Los Hombres Calientes
May 21, 2004
Trumpeter Irvin Mayfield and percussionist Bill Summers were dressed very well, but they betrayed their appearance by getting down into the funk and sweating it out. Decked out in a navy blue suit, Mayfield stalked the stage with the arrogance of some rappers. He shouted affirmations into the mic and hunched his body over when he belted out an impressive solo. This let everyone know this was not a night of reverence but a night to party. With LHC's smokin' music filling Tips Friday night, getting down wasn't difficult.
Los Hombres Calientes have been nominated for a Grammy, won various awards, and they've put out four albums in the six years they've been together. There's a reason for their popularity. They transcend jazz. Their song structures, full of solos and scarcely repeated themes, are born of jazz. But, I was having so much fun dancing and enjoying their multi-layered music that I forgot I was listening to a "jazz" band. It makes sense, though. Their Latin and world music influences melded together seamlessly to provide a spice that was hard to deny.
The band was bigger than the sum of its parts. Pianist Victor Atkins was a monster on the keys. He made me move my position on the dance floor to catch a glimpse of his finger-work. Veteran drummer Ricky Sebastian knew what to play when, a very hard thing for any drummer to learn. The interplay between his minimalistic drumming and the quick handwork of Summers on the congas was an eargasm. Bassist David Pulphus was solid.
The band was joined onstage by The Funkin' Horns, a trumpet, trombone and sax trio that sipped champagne from the back and provided an incalculable amount of vitality and texture to the music.
Do I even need to say anything about Mayfield or Summers? Mayfield is becoming a legend and Summers already is one.
Mayfield got the crowd to clap their hands, and he christened the concert an end of the semester celebration. If I heard him correctly, he dropped out. He did some vocal chanting. All the while, Summers sat behind his drums with a quiet confidence and a loud vigor. He struck his sticks together to provoke the audience, and he was a joy to hear.
If you want a dance or party guarantee, please see these guys. They'll get you moving.