Heats up the Winter Nights

Latin Jazz Jam Session
Cafe Bolero
Tuesday Nights 7:30pm

Photos by James Walker
Story by Brad Walseth

As another chilly Chicago winter approaches, you would do well to check out the hot, hot, hot Latin Jazz session every Tuesday night at Cafe Bolero. Conveniently situated just off the expressway on N. Western Avenue, Cafe Bolero serves spicy Cuban cuisine to go with the fiery music presented by the band Havana along with special guests who show up to add to the fun.

Led by brassy trumpeter Michael McManus and bassist/music slavedriver Richie Pillot, Havana is a group worth checking out. With incredibly talented musicians such as sensational saxman Steve "The Enforcer" Eisen and guitar/keyboard demon Rob Block you simply can't go wrong - and the solos are simply dazzling. Add in a furious conga/timbale section (Joe Farau & Oge? along with assorted guests) and the entire room shifts into overdrive.

On the evening James and I checked in, Richie was out with an illness, but the bass parts were handled well by monster player Ben Willis. Guests in the packed room included up-and-coming Nicarauguan pianist Darwin Noguera, whose upcoming Chicago Afro-Latin Jazz Ensemble concert at The HotHouse (Wed. Nov. 8th) promises to be a highlight. But the final jams of the evening with McManus leading the band and additional brass players nearly blew the windows out and gave us all some great memories and a desire to return for more in the future.

Havana plays Cafe Bolero every Tuesday night at 7:30pm


"The Enforcer" - Steve Eisen

Ben Willis

The incredible Rob Block


Joe Farau

Mike McManus

Rob Block

Mike McManus

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