Hollywood ArtsPark Experience

Published on May 2nd, 2019

When the retropolitan L.A. cats of Chicano Batman step onto the riser at ArtsPark at Young Circle in Hollywood this Sunday, May 5, to play their first headlining Florida gig, they will also be helping to fill a hole left in this community’s heart by an earlier break-up of two old cultural partners.

So give a hand to the city of Hollywood for reconnecting, after a few years apart, with the Rhythm Foundation, the taste-making, scene-shaping Miami Beach concert promoter behind a lot of great South Florida live gigs including the Hollywood ArtsPark Experience concert series.

The revived series of four free outdoor concerts, presented in conjunction with Hollywood’s Community Redevelopment Organization, returns with Chicano Batman, from Los Angeles, and continues May 11 with New Orleans’s second-line heroes, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, followed by “Hot Club”-style Colombian swingsters Monsieur Periné on June 15, and Cuban jazz piano titan Chucho Valdez on June 22.

It’s a typically atypical Rhythm Foundation production: astute but accessible and listener-friendly, with a lineup that catches multiple music currents, local and global, and creates a shared concert-going space for both the connoisseur and the casually curious — “from families to hipsters,” is how James Quinlan, founder and director of the Rhythm Foundation, puts it in an email to PureHoney.

“Working in Broward’s best outdoor performance venue is an honor for us,” Quinlan writes, “providing an incredible platform to expose artists who might not normally play the South Florida market.”

Here’s more on the performers.

Chicano Batman by Josue Rivas

— Before they join indie princes Vampire Weekend for live dates this spring, Chicano Batman will be here playing their West Coast strain of pan-American pop with updated psych-rock and soul. You might have lucked into them in 2017 on the massive band card for the Okeechobee Music X Arts Festival, but the ArtsPark Experience is their highest profile Florida show to date.

The “Batman” of Chicano Batman is, if you had to pick one, the wacky ‘60s television version we remember for Adam West and screens popping with sound-effect “Kapows!” But the band channels its taste for camp and old novelty into taut, romantically edgy or winsome songs bursting with psychedelia and Tropicalia. You’ll find this artful Angeleno quartet on one of their standout tracks, “Magma,” bleeding tremolo and wah wah over soap opera organ strains of the “Search for Tomorrow“ vintage. On “Black Lipstick,” frontman Bardo Martinez could be an overcome crooner a la Anthony Patrick Hadley of Spandau Ballet, emoting to gaudy Farfisa lines and playful guitar breaks instead of pop-synth swells.

Hometown opener Jason Joshua & The Beholders apply Latin, funk and doo-wop touches to their brand of classic reverb soul, everything summed up on the band’s dreamy single, “I Don’t Care.”

Dirty Dozen Brass Band

— They can play just about anything, and since their start in 1977 as parade musicians for a New Orleans social club, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band pretty much have. At a down moment for the city’s brass band jazz tradition, the Dirty Dozen took it up and infused it with contemporary sass. Horn-powered instrumental arrangements of pop, soul, funk, rock tunes and more became their forte, and every game young pick-up brass combo that wades into French Quarter crowds to play hits for dollar bills owes a debt to these guys.

They’ve recorded with everyone from southern jam band Widespread Panic to rap’s summoner of the furies, Chuck D of Public Enemy. But as DDBB showed on records with jazz greats Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker, they didn’t abandon their roots. A performance in April at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, which turned 50 this year, marked this durable combo — with four original members still aboard — as one of the city’s great treasures and proud exports.

Opening is Inez Barlatier, a Miami-born, Haitian-American singer and instrumentalist who fuses pop with an Afro-Caribbean folkloric vibe.

Monsieur Periné

— A popular past guest on NPR’s “Tiny Desk” concert series, Monsieur Periné, from Bogotá, start out as devotees of old-school gypsy jazz, and then playfully draw out the style pioneered by Django Reinhardt and his Hot Club of Paris, giving it a Latin flair with rhythms and instruments from the band’s own backyard. Monsieur Periné’s other inspiration is a captivating singer, Catalina García, whose bright voice and effortless charm are a perfect fit for this savvy retro project.

Singer-songwriter Javier Garcia, an eclectic Latin rock and pop stylist, and one of Miami’s most versatile musicians, plays first.

Chucho Valdés

— Pianist Chucho Valdés rose to international fame and music royalty as leader of Irakere, a Havana-based band that advanced jazz and Afro-Cuban music in tandem. Before that, he cut an album, “Jazz Batá,” in 1972 that laid groundwork for those giant steps forward. The record showcased Valdés playing Mingus-like piano figures to the pulse of a batá, an hourglass-shaped hand drum central to Santeria ritual, in a kind of modernist dialogue with the ancients. Valdés has now resumed that conversation with “Jazz Bata 2,” a 2018 album and ongoing tour animated by a central idea that he says never left him.

Opening is Cortadito, a classic Cuban son and bolero ensemble led by another Miami powerhouse, Jose Elias of Grammy nominated traditionalists Conjunto Progreso and the polyglot electric jam band Spam Allstars.

Hollywood ArtsPark Experience kicks off with Chicano Batman 7pm Sunday May 5 at ArtsPark at Young Circle in Hollywood. The series continues with a trio of 8pm Saturday concerts: Dirty Dozen Brass Band on May 11, Monsieur Periné on June 15, and Chucho Valdés on June 22. Admission is free to all shows. rhythmfoundation.com ~ Sean Piccoli

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