Does he fear that the Afro-Cuban rhythms of his native Matanzas will someday be lost? "No, no," he asserts. "As long as there is Santeria, as long as there is a strong Yoruba culture, there will be these rhythms, there will be these ceremonies. You have to learn the rhythms if you want to play these ceremonies."
And while he expresses love for his homeland, he expresses a dislike for the politics connected with it. He had no comment on the U.S. government's recent denial of a visa for Ibrahim Ferrar to attend the Grammys. "I believe it is the musician's job to play—for Republicans, for Democrats, for everybody. Freedom is a political thing. But it's also a musical thing."
The Francisco Aguabella Latin Jazz Band performs at Steamers Café, 138 W. Commonwealth Ave., Fullerton, (714) 871-8800. Sat., 8:30 p.m. $5 (Reservations recommended). All ages.