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In Louise Ernst’s 2002 documentary El Trombone de Bomba, William Cepeda’s Jazz, the Puerto Rico-born horn player and percussionist doesn’t just perform in a club: We see Cepeda and other musicians in a parade, a town square, a packed living room, and on the beach of his home town of Loiza. This rarely-seen 65-minute effort also captures Cepeda with jazz players, flamenco dancers, and a koto musician in the studio and onstage in New York. The film works well as an introduction to bomba, an African-rooted music and dance form, and it demonstrates how songwriter Cepeda, who has played with names like Dizzy Gillespie, Miriam Makeba, and Lester Bowie, creates his own meld of international styles. But awkward chronological jumps don’t help, and the film omits Cepeda’s impressive Berklee College of Music background, his teaching, and his life outside his jazz. The 46-year-old Cepeda will take questions at tonight’s screening, and hopefully he’ll fill in some holes.
The film shows at 7 p.m. at the Library of Congress’ Mary Pickford Theater in the James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. SE. Free.