Transparent Productions sponsors gigs for experimental artists whose music defies expectations. By booking Bobby Previte's self-described "bar band," Latin for Travelers, Transparent threw a change-up to its hard-swinging audience, which seemed to enjoy the off-speed pitch.
About 30 people witnessed Latin for Travelers Monday night at Chief Ike's Mambo Room, but it's easy to imagine Previte and his crew playing to a muddy field of 20,000 half-naked twenty-somethings as an opening act for Phish. Like its Grateful Dead-inspired counterparts, Latin for Travelers likes to jam on the blues and funk while crinkling its collective brow and tautly grimacing during each wailing solo.
Guitarists Stewart Cutler and Jerome Harris, who also doubled on bass, played funky licks and bluesy leads, using several effects pedals to warp their instruments' timbres. Over Previte's shuffling snare rim clicks, the guitars took on a Western twang for "Albuquerque Bar Band," even breaking into Allman Brothers-type twin leads late in the tune.
Keyboardist Jamie Saft was kept low in the mix for most of the night, but his electric piano broke through on "Bobby's New Mood" to evoke a Weather Storm-ish vibe. Previte kept things moving with his light touch on the drums, but even a promising tune like "My Man in Sydney," with its initially atmospheric percussion and ringing guitar arpeggios, soon evolved into a smiley-face jam.