Friday, August 15, 2008

Video: Cuba - Frank Oropesa "El Bongocero Cubano"

Francisco "Frank" Oropesa, my absolute favorite Cuban bongocero of the current era.
Clean and articulate, his playing is unfettered from "1,0001 variations of a roll".
Playing bongoes hecho en Cuba, no Lp's or foreign crap.
Definitely "in the zone"

Frank Oropesa with Aristides"Tata" Güines


patricio said...

I don't very well his face,
but he seems to be
Francisco Oropesa "Franck", who now is director del Septeto nacional

The style is the same, the sound is the same, the colour of the skin is the same, but he seems much younger there.

I would have voted for him ifhe appeared in the list. I like Manny Oquendo and Orestes Vilató too.

Paoli Mejías ts much more modern,but he's the one. Anthony Carillo is great too.
Many are not cuban, so my vote is for Oropesa.

Fidels Eyeglasses said...

Yes, that's a younger 'Francisco Oropesa' playing Bongoes.

Personally, I don't enjoy Paoli Mejías or Eric Velez' playing at all. They are certainly without a doubt a "highly proficient technical" players, but it quickly gets boring for me. Someone gave me two CD's by him, I gave them away, every song sounded like the one before it.
There's no question that drummers like Paoli Mejías and Anthony Carillo have an arsenal of "Billy The Kid" "chops"... YouTube is now full of young players like this.

(Billy The kid was "the fastest gun in the west".... until someone faster came along)

To me, all those type of players are Changuito/Giovanni "clones".
(The worst being Richie Flores)
When I watch or listen to a jazz Sax player... I don't want to listen to a "clone" of Charlie Parker or John Coltrane.
When I watch or listen to a Conga player... I don't want to hear or see a "clone" of Changuito or Giovanni, there is only one Changuito and only one Giovanni. (and we all know "who" Giovanni got "it" from)

As far as a "modern" player... Tata Güines was a "modern" player who developed a completely original style, just as Charlie Parker developed a "new" and "original" style and technique.

For me, my favorite "modern" Conga player was 'Jorge "El Nino" Alfonso' and his style of playing. When I watch or listen to him.... I don't feel like I'm watching a "Chinese acrobat".

I don't know how things are in Europe... but here in New York City there are several "schools" that turn out young players that all sound "schooled" and sound like technical "Chinese acrobats". Boring erratic playing.

There is nothing "artistic" about trying to "cram in" as many beats as possible in a solo, but being able to use empty space/s is an art.

For me, the beautiful thing about players in Cuba is that nobody sounds the same!
You can listen to 20 different guys and each one has his own sound and style.

These are only my personal opinions, you are certainly entitled to yours.