Watching Elio Villafranca last night, January 14, 2010, at the post Crane Resort and Residences (St. Philip) for the Barbados Jazz Festival was a sumptuous buffet of Cuban and jazz flavors. The interplay between Villafranca and band members like Jane Bunnett (flute and sax) painted a colorful contrast to the festival. The rhythmic variations of the songs created an interesting flow that allowed the band to stretch their artistic legs a bit. Having two percussionists added layers of sonic vibrations to the arrangements.
Villafranca left the piano to sing during one song in his native language. However, it was his nimble ability to fly across the keys that was perhaps the most mesmerizing display of the evening. The energy and joy that came from the piano spoke volumes for the artist. During the concert, Villafranca encouraged the audience to get up and dance. His music was indeed meant to be experienced in all realms of the senses. While the conservative crowd was a bit shy, the verbal responses and applause from some members of the press box spoke volumes.
The Barbados Jazz Festival continues through January 17, 2010.
Editor's Note: 1/18/2010 update