The Tutuma Social Club has always been at the top of my list for out-of-town visitors and any in-towners who haven’t discovered it on their own yet, especially on a night when the house band was playing. If the Gabriel Alegria Afro-Peruvian Sextet isn’t the best jazz band you’ve never heard of, then it may be the best one you’ve never heard live, or if you have, then you are surely among the madly devoted already. Great Peruvian contemporary food (lúcuma is the best dessert item you’ve never tasted), music, interesting and friendly people, unpretentious and welcoming decor, and plenty of pisco has been there to be had, and had.
But the the best things run their course, and Tutuma is – was – no exception. There was a well-deserved standing ovation for the Sextet as the club closed its doors on Saturday night. This special place could not have received a more heartfelt sendoff, with packed houses for both sets, lines down the sidewalk, an after hours party, and a routine but amusingly eleventh hour visitation by the city restaurant inspector.
I will miss Tutuma more than I can express, but it will live on as an entity, with a virtual newsletter and as an occasional pop up (or so it sounds to me). And no matter what the music will go on: the sextet is recording its next album in August for a fall release.