The Inside Latin Jazz series continues to offer fascinating and penetrating onstage interviews with leading Latin Jazz artists. Moderated by flute soloist and Professor at Whittier College, Danilo Lozano, this is something every lover of music will not want to miss. See upcoming event dates below.

Thanks to the generous support of the BCM Foundation, tickets to the Inside Latin Jazz series are free. However, they are only available starting two weeks prior to each event, and are Will Call only for phone orders and Print At Home only for internet orders.

 

April 17, 2014 | Thursday | 8:00 p.m. - LATIN JAZZ 101

Latin Jazz 101 - NO FEE REQUIRED
Jazz With No Prerequisites
Instructor: Danilo Lozano
Thursday, April 17, 2014
8:00 PM

In this "class" you’ll gain a deeper knowledge and appreciation of Latin Jazz - the mixture of jazz with rhythms from Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa - creating an infectious and danceable style of music now popular around the world.

The night will feature some of Los Angeles renowned and most sought after musicians in the industry, playing tunes that have become standards in the Latin Jazz repertoire. Guest instructors will include: Alberto Salas, Jorge Sawa, Justo Almario, Ramon Banda, and others to be announced.

There will be no exam!

Open to all majors, minors or people that want to have fun. May be repeated for maximum musical pleasure.

 

PAST EVENTS FROM THIS SEASON

September 24, 2013 | Tuesday | 8:00 p.m. - Lázaro Galarraga

A native of Havana, Cuba, Maestro Galarraga was a founding member of the distinguished Conjunto Folklorico Nacional de Cuba and the Folkloric Ballet of Cuba. For over 60 years he has been a drummer, dancer and singer in the afro-cuban folkloric and religious tradition. He has recorded and performed with Herbie Hancock, Israel "Cachao" Lopez, Chucho Valdes, Paquito D’Rivera, Placido Domingo and many others. He played at the 1996 Atlantic City Olympics and has appeared at the White House before President George H. W. Bush, Sr.

 

 

 

 

 

November 26, 2013 | Tuesday | 8:00 p.m. - Nelson Gonzáles

Born in Vega Baja, Puerto Rico, Nelson González is distinguished for his mastery of the Cuban Tres guitar. This traditional instrument is indispensable to the interpretation of 'Son', the most popular form of Cuban dance music.

His love of Afro-Caribbean music developed at an early age and was nurtured in New York City, where he immigrated at the age of 12. During the 1960's many of today's acclaimed and virtuoso Latin musicians convened regularly at the home of Andy and Jerry Gonzalez to participate in weekly 'jam sessions'. Nelson joined these young and notable musicians that included talents such as Dave Valentin, Hilton Ruiz, Oscar Hernandez, Milton Cardona, Nicki Marrero, Tommy Lopez, Jr., Eladio Perez, Charlie Santiago, Papo Vasquez, Orestes Vilato, and the powerful voices of Adalberto Santiago, Willie Garcia, Justo Betancourt and Virgilio Marti. It was during this period that Nelson explored his interest in the Tres.

Nelson's attraction to the Cuban Tres was initially driven by its reputation as a formidable challenge to achieve technical mastery. The Tres guitar is comprised of three sets of double strings and is known for the degree of technical difficulty it imposes in order to generate a full chord from a limited number of strings. His first Tres was borrowed from Andy Gonzalez and it marked the beginning of his journey with an instrument that represents the richness and tradition of Cuban folklore.

Essential to his development was Rene Lopez, musicologist and leading authority on Cuban music. Through him, Nelson learned the fundamentals and history of Cuban music. He used the recordings of Arsenio Rodriguez and 'El Nino’ Rivera, two masters of the Tres guitar and pioneers of the Cuban 'son', to guide his training. Their genius and the 'descarga' of Israel Lopez Cachao strongly influenced Nelson's music style and skill in incorporating the Tres to the rhythm of the drums. Insipired by the paucity of Tres players in Latin America and the Caribbean, Nelson vowed to preserve tradition through his dedication to this instrument and is regarded by Cachao as the ambassador of the Tres.

His first opportunity as a performer in the Latin music scene was in 1971 as a member of the Justo Betancourt Band. He later played with Orq. Harlow during which time he developed a close friendship with Ismael Miranda that later served to create Orq. Revelacion and soloist for the band. During the 1970's, Nelson recorded with all of the top Latin bands including Charanga Tipica Ideal and two international recordings with African Charanga groups. He was invited to join Grupo Folklorico Experimental Nuevayorquino and in 1972 joined Tipica ’73 for four years. After its dissolution he served as a founding member of Los Kimbos with Adalberto Santiago. He formed his own band in 1976, Nelson González and his Band and recorded two albums, with one produced by the TR (Tito Rodriguez) Record label. Nelson tours with Eddie Palmieri, Israel "Cachao" Lopez, La India, and the Conga Kings.

