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Tiempo Libre

Deseret News

Concert review: Tiempo Libre gets bodies grooving

Deseret News

Friday, May 4, 2007

by Scott Iwasaki

TIEMPO LIBRE, Kingsbury Hall, Wednesday
A tropical storm pulled into Kingsbury Hall Wednesday night as Cuban-American band Tiempo Libre took the stage.

Rich Latin beats filled the hall and got the audience members up and dancing. All that was missing was the heat and humidity — and a few wet and cold drinks ordered from a nearby cantina.

Tiempo Libre — the name means "Free Time" in the band's native Cuba — is comprised of band leader/keyboardist Jorge Gomez, vocalist Joaquin "El Kid" Diaz, bassist Tebelio "Tony" Fonte, saxophonist Luis Beltran Castillo, percussionist Leandro Gonzalez, trumpeter Pavel Diaz and drummer Hilario Bell.

Bell was the first onstage and started off with the beat. Surprisingly, the sound was a bit muddy to begin with, which could have been because the hall's orchestra pit was set up so audience members could dance at the foot of the stage. Once the floor filled with grooving bodies, however, the acoustics became a little better.

Still, the mix didn't stop anyone in the audience from having some fun and letting loose. Those who weren't in the pit were bouncing in their seats — or at least tapping their toes.

The sound for the second half of the show was better. "El Kid's" vocals were heard over the instruments instead of getting lost in the mix.

During each set, Castillo and Pavel Diaz were able to hold instrumental duos and duels as each tune unfolded.

Gonzalez's congas highlighted the syncopation from Bell's drums and Gomez's keyboards, creating a Cuban nightclub feel.

Fonte's bass (he played a six-string bass) laid the low foundation as the band cranked out the celebratory soundscapes.

Tiempo Libre's style is not just merely Cuban jazz. It's a style called Timba, an artistic blend of jazz and Cuba's traditional music, called Son. But from the energy that burst from the stage and the return it got from the audience, anyone could tell the show was a successful cultural exchange.

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