El Pobre Diablo, jazzclub in Quito, Ecuador

The capital of Ecuador, Quito, is not my favourite city. The only nice part is the historic center of the city and even there you have to be careful not te get robbed. Bus terminals are located at the far ends of the city and ATMs most likely don’t work. People are not really friendly and some nice places to relax are scarse. However, there is one exception, the jazzclub El Pobre Diablo…

When I was about to really dislike this city, I started doing some research on the web. Some cities you really don’t expect to have a nice bar, sometimes do. In Phnom Penh for example, I found a Belgian beer cafe serving delicious Maredsous. This time, I found a jazzclub on the web. However, I wasn’t immediately convinced this would be Quito’s utopia since Ecuador is not really known to have a jazz culture…

At December 14, a Saturday night, I decided to give this place a go. Apparently a band listening to the name “The Faculty” was performing this night at El Pobre Diablo. The band is a sextet with lead singer Viktorija Pilatovic (http://www.viktorijapilatovic.com/) of whom I had never heard. Apparently she is not a nobody in the scene with performances all over the world. In order to enter El Pobre Diablo, I needed some cash first. As I mentioned in the opening statement of this post, this is not easy in Ecuador’s capital. After trying almost a dozen ATMs, I finally found one that worked for me and I was good to go to check out The Faculty.

The Faculty at work at El Pobre Diablo in Quito

The Faculty at work at El Pobre Diablo in Quito

I decided to walk from Mariscal, one of the main areas in the center of Quito, to the jazzclub. As soon as you arrive in the neighbourhood where the bar is located, you’ll notice it’s a more upscale part of town. It’s still Quito though, so care has to be taken, even there. I arrived a bit early and the entrance of the bar looked promising. In front of the bar multiple expensive car were parked and looked after by local men. People dressed up for the occasion and around 10 pm I decided to enter the bar and take a seat at the bar. Let the show begin!

Two seperate areas with about a dozen tables surround the stage. A balcony completed the seating areas and the interior was decorated with many posters of jazz legends. Around 10.30 pm, when I had ordered a nice local beer, The Faculty settled down on stage. Normally I’m not a big fan of big jazz bands. I prefer three or four musicians and ideally without a singer. The Faculty however, consisted of six musicians including a singer. Well, who knows, I might be surprised this time…

The first song was without the singer and the saxophone immediately made an impact. Shortly after, the other musicians showed their skills. This could develop into a great evening. At the start of the second song, Viktorija entered the stage. Her elegant appearance raised expectations. After some warm up struggles, soon these expectations were met. She definitely had a lot of soul. Besides some impressive singing, she started to add a vocal intrument to the band which was superb. The people next to me were discussing her skills too. Some of the people in the audience had vocal lessons from this lady and everybody seemed to be impressed by the performance of The Faculty. At the break Viktorija walked around amongst the audience. Both she and the audience enjoyed this. The second part of the performance was just as good if not better. Overall, a great night out in Quito for under 10 USD. When leaving, make sure to take a taxi back to your hotel if you care about your belongings…

If you ever find yourself in Quito and you like jazz, please make sure to check the agenda of El Pobre Diablo. You might be lucky and witness a great concert of jazz in a part of the world where one would not expect it!

Website: www.elpobrediablo.com
Address: La Floresta, Quito, Ecuador

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