As befits an act of class, last night saw Los Hermanos Cubanos perform in a venue that spoke volumes: The Jazz Cafe, home to proper funksters of the old skool variety such as Roy Ayers, Courtney Pine, Bobby Womack and let’s never forget Gil Scott Heron (RIP).
Accompanied by the CBs – a reference lost on none to the JBs – the brothers went up another notch towards the heady heights of a funky soul band for the noughties plus, without losing any of the original charm and essence that makes them what they are.
We knew they meant business when they descended the stairs in suits – not just any old suits but double breasted ones for ‘Double Penetration’ as Miguel so soberly introduced his fellow compadres – Archerio and Kengo San. Red patent shoes for Archerio, some nice sensible brown brogues for Kengo, and Miguel sporting a very fetching pair of sparkly silver numbers as well as a cute short sleeved shirt with a kitten print, meant that we could breathe a sigh of relief: They may have grown up in one sense but in another they remain very much the epitome of irreverent elegance we love to love.
The audience were of a certain age, with a couple of birthdays being celebrated including Sharon who’d just hit … well respect for a lady’s age prevails here. Miguel shouted ‘Champagne here for Sharon, in fact champagne for everyone!’ Closely followed by ‘Can I touch just one breast? Oh yes, that’s a nice feeling frens’.
And so it continued. Some funky tunes belted out interspersed with great break dancing and hilarious commentary that ensured you were never without a smile on your face. ‘The album is coming out in a couple of months frens, I do it for free in fact if this is the kind of crowd we get at the Jazz Cafe – I do it for free!!’ he reiterated. We’ve been hearing about the album for so long now that I’m sure when it eventually appears, it’ll instantly achieve cult status and you won’t be able to locate a copy for love or money.
Mica Paris joined Miguel for a duet and we were in quintessential Jazz Cafe land swiftly followed by him reminding us to ‘Be careful my frens – the office party is coming, I know many of you are pumping in the toilets someone you like all year…., just be careful because in January you are walkin’ around like thees’ as he shuffled across the stage with his head bowed in a sort of walk of shame manner.
Double Penetration reappeared in reassuring black all-in-ones with white tassles down the sides. They danced for us and when we all called for more at the end they obliged with a jammy little encore of ‘Ace of Spades’.
The CBs were introduced one by one including Magnus: ‘He’s German – but my frens he was born in England. Who remembers the war?’ Miguel shouted, ‘Yeah, I do! My granmother does – but it’s okay for us, it’s okay for you, we love him anyway’.
You’ve matured guys and your timing as always is perfection. We’ll take you as a music force to be reckoned with when you produce the tunes you did last night – but we’ll never forget where you came from – and by the looks of things, happily, nor will you.