Spent the day working and going through my friend Robert Frazier's library of Itunes, coming across two great Cuban bands in the process, NG La Banda and Los Van Van...Los Van Van, in particular, were a welcome find, mainly because of their song, Muevete, which means "move it" as in the sense of "shake it." It is, perhaps, the single greatest dance tune ever written. One of my old bands performd an adequate cover of the song, and it never to failed to stir even the most reluctant audience. It was always weird -- a rock band performing a __son__ tune, getting white people (mostly) to dance, or attempt some semblance thereof. Many times from the stage it looked like a barnyard had been whipped onto a frenzy, like palsy had infected a strange bipedal herd, but neverheless they did their best to shake it. Anyway, for those among you who like salsa music, son is the shit and Muevete is one hell of a groove.
Which makes me wonder how Jennifer Lopez' and Marc Anthony's attempt to do a biopic of the great Latin singer, Hector LaVoe, is going to turn out. LaVoe was the best of the Puertoriqueno vocalists...I remember the first time I heard him on the radio. The song was El Dia de mi Suerte, and I stopped what I was doing and listenened, like I did the first time I heard Terry Reid and Hendrix and a couple of others. He was amazing...and I'm sure Marc Anthony is going to do the vocals and not use Hector's. Some of Hector's best work was done with Puerto Rican bandleader Willie Colon, with Yomo Toro on quinto (a midget guitar). If you ever happen across a Willie Colon album called The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, give it a listen.
Been hearing very good things about the Aussie film Noise, about a cop with tinnitus (ringing in the ears) who is sent to man a police van in a neighborhood where a number of ultraviolent crimes have recently occurred. The director, Mark Saville, is getting major praise from people whose judgments I tend to trust.
Then there's the tale of Vincent Ward, a director whom I thought was going to be one of the greats. His early film, the Navigators, won the Palm 'd'Or at Cannes, but shortly after that he was whisked off to Hwood, where he made a couple of films, notbably When Dreams May Come, a visually spectacular attempt to create the afterlife on film using the imagery of classical paintings, but ultimately a failure hamstrung by Robin Williams at his most saccharine. Now, returning to New Zealand to make his first film there in 15 years, River Queen, and given the services of the excellent Samantha Morton, he has created an affectless epic about the Maori's conflict with white settlers. Kiefer Sutherland roars around in the picture to no apparent purpose -- you just wonder what the hell Jack Bauer is doing in 19tth century NZ. It's very sad. Another career squandered.