After struggling for ages to obtain U.S. travel visas, the six-piece Ecuadorian group known as Nuages Jazz Ensemble is currently soaking up the wonders of the Lone Star State, with a debut San Antonio performance set for Friday, October 19, at Ruta Maya Riverwalk Coffee House (107 E. Martin).

The band took its name from Django Reinhardt’s gypsy jazz classic “Nuages” (French for “clouds”), and on lovely, circuitous tracks such as “Les Sénégalaises,” it suggests what Reinhardt would have sounded like if he’d established a club residency in Quito, Ecuador, instead of Paris, France. At other times, as with the lyrical waltz “La Valse,” the group brings a French accordion to the fore and sounds convincingly European (in fact, Nuages frontman Sven Pagot is from France and violinst Anette Gregori is from Germany). And with the sonically unconventional (and visually inescapable) presence of tuba, it can also dial up the low-end funkiness of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band.

Wildly eclectic, instinctively tasteful, and relentlessly uplifting, Nuages Jazz Ensemble should win some serious SA converts at Ruta Maya. For more info, call 223-6292.

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