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Review: Mexico’s Jalisco Jazz Festival

A July 4th weekend of Latin-infused cosmopolitanism

Ernesto Ramos and Big Band Jazz de Mexico, Jalisco Jazz Festival 2014
Fela Dominguez with Big Band Jazz de Mexico, Jalisco Jazz Festival 2014
Gary Burton Quartet with Burton, Julian Lage, Jorge Roeder, Marcus Gilmore, Jalisco Jazz Festival 2014
Diego Maroto, Jalisco Jazz Festival 2014
Brian Lynch and Emmet Cohen, Jalisco Jazz Festival 2014
Screaming Headless Torsos with David Fiuczynski and Freedom Bremner

As a storm brewed over Guadalajara the night of July 6, the Screaming Headless Torsos closed out the second annual Encuentro de Jazz en Jalisco, delighting a multitude of screaming Mexican fans at the Instituto Cultural Cabañas. Guitarist David Fiuczynski, the leader of the omnivorous group, known for its electrified hybridization of jazz, prog-rock, psychedelia, rap and microtonal experimentation, turned around and began shaking his backside. “Make some noise!” he said. The frenzied tapatíos, as Guadalajara residents are known, gladly obliged, clapping along regardless of the time signature. Come hell, high water or both, the crowd was not going anywhere. The Torsos, the festival’s headlining act, spent the July 4th weekend practicing their Spanish for one big reason: they’re huge in Mexico.

Latin-infused cosmopolitanism characterized the festival, which took place from July 3 through 13, featuring an array of Mexican and American artists cultivating the cross-fertilization of jazz across the Americas. In addition to the Torsos, vibraphonist Gary Burton, multireedist David Murray and trumpeter Brian Lynch, all of whom touted their connection to Latin tradition, joined Mexican artists saxophonist Diego Maroto, Big Band Jazz de Mexico and the Bad Boys Blues Preservation Band for a weekend in Guadalajara’s picturesque historic district.

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