Nachito Herrera – I got a fever,
and the only prescription is more cowbell!
“There are only two types of music, good music and bad music,” Nachito Herrera explained before his set at the Dakota Jazz Club on December 10th. The brilliant Cuban pianist is the definition of “good music,” which he demonstrated by playing a holiday set infused with modern Cuban jazz. From the first note struck by Herrera and his band (Kevin Washington on drums, and Jonas on bass guitar), the environment of the Dakota Jazz Club took on the warm, festive mood of Cuban jazz. A quick survey of the audience portrayed a lot of foot-tapping and shoulder-swaying. There is no doubt in my mind that if there was a section of floor that remotely resembled a dance floor it would have been packed to the gills with salsa dancers.
The Theoroi group and I were extremely lucky to be able to meet and speak to Herrera about his music before he took the stage. Similar to listening to his music, Herrera’s stories of his past have you at the edge of your seat, hanging on every word, and wowed upon completion. Even though Herrera’s past is chock full of amazing stories and portrays the brilliance of the man, what truly impressed me is Herrera’s passion to create new innovative sounds and to continually challenge himself. The mere thought of creating a New Year’s Eve set themed around the Earth, Wind and Fire band appears crazy on the surface, but after selling out every show and the set becoming a fan favorite, Herrera proved crazy is the new genius.
Not only does Herrera challenge himself through his song selection, but he also includes new instruments and sounds in his repertoire. For the December 10th show, he included a cow bell, which was installed on the left side of his piano. Herrera incorporated the cow bell beautifully, but the mere fact that he was smacking a cow bell with his left hand, playing the piano feverishly with his right hand, and stepping on pedals with his left foot is truly astonishing. Can you even tap your head and rub your belly at the same time?
Nachito Herrera’s passion for music is matched by none, and that is precisely why his sound will be matched by none.