At 93, the great Cuban vocalist Omara Portuondo knows a few things. She knows the value of her own experience, though she defies her age in stamina and enduring vocal ability. By now physically frail, on November 1 in Gartner Auditorium she was led to her high-backed wicker chair where she ensconced herself to offer a distillation of a lifetime of music-making.
Her quartet of skilled players — José Portillo, piano, Ramses Rodriguez, drums, Lino Piquero, bass, and Degnis Bofill, Latin percussion — were mindful of the honor, though none was old enough to hear the Cuarteto d’Aida from her Tropicana days, or her Batista-era LPs sold to tourists on the Plaza de Armas in Havana. [Read more…]