Jazzfest – April 29 2011: Los Hombres Calientes

Their name translates as “The Hot Guys”, and hot is probably the best word to describe this band. Led by Irvin Mayfield and Bill Summers, Los Hombres Calientes have been around since the late ’90s, and that’s when I first remember seeing them.

Bill Summers at New Orleans Jazzfest 2011
Bill Summers at New Orleans Jazzfest 2011

Here in New Orleans, even.

It would have probably been at the Funky Butt, a jazz club that used to live, in the days before Katrina hit,  on North Rampart, and yes, even back then they were truly hot.

Over the years they’ve released a number of CDs, most of which I have a copy of, but since the intervention of Katrina, they’ve had to take a break, but now they’re now back.

I was looking forward to seeing them again, and they did not disappoint.

From the opening number, the excitement of the Afro-Cuban rhythms grabbed the audience, and had them ready to party. As if any Jazzfest audience is anything but ready to party

The familiarity and call and response of Fo Fo Firi Foforo really brought them to life though, with everyone singing and dancing along.

Irvin Mayfield at New Orleans Jazzfest 2011
Irvin Mayfield at New Orleans Jazzfest 2011

One of the things I truly loved about this performance was its demonstration of the love and grace that embodies what music can give. The good feelings that everyone had through this performance were evident everywhere that you looked: the musicians were very clearly enjoying working together, and that carried through to the audience, who were broadly grinning from ear to ear.

And then the band brought a small troupe of African (I think) dancers out onto the stage. Colourfully dressed, they joined in the joy of the performance, bringing everything to a wonderful climax.

Finally, after the performance, I was privileged and honoured to be invited backstage to meet and have a short interview with Bill Summers and Irvin Mayfield. I’ll be broadcasting that interview upon my return to Sydney, on radio 2RDJ FM 88.1. Stay tuned for details of when that will be.

Thanks to the management team of Los Hombres Calientes for their assistance in letting me spend a few minutes with Bill and Irvin; I know that theses guys are very busy – especially at Jazzfest – and their willingness to spend a few minutes with me is greatly appreciated.


All photos are copyright (c) 2011, Gary Stark. Do not use without authorisation