Review: Eliane Correa & En El Aire Project @ Jazz Café (London, 31st January 2016)

Tonight, the Jazz Café audience are here to get down and check out Eliane Correa’s latest creation Eliane Correa & El Aire Project for their highly anticipated album launch. It was also rumoured that this could be the last night of the Jazz Café before another great London venue is closed in the name of high street progress.

Having sold out their last gig at the London Latin Jazz Festival this would be a first opportunity for many to see the new project, taking its influences from the heart of Havana and around the globe and involving over 30 musicians in the recording of the album with a 10 piece live band coming together for tonight’s show.

The place was buzzing when the support act, Juanita Euka and her band, hit the stage and the audience were not disappointed with the high energy performance. Juanita has natural stage presence and the crowd were lapping up the succession of great vocal tracks and Congolese Rumba rhythms. The set culminated in a great display of Congolese dancing from all the vocalist and the audience were only too willing to join in.

With body, feet and mind suitably warmed up the 10 piece band hit the stage with Eliane Correa informing all that tonight’s music was about going on a journey through places, in your mind, your feet and the venue! When the band started to play you could instantly hear all those worldly influences oozing out as the soulful vocals, funk basslines, jazzy horn section and afro-latin percussion started to make your feet and body move to the spiralling rhythms.

As the set progresses a number of special guests were brought onto the stage to add vocals, percussion and more horns to the great sounds already being played. The songs effortlessly glide through soul tinged vocals in English and Spanish and the musical rhythms give each of the band opportunity to show off their substantial talents. All of this takes us through the genre-defying Rumba con Flores album, and we were treated to a number of new tracks which we are told will be on the next album. Drawing towards the end of the set and Eliane wanted to pay homage to the Afro Cuban Orisha’s, especially to the spirit of music Chango. She is joined by the amazing Bata drumming legend Gerardo de Armas as they roll out another soulful Latin track that gives out spacey blessings to the music gods. The set is finished off with the album title track “Rumba con Flores” and its innovative Latin-soul-jazz.

We were promised to be taken on a journey through different places this evening and judging by the crowd’s reaction they can’t get enough of this journey through Havana, London, Buenos Aires, Africa, Barcelona and many many places in between. Eliana Correa’s new project En El Aire has made an impact on this part of the world and the imminent album release on the Movimientos label has been well received, is it now poised to spread their global sound around the world?