Dum-da-dee-dee-dum-da-ptchu-ptchu-ptchu. That is about as close as I can get to the sounds of progressive jazz, ala’ Ana Pau Reyes as she delivered a stunning, virtuoso performance of Mexican progressive jazz at Ajijic’s hot music spot, Casa Domenech, last Tuesday night.
Having been raised on rock and roll, 4/4 time is imprinted into my brain , so the changing time signatures and seemingly wandering rhythms of progressive jazz rarely stay in my neural grooves. I appreciate the talent and the skill, like I do with classical music, but- as with classical music – you can’t dance to it and it doesn’t grab me.
But what Ana did Tuesday night was not your mother’s or father’s progressive jazz. She sang perched on a stool on an outdoor stage with a keyboardist accompanying her and a looper keyboard in front of her. That that is where she made the magic. Ana’s looper-progressive jazz is like nothing I – and perhaps, you – have ever heard. And, for some songs, you could dance to it.
Ana Pau Reyes Jimenez is not your ordinary jazz singer. Performing Tuesday as the Ana Pau Reyes Duet – herself and keyboard player Kike Rhodes, she delivered old songs and new songs in English and Spanish, each layered with self-harmonies, beats created by her own voice, and lots of dum-da-dee-dee-dum-da-ptchu-ptchu-ptchu. I have seen many pop artists in Los Angeles use loopers to create background tracks, harmonies, and even counter melodies, but her use of the looper to set the tone and beat for her songs layer upon layer made it seem at times that she was leading a jazz orchestra at the Hollywood Bowl.
It is no wonder that she has a brace of jazz awards, including Winner of “Contigo In The Distance” from The National Endowment for Culture and Arts FONCA (2020), the first young jazz award from La Orquesta Nacional de Jazz de México (ONJMX ) performing in the ensemble category with the vocal quintet “Nawi” and a Young Creators Award at the Ministry of Culture’s PEDA Jalisco Convocation . And she has collaborated with such stars as Laura Rebolloso, Tonatiuh Vásquez, Aerofon, Natalia Lafourcade, among others.
Casa Domenech is not a large venue – 50 people when packed to the gills, and more like 35 on a cool Tuesday night, drinking and having dinner in front of the stage with its cluttered background and a bicycle improbably hanging behind the keyboard. Ana took advantage of the intimacy to talk with us between songs so not only music flowed from the stage, but also conversation. Also flowing freely was tequila, (including on the stage) and Ana managed to make friends with everyone in the audience judging from the number of fans waiting to talk to her afterward. A magic night.
Now that I am hooked on dum-da-dee-dee-dum-da-ptchu-ptchu-ptchu, I guess I will be following Ana and other young progressive jazz artists , and maybe even venturing into the depths of underground Guadalajara to places like Chango Vudú to get more of it. Watch this space.
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