The last concert of the current Hot Jazz season at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art auditorium was marketed as a Cuban jazz event which is misleading to say the least. This labeling was quite misleading, maybe intentionally trying to bring to this (optional) concert in the series an audience that is not usually part of the regular audiences, but taking into account the number of empty seats Friday night I am wondering if the tactics really worked. Maybe it would have been better to present the Rodriguez brothers as what they really are, a pair of young and solid jazz instrumentalists, with passion and talent. Yes, they happen to be of Cuban origin on the side of their father who was born in Guantanamo, Cuba of all places, but their mother is from Ecuador, and they refer to themselves jokingly as ‘Cubadorians’, but they are both born, raised, and educated in the USA, and the Cuban flavor is only one and not necessarily the most important influence on the sound of their music.

source: www.allaboutjazz.com

If there was an obvious Latin component in the sound of the Friday night concert it came from percussionist Gilad Dobretzky, whose variations and improvisations alone or in dialog with drummer Shai Zelman were all full of color and joy. Otherwise about half of the program included original compositions of the two brothers, very much under the shade and influence of great American song writers and musicians like Thelonious Monk or Dizzy Gillespie, to whom the other songs in the programs belonged. Just one song was a popular melody of Cuban origin. Overall it was not a bad evening, Mike Rodriguez is a good trumpet player, his brother Robert is an even better piano player, and we enjoyed a good jazz performance, maybe lacking sparks and passion, but this was certainly not one of the weakest in an uneven season at ‘Hot Jazz’. By the way the program of the next season seems very diverse  and promising, and I have already renewed our subscription taking the maximal option of eight concerts.

More about the Rodriguez brothers, biographies, and music can be found on their Web site – http://www.rodriguezmusic.com/RODBROS.html