The Cuban-Jewish All Stars Heat It Up at The Jewish Museum Summer Nights Festival Last Night
Photo by Tony Napoli- Deep in the Heart of Brooklyn
Roberto Rodiguez was born in Cuba, raised in Miami and now lives in Forest Hills and the Catskills. When asked if he is Jewish he responds "Almost." He lovingly describes hanging at the beach in Miami with his dad and trips to Wolfie's Deli.
From his website: He has performed "with Ruben Blades, Lester Bowie, T-Bone Burnett, Randy Brecker, Paquito D’Rivera, Julio Iglesias, the Miami Sound Machine, Joe Jackson, Dave Liebman, Paul Simon, Lloyd Cole and Phoebe Snow. His deep interest in Jewish music was sparked by an ongoing klezmer renaissance that started in the mid-’80 and by composer-alto saxophonist John Zorn’s series of Radical Jewish Culture recordings on the Tzadik label, and, thirdly, by playing drums in Jewish guitarist Marc Ribot’s Los Cubanos Postizos band."
"When Zorn asked if he would like to record an album of Jewish music for Tzadik, Rodriguez jumped at the opportunity. Drawing on his experiences in Miami and NYC bands, he began composing for the first time in his life. Soon enough, he enlisted the help of musicians like clarinetist David Krakauer and entered the recording studio. El Danzon de Moises (The Dance of Moses)—overflowing with fresh, remarkable Judeo-Cuban music — appeared in 2002 to critical raves from DownBeat, the Village Voice and many other publications. The formation of Septeto Rodriguez and a new album followed."
The passionate driving, Cuban rhythms of the Sexteto's bass and percussion meld with deeply spirtual, sometimes mournful, always exuberant Yiddish ballads. The Afro-Cuban + Jewish sounds form a perfect "soul music."
Wolfie's maybe gone from Miami Beach, but Roberto Rodriguez and the Sexteto have captured the spirit and prove if food be the music of love, and if music be the food of love, then play --and eat -- on and on and on...
A sample of the Sexteto's sound on "El Sabor Del Shabbat" performed in Krakow last year here
Mr. Rodriguez's website here