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Jazz Café in San Pedro, Costa Rica

Wednesday, March 12th, 2008

After dinner with friends last night we stopped for a drink at Jazz Café in San Pedro. It’s the only spot in San Jose to listen to Jazz that I know of, and the only Jazz bar I know of in Costa Rica to be honest.

In any case, Tuesday nights are their “Jam Session” nights and some locals were playing when we arrived. There was a drummer (whose drums were too loud) and a bassist (whose bass was too quiet), a pianist (who played clumsily) and a saxophonist (whose sax looked like a child’s sax and who had no lungs).

It was amateur hour but still fun, they were jamming away and their enthusiasm was fun to watch and the moment I wondered if they’d play my favorite (’Round Midnight) they started playing it. They butchered it, playing it too slowly, too soft and with bad timing on all parts but I was happy to hear someone play it live for the first time in ages and ages.

I sense an hour of ‘Round Midnight renditions coming on….

Maná’s concert in Costa Rica

Wednesday, November 21st, 2007

Mexican band Maná came to Costa Rica yesterday for their Amar es Combatir tour and played in the Ricardo Saprissa Stadium in Tibás. I had only recently been introduced to their music, and liked a couple of their songs like Bendita tu Luz and Labios Compartidos but my girlfriend likes them and there aren’t as many concert opportunities in Costa Rica as in most countries so we went.

We bought VIP tickets and while that granted us instant entry to the concert it also meant that we were uncovered in the rain, as the show was held in Saprissa’s soccer stadium and the seats close to the stage were out on the soccer field. The rain wasn’t too bad but I wish we hadn’t arrived early as the concert started late.

Mana started off with some songs I didn’t know, and even the ones I did know aren’t exactly concert songs but I had fun because they made good use of visual effects to underline the meaning behind their music ranging from political to environmental and they had a very positive sincerity to them. Nevertheless I wasn’t completely into their concert and spent some of the time looking up from the field at the packed stands and imagining that I was playing football in Saprissa stadium.

Leaving was a huge pain in the ass, as a sea of about 20,000 people instantly filled the neighboring streets so we stopped in a weird Chinese restaurant and waited for the crowd to disperse before heading home.

‘Round Midnight by Thelonious Monk

Sunday, November 18th, 2007

I’m caught in a loop of various renditions of Thelonious Monk’s ‘Round Midnight right now. Miles Davis just more than did it justice with Thelonious on the ivory in the last version I listened to and I have to give it its due and declare it the greatest jazz standard of all time.
My favorite renditions include Mr. Monk himself, but so many great jazz musicians have taken it on and played the hell out of it.

I so very much wish to see a jazz giant perform it live one day…