No man is a prophet in his hometown. So maybe that's why in six years of gigging like crazy all over town, pan-Latin rockers Bacilos registered nary a mention in New Times. Now that they're off to greener pastures, touring Latin America for the Miami-based WEA Latina label, the trio of Colombian-born frontman Jorge Villamizar, Brazilian-born bass player Andre Lopes, and Puerto Rican drummer JJ Freire is sorely missed. The University of Miami alums were staples at the Marlin, Churchill's, Tobacco Road, and the celebrated Stephen Talkhouse. Their self-titled, self-produced release is a document of those years, capturing the energy of the band's live shows and hinting at the range of Villamizar's songwriting craft. His vocal skills are impressively versatile as well, whether warbling on the heartbreaker "Soledad," warning of environmental destruction on "There Goes the Wood," or packing a political punch on "Chronicle of an Announced Immigration." If it's true, as they sing, that now everybody wants Taco Bell, Bacilos' fusion of Latin folk traditions with good old rock and roll is just the antidote for homogenized Latin pop.
An evening of exquisite understatement began when pianist-vocalist Shirley Horn took the stage at the Coral Gables Congregational Church and caressed the keyboard as she hadn't in Miami since the late Eighties. Joined by drummer Steve Williams and bassist Charles Ables, the 66-year-old Horn was touring in support of her album I Remember Miles. The Miles mentioned in the title was trumpet titan Miles Davis, who 40 years earlier had heard her album Embers and Ashes and lured Horn from her Washington, D.C., home to New York City. Subsequently she often opened for him at the Village Vanguard and carved out a career, which she relinquished a few years later for motherhood. Her piano chops remained, however, and when she and Davis reunited for her 1990 album You Won't Forget Me, it was as if they had never left each other's side. Even without her friend Miles, who has been gone for nine years, Horn proved that night in Coral Gables she could still astonish with her elegant piano styling, velvet voice, and serene presence. As she closed the show with a relaxed rendition of Butler and Molinary's wistful ode "Here's to Life," the awestruck audience realized at that very moment that life couldn't be any better.
Another lonely Saturday night? Tune into to Edwin "El Huracan" Bautista's dance program on Classica 92 from 7:00 p.m. to midnight and connect to dozens of Latin house parties happening all over Miami. For two years Bautista has been building a steady following with an intoxicating mix of salsa, merengue, and disco guaranteed to move the most stubborn booty. Bautista squeezes Donna Summer classics between old-school Latin jams by the likes of Sonora Poncena and the original Fania All Stars. "I play salsa with descargas, instrumental jams that none of the other stations play because they are too long," he says. "I don't care. I play it in my show, and people love it."

Not even Hurricane Debby could rain out the Rhythm Foundation, the organization that for thirteen years has brought the very best in world music to Miami. When a twenty-minute downpour drenched the North Shore Community Bandshell in Miami Beach where Brazilian artists Chico Cesar and Rita Ribeiro were scheduled to perform last August, the artists improvised an intimate two-hour acoustic set in the adjacent community center for the fans who braved the storm to hear forro music. Like so many Rhythm Foundation events, the Chico Cesar show was a Florida premiere, as was the spectacular moonlit show by Afro-Colombian pioneer Totó La Momposina and the mesmerizing North American debut of the Whirling Dervishes of Damascus. Concerts range from the educational presentation of folklore at the Dominican Youth Arts Festival to the awe-inspiring bossa nova revival of Marisa Monte to the experimental cross-cultural collaboration between composer Philip Glass and West African griot and kora virtuoso Foday Musa Suso. Without the Rhythm Foundation, Miami would be a quieter, less vibrant place.
For night owls who like their jazz straight-ahead with no frothy filler, Bob Parlocha's show is as bracing as a shot of espresso. Saxophonist and record producer Parlocha brews an eye-opening dose of bebop and a smattering of contemporary interpretations by the masters from 11:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. weekdays. Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane, and Charlie Parker classics bounce alongside sides from contemporary greats Kenny Burrell, Jack DeJohnette, and Terence Blanchard. Although his show is beamed from San Francisco via satellite to more than 220 North American cities, Parlocha has a knack for creating an intimate setting. Subtle drum strokes, calm horns, and wild pianos can transport listeners to dark and smoky jazz dives of days gone by. Listen closely and imagine muffled conversations and tinkling highballs. "I want to take people out of their surroundings," Parlocha says. "If I can get them in a club in 1969, that's perfect. Jazz is the best of the human race -- it's our best hour."

