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‘The repertory of Havana’: It’s what you can hear tonight at Salsa Under the Stars

Cuban drummer Calixto Oviedo and his band play a Salsa Under the Stars concert tonight.

Cuban drummer Calixto Oviedo and his band play a Salsa Under the Stars concert tonight.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Master Cuban drummer Calixto Oviedo brings a plate full of rhythms from his native country to Albuquerque.

Oviedo is known for helping to create the modern Cuban groove known as timba when he was with the Cuban group NG La Banda.

But his own band’s concerts cover a wider range of music.

“It will be the repertory of Havana,” he said in a phone interview from his home in Los Angeles, Calif. “We’re playing son, guaracha, Cuban salsa, Cuban jazz and timba Cubana.”

Oviedo will be leading his sextet Cuban Jazz Train, which includes his wife, singer Lily Hernandez, in a Salsa Under the Stars concert tonight at the Albuquerque Museum’s Amphitheater.

As he has done for many years, he will integrate the standard drum set and timbales.

“We will play original songs and some classics, some standards such as ‘Caravan’ and ‘Manteca.'”

Besides his fame as a percussionist, Oviedo is also a respected teacher. He is the author of several instructional books on Afro-Cuba percussion.

In Los Angeles, he teaches Latin percussion, which includes timbales, congas and giro, at California State University-Los Angeles. He also taught in Denver after moving from Sweden.

Oviedo has performed with NG La Banda and with an array of Latin musicians, among them Arturo Sandoval, Ray Barreto, Chucho Valdés, Willie Colón and Dave Valentin.

Oviedo has played at Switzerland’s Montreux Jazz Festival, the Festival de Salsa in Madrid and the North Sea Jazz Festival in the Netherlands, among others.


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