Cubana Bop plays West Side Story
10th May 2013
Welcome back then amiable Terry Seabrook, last seen at this venue in
his project on Miles Davis' 'Kind of Blue'. Tonight it was with a different
combo, sassy Cubana Bop, who performed an enjoyable enough performance
of Leonard Bernstein's inspired West Side Story, with lyrics by Stephen
Sondheim. The idea was that Romeo and Juliet has been transposed to the
backstreets of 1957 New York but not in the original show format here
being sung on a song by song basis.
The Latin Jazz evening got under way with a rousing 'Prologue'. Seabrook
on piano, Graeme Flowers trumpet, Ian Price saxophone, flute and clarinet,
Davide Montavani bass, Satin Singh congas and percussion and Adam Riley
on drums and timbale capturing the mood from the outset.
The show included two singers - Paul Roberts, ex-frontman of the Stranglers
and a former Swingle Singer, in Jo Riley. It was Roberts who appeared
first on stage in front of the packed stage. He started in miffed fashion
asking if there were any 'Scousers, in the audience; in truth, as the
turn-out was not that great, this was a little ungracious to those who
had turned up.
Nevertheless we were up running. However it was not until 'Maria' that
the male vocalist got into his stride. The backing was as vibrant as could
be expected. Jo Marshall entered and 'Somewhere' was performed to sotto
voce accompaniment. With 'there's a place for us , a time and a place
for us' ringing in our ears it was a time to reprise a lively enough first
The backing continued to add textures, driving riffs and sonoroties,
while bit solo-piece backing was not amiss on the well lit stage, colours
shimmering off the diamante red drums and sparkling piano alike, but up
front the singing never truly became electric. The titles are so well
known house-hold names that the audience could not help but join in as
'Tonight' and 'America' inevitably came and went.
At the end there was a sense that this West Side Story still had more
to tell, enjoyable enough as it had been, as we filed out humming our