Beloved Dominican television host Rafelito Marerro began his career at age four, dancing rumba with the voluptuous starlet Tongolele in the Fifties. In the Sixties he earned the nickname "pampered child of Dominican society," for his talk shows featuring international stars. In the past decade, he made his way to the radio airwaves in Boston as a host. At his house there, a prominent composer visiting from Puerto Rico found one of his verses in a drawer and told him he must dedicate himself to song. The moving ballads he has composed since have garnered awards across the United States. He moved to Miami just in time to win the grand prize in the Latin category of the John Lennon Songwriting Contest 2000 for his tune "Anoche Soñé" ("Last Night I Dreamed"). Aptly Marerro's neoclassical love songs are the stuff dreams are made of.
Paquito Hechavarria has played and recorded with everyone from bassist Israel "Cachao" Lopez to vocalists Gloria Estefan and Christina Aguilera ("You know, she doesn't speak any Spanish"). Back in the old days, he played with Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis, Jr., at the Fontainebleau. Currently he sits behind the baby grand at the Deauville five nights a week, pounding out standards, Latin jazz, and pop with equal parts perspiration and inspiration. The man is so good he's not only the winner for this category; he's the first three runners-up.
Lady Bug, Lady Bug, fly on the microphone! Your lyrics set fires; your message hits home! No woman or man, from her witty acoustic pan, can take on the global-military-industrial-masculine-musical-complex as well as she can.
This is the nightmare: Madame de Boredom and her band are on stage again. Off in the shadows stands a juggler from Hollywood. Suddenly out of nowhere he leaps onstage. The juggler goes for the jugular! Madame de Boredom runs out. The reality is that there is no Madame de Boredom when the juggler is onstage. In truth the juggler is Mr. Entertainment. And Mr. Entertainment is Steve Toth, former BellSouth operator, onetime prop for Boise and Moss, erstwhile juggler for the One-Eyed Kings, bassist in the now-defunct band Lee County Oswald, frontman for the dissolved Faberge Dildo, and leader of the short-lived Bob White Orchestra. In 1996, before the "tiny" concept was hatched, Mr. Entertainment embarked on the Living Room tour, in which he played rock originals and covers in living rooms throughout the South to teensy audiences ranging from one to a dozen people. Tragedy struck in 1999, when another venture, Mr. Entertainment and the Pookie Smackers, ended after producing a homemade CD, 1926 Funstown Street. The Pookie Smackers refused to tour, thus snatching fame and fortune from Mr. Entertainment's grasp. But out of those ashes the Tiny Show (previously Mr. Entertainment and the Tiny Show) was born. Among its first steps was Mr. Entertainment playing toy pianos and Fisher-Price xylophones on Thursday nights at Churchill's. But my how the Tiny Show did grow, into an ensemble including a saxophone, trombone, drums, steel guitar, and a bass fashioned from an inverted metal washtub sprouting an oar. The repertoire can range from Johnny Cash tunes to Who songs to Toth originals such as "Tour de Hotown" "Pete the Gay Republican," and "Plastic Dog Doodie Salesman."
Founded by Richard Laguerre, formerly of the popular roots band Boukan Ginen, the Haitian rasin group Adjah conjures the talents of dyaspora musicians living in Miami, including Georgina Padilla, Jean Francois Damas, Carline Ruiz, Jocelyn E. Gourdet, Billy Philomi, and Jimmy Daniel. To live up to its name -- which means spirit possession in Kreyol -- Adjah fuses rock and roll with a wide range of vodou rhythms. While most rasin music is founded on rara rhythms, Adjah incorporates congo, petwo, mahi, and yanvalou, making it all the more likely the gods will take over and set the crowd dancing.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®