The message board at Cafe Brujula is the best place to find out about what’s happening in Oaxaca. A repository for invitations to exhibitions, concerts, readings, workshops, conferences, sales, and sometimes even jobs, this space is a must-visit at least once a week. However, high winds before the new year blew off all of the posters that re taped there (why aren’t they pinned?) Nothing was reposted until yesterday when I found this announcement for a jazz trio at Cafe Central, a place I’ve been meaning to get to.

M says it is because we are old people now; I say it is because I like to be on time and seated when a show starts. Regardless, we arrived at Central about a half an hour early; this proved to be excellent as we secured a booth and a couple of beers in a place that was soon after standing room only.

Back at the door. M greeted the “bouncer” with a hearty and authentic-sounding “Hola, buenas noches.” As a result, the man assumed M spoke Spanish and began rapidly telling us that entrance was free and something else. I stepped up and said that I needed him to go a bit slower, repeated the first part and asked for the part about the caballero again. He explained that he needed to check M, the caballero (gentleman) to make sure he wasn’t carrying anything. I explained this to M and he put out his arms (as if he was going through secondary screening in an airport). The man then laughing explained to me that he usually can tell from someone’s accent and manner whether than can speak Spanish. M had made it through that first filter.

Inside the club, we couldn’t remember the name of the group (Quimi Mora Jazz Trio). I said, I know it is a trio. Then I noticed that there were four people on stage: drums, keyboard, saxophone, and bassist.

The drums stole the show and both of the keyboards were excellent and added something different to the show. However, the “trio” didn’t need the weak bassist. Not only were there two keyboardists, but at one point there were two saxophone players.

Cafe Central is an outstanding spot for nightlife in Oaxaca: a superlative free show, a comfortable and welcoming atmosphere, a diverse crowd, and endless people-watching potential.





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