July 18, 2005
Latin music is the perfect soundtrack for the valley’s current heat wave. While the participants in Jazz Aspen’s JAS Academy Summer Sessions bake under the sun by day in Snowmass Village, the masters cook at night at Belly Up – and two of the featured acts will be making the spicy, upbeat Latin sounds. Los Hombres Calientes is set for Wednesday, July 27. The group, led by percussionist Bill Summers (of Herbie Hancock’s Headhunters) and trumpeter Irvin Mayfield, has combined Caribbean and American funk with the sounds of their hometown of New Orleans to great effect through five volumes of recordings. Cuban-born pianist Chuchito Valdes leads his band to two shows Friday, July 29. Valdes is not only the son of legendary Cuban pianist Chucho Valdes, but replaced his father in the prominent group Irakere in the late ’90s, giving the youngster a chance to be the bandmate of such icons as Arturo Sandoval and Paquito D’Rivera.
It’s hard to imagine 14 minutes better spent than watching “Ryan,” winner of the Academy Award for best animated short film. The work of Canadian animator Chris Landreth, “Ryan” is a documentary of another Canadian animator, Ryan Larkin, who dropped out of sight after several pioneering films in the ’70s. The technique is astonishing; Landreth’s animation makes Larkin into a half-man, half-machine that doesn’t allow viewers to even blink. But the emotional content, the story of Larkin’s struggles, habits and addictions, is the equal of the visuals. “Ryan” shows as part of the Best of Aspen Shortsfest program, Monday, July 25, at Paepcke Auditorium. Also on the bill are “Harvey Krumpet,” winner of last year’s Oscar for best animated short, as well as “A Dios,” “Music for One Apartment and Six Drummers,” “Two Cars, One Night” and others.
The valley’s best bash is open to all, charges no admission, has no dress code and caters to almost every taste. Carbondale Mountain Fair is the ultimate inclusive event, providing entertainment for wood-splitters and bluegrass hounds, BBQ fanatics and piemen, African-music lovers and long-distance runners. And, of course, kids. The 34th Mountain Fair opens with the traditional blessing in Sopris Park on Friday afternoon, July 29; the evening’s fare includes Irish rockers the Kissers and Denver acoustic rock band Oakhurst. Saturday starts with the Sopris Run-Off footrace from Basalt into Sopris Park; musical highlights are ska band Warsaw and acid jazz group Yo, Flaco! Sunday’s sounds include bluegrass supergroup Blue Highway and San Francisco Afrobeat 10-piece Aphrodesia. Gypsy rock band Kan’Nal closes the lid on the party Sunday night.