Rumba and the Rest
Rumbrava’s Caribbean rhythm club
we started jamming together once a week, we commented that we’ve never
collaborated after all these years,” Grauer says. And then there was a relative
newcomer to town, Cuban-born cellist Ana Ruth Bermudez, who arrived via
The result of all this old-school, in-person social networking is Rumbrava, a quartet exploring Afro-Cuban-Latin-jazz. To Bermudez, it’s simply pop music.
grew up surrounded by popular music in
Grauer on keyboards and keyboard bass, Bermudez on cello and lead vocals, Diaz
on congas and bongos and Zick on drum kit and timbales, Rumbrava glides easily
over the complicated and various rhythms of the Latin Caribbean world. Bermudez
infuses the lyrics with low-simmering soul. Much of the repertoire is drawn
from Cuban and Puerto Rican standards. They also perform Dizzy Gillespie’s
signature song, “A Night in
The rest of the material consists of originals by Grauer and Bermudez. Rumbrava’s sound is authentic, with no attempt to water down the fire for the smooth jazz crowd.
“We pick the songs we like,” Bermudez explains. “We always talk. It’s a democracy, but at the end of the road, we all need to agree on everything.”
Mrs. Fun and Diaz continue to perform in their separate groups while Bermudez plays in duo settings and guests with the Waukesha Symphony Orchestra, the Milwaukee Ballet Orchestra and other classical ensembles. For its members, Rumbrava is part of their lifelong journey in learning about music.
“The beautiful thing about this group is that we get so much from each other,” Zick says.
Rumbrava performs April 26 at Linneman’s.