The Big Six O: Armando Cairo

Close your eyes and his warm tenor sounds bring you to dark, late-night jazz cafe no matter where you are. His old mouth piece is a conscious choice, as he doesn’t want the clean sound that’s popular with some. His examples are Ben Webster, Dexter Gordon. We’re talking about Armando Cairo.

Armando – not to be mistaken with the also-Amsterdam born painter and writer Armando -  has been a musical asset of the city for almost 36 years, celebrating his ‘Big Six O’ on Saturday March 23.

A life change at 24
With his dark eyes and trademark suit and hat, you can easily spot Armando within a crowd. The origins of these dark eyes lie in Surinam, a country where he’s never been. ‘Our father came to the Netherlands in 1947 and married a farmer’s daughter from Broek in Waterland,’ his brother and jazz drum player Roberto shares, ‘yet only our sister’s ever been to Surinam.’

Armando studied art at the Rietveld Academy, collecting vinyl records of his favourite jazz musicians. It’s only when a friend suggests he starts playing himself, that he does, at the age of 24. A painter turned saxophonist.

P.S. I Love You
Besides playing at various locations in and around Amsterdam, Armando teaches, writes music (he has recorded two albums), leads bands and workshops (also on drums), leads the Crea Big Band… and so the long list of activities goes on.

It’s about time to hear the man play: check this documentary made by Jazz TV (1999). The 1934 jazz standard P.S. I Love You starts at 13:14.

Armando Cairo, PS I Love You

One might think you can only learn to be a proper musician when you start at a young age; Armando Cairo proves you wrong – and luckily so!

You can see Armando play regularly at various locations in and out of Amsterdam
WHY NOW His ‘Big Six O’ party is coming up! Tickets: € 10
WHEN March 23, 2013
WHAT Typico Danzon Orkest lead by Armando Cairo, Jiggle ‘n Jazz (previously Jasper van der Schaaf Kwintet) and the Armando Cairo/Walther de Graaff Quartet with Gerco Aerts (double bass) and Ben Schröder (drums)

Photo © ArmandoCairo.com. Text © Amsterdam Culture/Sheila Schenkel

The Big Six O: Armando Cairo

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