August 2017 Convention
Minneapolis, MN

Friday Cabaret with Latin Flute Legend Art Webb

By the time Friday evening came around, I was anticipating the Gala concert with great excitement. This was after a day of sessions and exhibit hall exploration. To say fatigue was setting in by 10:00 p.m. would be an understatement. Yet I knew I had to stay for the Friday Cabaret performance featuring Art Webb. No program listed what he would play, but a simple listing in the schedule described him as a Latin flute legend.

I arrived in a large ballroom, purchased my standard diet Pepsi, and found a seat in the sparsely attended event. When Webb started to play, I knew I was in the right place at the right time.

Webb lead a jazz combo band in many jazz standards, including “Misty” and, perhaps, “The Sunny Side of the Street.” Tito Fuentes’ “Oye Como Va” carried the Latin vibes. Recognizing this famous Carlos Santana hit confirmed for me that Santana’s stuff would sound great on flute.

Fabulous improvising on the part of all members—including the pianist, bassist, and percussionist—continued throughout the evening. The best set, for me, was the one in which Webb actually turned around and played the bass part for the bassist, who couldn’t recall it immediately.

Seeing the interaction of highly skilled musicians to produce an exciting set of music was electric. The percussionist constantly smiled, showing the joy he was experiencing in working with Webb and the others. The room vibrated with excitement and appreciation.

After the concert, I spoke briefly with them all to thank them for the performance and to tell them how exciting it had been. They informed me that they had rehearsed for 90 minutes prior to the performance and that was it. Perfect strangers sharing skill and talent for a too-small audience. I am more than glad that I pushed through the fatigue to get the experience.

—Darlene Fick