And All That Jazz

We’re very lucky here in Morelia. Among the many things we have to be thankful for is a vibrant cluster of universities and the young, energetic students that come from all over México and abroad. They fill the historic Centro district with life and color that a city the size of Morelia couldn’t hope to have otherwise. All summer long I’ve been enjoying first class jazz on Fridays at Amati Cafe in Centro – near Teatro Ocampo and the Conservatorio de Las Rosas. The conservatory is well-respected and has an accomplished group of instructors that contribute to the our music scene, music festivals and orchestra.

Amati Cafe is relatively small, but well located. It is appropriately colonial inside and out – but regardless – friendly, warm and hip. The crowd is mixed, but mostly young – reflecting the many universities that surround it. I really enjoy the food and the evenings I spend there.

I’ve taken a number of photos of the different groups I have seen and when I thought of it – the meals I enjoyed while I was there. All of these are taken in natural light. I’ve tried flash several times, but I really don’t like the hard edge it gives scenes like these. I also like the blur of motion and grainy edge shooting in low light gives with my camera. It is a bit tricky to hold sometimes, the average speed is about a 1/10 of a second – sometimes as low as 1/4 of a second. Thank goodness for in camera image stabilization. I’ve been posting these regularly to Facebook but if you aren’t a member or haven’t seen them – here they are.  There are quite a few photos in these sets so the larger ones, at the end may take a few moments to load.

July 6 – Fil de Eits

Fil de Eits is a Spanish alliteration of Fill the Eights – a jazz and musical term of art. They really are a fine group of professional musicians. I have seen the members fill in with other groups at other times – groups tend to be flexible depending on who is available and wants to join in. There is a real jam session attitude in most of the shows I have seen.

This slide show opens with a shot of my meal that night – a plate of Italian and Argentinian sausages with sautéed cabbage. A Mytica Rauschbier (smoky style beer from México) was on the menu this evening and with this it was a fine choice. I only wish you could hear the music as you watch the slideshow.

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July 20 – MVM Trio

Amati Cafe features local microbrews – many of them are only available for a short time and only at the cafe – making them truly limited editions. That keeps Jean and his staff busy explaining what they have and what each is like but they will always give you a taste. They also serve a tasting set of all the beers they have on tap each night that is quite popular. It really doesn’t matter which beer you select, they are all good but for people not aware of the wide range of beer styles they carry, the tasting set is a nice option.

You can see the interesting electric string bass this group featured. MVM brought a lot of little touches to their show and were excellent all around. The last shot in the series is one of the conversations at the bar. Amati brings together a wide-ranging group of friends. It is as much Morelia’s music pub as anything. Quite enjoyable to be a part of on a rainy summer night.

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July 27 – Quintet

I never did hear a formal name for this group but the way things work at Amati, it may not have one. Given the size of the cafe, it was as large a group as you could bring in and still have places for the audience. I didn’t hear any complaints – they were very good – their sound really filled the place.

You will see one shot of an older gentleman in a leather cap in the set. He is the father of the sax player and leader of the group. He enjoyed his dinner and show quietly from the sidelines but I know he was glowing with pride every moment. It is one of the nice things about the cafe setting. It is a place where everyone feels comfortable – old and young. And along those lines, you will also see a long table with many people around it in one shot. For me that was a very gratifying moment to catch because the people at the table are some of our most accomplished musicians and good friends.

My dinner this evening was a Portobello burger and a very fine one too. I’ll have another please. The slideshow closes with some shots of Morelia on a summer evening as I walk to catch a taxi home. The Portales is Morelia’s patio and we enjoy it all the more during our summer rains. The Cathedral in the last shot was handheld. I really have to go out and try some more night photos soon.

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 August 10 – Chris Sanchez Blues

Chris Sanchez is quite young, but a very accomplished electric guitarist and bluesman. His group consists of his brother on bass and his father on drums and they support his playing strongly. He writes his own pieces in a smooth, soul full style.

In this set you will also see two of Morelia’s leading cellists in an animated conversation – including Alan of Brewfus. You will also see a young, future jazz man enjoying the scene and his glass of milk. It’s that kind of cafe – Morelia’s jazz pub in the English tradition.

During one set a lady got up and asked to join in for a couple of songs – proclaiming herself as “Red” she belted out two tunes quite well – ably accompanied by Chis and his band. She bowed and walked off. Classy. Such is an evening at Amati.

I have really enjoyed taking these photos and sharing them. I hope you did too and maybe you will join me someday for a jazzy Friday at Amati Cafe. I’ll be going again soon.

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