The Best Musicians I Have Performed With #2: “Bossa Combo et Raymond Cajuste”!

Around 1990, I had the pleasure of performing with a wonderful horn line as part of Raymond Cajuste’s Bossa Comba. It seemed that the whole band made it to the concert in Miami, except the trombonist-who may have been ill at the time. I was very fortunate to have been asked to fill in. I was even more surprised when I found that they were playing on the South Side of Chicago the following week, just before Christmas, and that I would be home in Illinois to perform with them a second time. The horn section I recall was one trumpet, or two and two saxophones plus myself.

The closest I had lived to Chicago was a half block North of Howard Street , in Evanston. The South Side was the subject of the imagination for me and a mixture of impressions I had garnered from Jim Croce Songs, The University of Chicago and tales of Elliot Ness, and on one cold winter night, rhe tale of a young trombonist newly transplanted to Miami. I remember being very cold and shivering without a sweater. Without hesitation, the big burly Haitian trumpet player literally loaned me the sweater of his back! (I was rather thin in those days!). I had just acquired a diesel van, and had to take every opportunity to start it up on our breaks, lest I become stranded at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Headquarters on the South Side a day or two before Christmas.

I recall beautiful music and even more beautiful people. Since then, I felt that of all the people I have met in my lifetime, those from Haiti were the nicest. I also recalled the moment, about an hour or so into the gig, it suddenly occurred to me that I might be the only blonde for miles around-certainly at the concert! And then we just played some more and more. I was sorry to discover that Monsieur Cajuste passed away last year, and am grateful to have performed with him and his wonderful band.

c. 2024 David William Brubeck All Rights Reserved.

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