Simon Bolivar Big Band – Products of the pedagogy “El Sistema”
by Jeremiah Bornfield
On Friday last, a crew of magnificently retro proportions did grace NYC. The last of their several stops was NYU’s Skirball Center, which for at least 4 hours was transformed into a portrait of fusion perfection. In this case, fusing between a fantastic group of underprivileged city kids from Venezuela and a most unlikely companion: high life-New York City-old time-standard brass-jazz band. Not descriptive enough? How can I put it more succinctly… For this whole past week, every time I think of those dedicated teens, I can smell a great waft of ozone and hear a pack of imaginary altacockers half shouting the words Pennsylvania 6-5000.
The group was very tight, as evinced by their invitation (or abduction) by no less than Wynton Marsalis. Not sure about the details on how all of that went, but my Spanish is in an awkward silence with me, and that’s not the easiest traveling buddy when the time machine is set for Tin Pan Alley, Venezuela.
It was a fantastic night and a great opportunity to live inside the history of jazz, as it must have been presented originally… with passion.
The Consulate General of Venezuela Introducing the Simon Bolivar Big Band at NYU
The Simon Bolivar Big Band performing at NYU’s Skirball Center, November 4, 2011