Friday 18th March at Ronnie Scott’s marked a special event; day two of two by the mighty Snowboy and his Latin Section band.
Snowboy’s music, a blend of Afro and Latin Jazz, is something that needs to be experienced live, as seeing and listening to those tunes is something absolutely exciting and distinctive.
Snowboy, a veteran of the Latin jazz scene - performing for thirty years now - is launching his New York Afternoon CD. It is his sixteenth album, but also one that gets issued on his own record label, Snowboy Records. It contains some true gems performed impeccably by some of the greatest jazz musicians currently on the scene.
Performing at Ronnies on the night, and having already done one show earlier, there is an incredible bustle in the air; the crowd cannot wait for the band to start. It is going to be one long straight set, no break (this is the late show after all, so we are in for a decadently late finish).
The earlier show on the night was so fiery that…. it set off the fire alarm system! Oh yes, complete with full evacuation and a lot of waiting outside in the cold. Frith Street never looked so crowded and chaotic, but that is what makes Soho the mad and beautiful place that it is today.
Back at Ronnies. The final show starts close to midnight. The crowd has been patient, everyone is back in, and the house is full.
Tres Tambours (Three Drums) is one of the first tracks played and a real treat. This sees the magical fingers of keyboardist Dave Oliver (of Mamas Gun and “on loan” to Snowboy for the gigs at Ronnies) perform with madness and gusto. One true happy groove played with a compact and individual sound.
Natalie Williams, guest vocalist for the shows at Ronnies, sings on New York Afternoon (which is sung by Mark Evans on the album). Her voice is clear and powerful, and as a result one wants to listen to this song sung over and over by her. Addictive, to say the least.
Congas player, DJ and writer Mark Cotgrove (aka Snowboy) plays like a man “en enter”. His is a true passion, a real verve and inner strength.
The delay at the start of the show has not affected the crowd; on the contrary, everyone is attentive, supportive and heads are nodding all the time, enjoying the groove.
Olé Mambo, an Edmundo Ros piece, is given the Essex treatment by Snowboy and the band: a slick piece, courtesy of trombone genius Paul Taylor.
Time for Natalie Williams to join us us again; a perfect rendition of Better (which is sung by Boston singer/songwriter Jen Kearney on the album), that also sees Paul Booth playing magnificently on tenor sax.
La Época Del Palladium is an outstanding track with Dave Pattman on bongos marking the rhythm and making this one of my favourite tracks!
Also deserving a special mention is Davide Giovannini, an absolute wizard on drums and timbales...and a beautiful voice, too.
Time to wrap up the show and say good night (or good morning…) and a big thank you to everyone in the crowd.
A fantastic time, a groove-filled night with formidable voices and up-beat tempos: Snowboy and his Latin Section band have made sure their performance is a unique one.
Snowboy - congas, Dave Pattman - Bongos, Davide Giovannini - drums, timbales & vocals, Dr. Nico Gomez - bass, Dave Oliver - keyboards, Sid Gauld - trumpet, Paul Taylor - trombone, Paul Booth - tenor sax, Natalie Williams - vocals
Words: Erminia Yardley
Photos: Carl Hyde