‘Simplemente Lara’ remains a gem

“Simplemente Lara,” Jose Ruben De Leon’s deep dive into the life and music of Mexican composer Agustin Lara, debuted 10 years ago.

De Leon and his collaborators — father and son jazz musicians George (on bass) and Aaron (on piano) Prado — marked the occasion Sunday afternoon with what appeared to be a sold-out performance at the Carver Community Cultural Center. The dapper gentlemen were joined by a three-woman string ensemble, who played string arrangements commissioned by various people. Author Sandra Cisneros, who inspired the show, commissioned string arrangements for “Veracruz,” “Farolito,” “Arrancame la Vida” and “Solamente Una Vez.”

The piece, which De Leon and the Prados have performed 92 times (including Sunday) over the past decade, remains deeply satisfying. De Leon gives his renderings of the songs a caressing, romantic quality. And the Prados — who have their own show-stopping showcase with a medley of five works, including “Granada,” mid-way through the show — put their first-rate musicianship to good use with the show.

The afternoon ended with calls for an encore, allowing the audience to get an early look at a new work they’re developing. They performed “Sabor a Mi,” the title tune for a show that will pay tribute to Eydie Gorme and Trio Los Panchos.

As posted on MySanAntonio.com by Deborah Martin