Dirotta su Cuba, the Italian acid jazz band, return to the Blue Note in Milan, this time with a special guest, Antonio Faraò, an extremely talented and internationally respected jazz pianist having collaborated with the likes of Herbie Hancock, Benny Goodman, Chris Potter and Marcus Miller to name a few. This new collaboration intrigued me and it smacked mostly of having fun, always a starter for ten in watching bands.

Dirotta su Cuba were born in the 1990’s, the duo Simona Bencini (vox) and bass player Stefano De Donato still the core of the band, It’s a six piece band tonight, Francesco Cherubini (drums), Andrea De Donato (keyboards), Daniele Vettori (guitar), Marco Caponi (sax). Quite a bit of success in those early years for sure but not much after, (I was at a summertime open air gig of theirs about a dozen years back where there was just the proverbial me and my dog, and I don’t have a dog). So it’s wonderful to know both shows tonight , as is the Blue Note way, are sold out and there is a certain buzz in the air.

The band come on first and start up a groove. Simona then bounds out, looking absolutely splendid with body hugging trousers, high heels and a spangled blouse and immediately ups the tempo with her bountiful enthusiasm and most importantly, top notch vocals, hitting everything in site to the boundary.

A few technical sound problems need to be sorted but come the fourth song, the new single ‘Good Things’, all is in check. Today is Record Store Day and the band seemed overwhelmed to have a new vinyl single out , their first English song too, and they absolutely kill it, Simona with some great vocal hooks and some neat drumming by FC lead the way.
Antonio Faraò comes on, playing piano on the songs ‘Eklektic’ and ‘Legami’ and even if the mix is not brilliant he adds some delightful flourishes with his piano solo contributions. Maybe I was expecting more from him seeing how talented he is but the onus is on fun and grooving to the acid jazz beat as opposed to being too proficient.

AF comes back for an encore on their big hit ‘Gelosia’ after a few more DsC songs with various well executed band solo’s and with everyone on their feet it’s still clear to me that acid jazz funk is back on the map and it’s good to know that bands like Dirotta su Cuba, Incognito, Corduroy, Brand New Heavies are still alive and kicking.

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