genre where he thrives. Over his three-decade career, he has shared the spotlight with legends such as clarinetist Paquito D'Rivera (with whom he toured extensively in the early Eighties), the late percussionist Tito Puente, flamenco guitarist Tomatito, and countless others.
Jazz, alas, is not on the menu this time around. For his appearance in South Florida, he will showcase his classical side with a performance of Sibelius's Piano Concerto No. 1. Also on the bill is the Florida Symphony, which, under the direction of conductor José Antonio Molina, will play Ginastera's Suite from the ballet Estancia. For lovers of the classics, this is a night not to be missed.
Michel Camilo: Saturday, December 6. The Knight Concert Hall at the Arsht Center, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami. Show begins at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $30 to $120. 305-949-6722, www.arshtcenter.org
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