Andina Friday, March 24, 2006
John Butler Trio
Music: Primarily Afro-Peruvian and Latin
John JB Butler on Guitar
Luciana Proano on Cajon
Al Criado, Electric Bass
Not knowing what to expect, being a newbie to Andina, which sits squarely on the corner of 13th & Glisan in the Pearl District, I popped in on a recent Friday evening. I was familiar with the musicians and that was enough to get me there. The entrance is on Glisan about 50 feet from the corner, the front door opening to a walkway and railing surrounding a lovely atrium. On the other side of the atrium is a state-of-the-art stainless steel kitchen with chefs working feverishly to serve the full house of hungry patrons. The restaurant is nicely laid out with dining tables to the left of the front door and the bar to the right. It's clear the designer of the restaurant intended to provide a warm, handsome and almost "homey" environment. The walls are a deep cinnamon with arched doorways, wood as well as copper tabletops, wide planked wood floors, wrought iron light fixtures with hand blown glass and floor to ceiling windows looking out to the industrial charm of the Pearl.
In the bar, guitarist, John JB Butler (not to be confused the rock guitarist John Butler), Luciana Proano, percussionist (dancer and wife of JB) and bassist, Al Criado (who performs regularly with the Bobby Torres Band) sit off to the side of the room immersed in a melodic and driving, yet unfamiliar to me, Latin number. Finding the optimal seat next to the slate-faced fireplace, I snuggle in with a glass of red wine. Nearly every table is occupied with rather hip 30 to 40-somethings enjoying the ambience.
My ears perk up when I recognize the standard Hi-Fly, written by Randy Weston (and recorded in one of my favorite versions by Lambert, Hendricks & Ross). John has re-interpreted it into a very cool Afro-Peruvian style with chord voicings that cause an involuntary "Ooh-aah." Nature Boy and Brigas nunca mais, a Brazilian samba, follow. Their choice of material, a wonderful combination of tunes that are Latin based, upbeat, rhythmic with hummable melodies, seem perfect for this restaurant -- particularly because the menu offers a combination of delectable Spanish and Peruvian dishes.
John Butler, long a staple of the Portland jazz scene, notes his primary influencers as John Coltrane, Weather Report, Buddy Guy, George Benson, and Pat Martino, but most of all, his Peruvian wife, Luciana. On Sunday, April 23rd at 1:00 PM, John and Luciana will be performing original compositions at the Aladdin Theatre with bassist Essiet Essiet, Ronnie Burrage on drums and David Valdez on sax. This performance will be a benefit for the Burlingame Cooperative Preschool. John also performs every Sunday & Tuesday evenings at El Gaucho Restaurant on Broadway.
Although I didn't get a chance to eat while I was there, everyone I've spoken to raves about the food. Andina offers a full menu and bar including Tapas ranging from $5.50 to $16.50. Main courses range from $17 to $29 and are beautifully presented. So next time you're out, treat yourself to Andina, as well as John JB Butler, Luciana Proano and Al Criado, and hear their marvelous music. You'll be glad you did. 1314 NW Glisan, in the Pearl - 503-228-9535.