Nelson was prominently featured on the following Grammy Award Winning albums: Cachao Master Sessions I ,Cachao Master Sessions II, Gloria Estefan's Mi Tierra, Gloria Estefan's Alma Caribena, Rubin Blades' Mundo, Bebo Valdez's El Arte Del Sabor, and Tito Puente and Eddie Palmieri's Masterpiece.

His other accomplishments include: participation in the World Music Festival sponsored by the Smithsonian Music Institute; winner of the 'Best Salsa Band In Latin America' Award for Tipica '73 at the Primer Festival Mundial de Salsa in 1976; winner of the 1977, 1978 and 1979 'Best Tres Player of the Year' Award from Latin NY Magazine; joined Latin Percussion, Inc., to record a percussion instructional album, co-directed two albums with the master of the drum, Carlos “Patato”Valdez, and instructed various "percussion clinics; participation in the inauguration ceremony of President Carter; invitation from the Fania All Stars to record the famous 'Habana Jam' in Cuba; nomination of his CD, Son Mundano(1997) by the 'Tu Musica' Awards for best production of the Year; performance at the 2001 Grammy Awards MusicCares Person of the Year tribute to Paul Simon.

He has made numerous television appearances, including: the 2000 Grammy Awards; "Saturday Night Live,” with Kenny Vance; the "Dick Cavett Show"; the "Mike Douglas Show" with Tipica '73; the "David Letterman Show," with Gloria Estefan and Cachao; the "Sunday Night Show" with Paul Simon; the "Tonight Show with Jay Leno," appearing with Andy Garcia and Cachao; the Rosie ODonnell Show with Marc Anthony; and Marc Anthony Live on HBO. Nelson was in Los Angeles, and was scheduled to perform with Marc Anthony on the ill-fated 2001 Latin Grammys. Nelson is featured, along with many music legends, in the film Cachao: Como Su Ritmo No Hay Dos, by Andy Garcia.

January 21, 2014 | Tuesday | 8:00 p.m. - Orestes Vilató

Born in Camagüey, Cuba in 1944, multi-percussionist Orestes Vilató is one of the most influential figures in the world of Latin percussion. His unique style on the Cuban timbales is one of the most emulated in the genre, and his artistry has graced the stage and recording studios with a Who’s Who of musical legends, from Aretha Franklin to Carlos Santana.

As a pioneer of the East Coast Salsa phenomenon, Vilató played a seminal role with such musical institutions and artists as the Fania All Stars, Ray Barretto, Rubén Blades, Celia Cruz, Johnny Pacheco and many others. After 25 years in New York, Orestes found new musical opportunities in Northern California as a member of the Santana band, forging a road into the Latin Rock genre, and as a result, his virtuoso percussion work would become a main fixture with numerous national and international artists, covering a range of styles from authentic Cuban music to Latin jazz, Salsa, Rock and beyond

In 1995, Orestes earned a Grammy nomination for the groundbreaking album Ritmo y Candela alongside fellow Cuban percussion legends Carlos “Patato” Valdez and José Luis Quintana “Changuito,” and has graced the Grammy-winning albums of Cuban bassist/composer and original Mambo King Israel “Cachao” López. Since relocating to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1981, Orestes maintains his place as one of the most in-demand percussionists on the planet.

As a young boy in Cuba, Orestes was encouraged by his father to pursue his passion for music, turning his first instrument — a guitar — upside-down and playing it like a drum. After receiving his first bongos, a young Orestes immersed himself in studying the music of his homeland, inspired by the many greats he heard on the radio as well as in person.

During the 1950s, the Vilató family moved to New York, and soon Orestes began playing his first timbales. As a teen he honed his skills alongside many pioneers of the Cuban and Jazz music scenes, including Chico O´Farrill, Belisario López, José Fajardo, Lionel Hampton and others. His legacy as founding member of the Fania All Stars would place him at the center of the Salsa explosion of the 1970s, where Orestes would participate in the various seminal recordings and performances of the genre.

After a stint with the acclaimed Ray Barretto and Típica ´73 orchestras, Orestes formed his own group - Los Kimbos - alongside legendary singer Adalberto Santiago, recording four albums as a leader while remaining one of the most in-demand percussionists on the circuit. His many recordings with diverse artists and musical genres reflect his ever-reaching craft and musicianship, and his unique style soon became well known throughout the globe.

During his twenty five years as a New York City resident, Orestes participated in multiple recordings with fellow Latin music giants including The Fania All Stars (including appearances on film and television), Celia Cruz, Tito Puente, Johnny Pacheco, Rubén Blades, Carlos Patato Valdez, Cheo Feliciano, La Lupe, Joe Cuba, Rolando La Serie and many others.

Over the decades Orestes would expand his musical tapestry, particularly through the high visibility of his nine year-stint with the Santana Band, lending his percussion sound to recordings and performances by Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin, Willie Nelson, Herbie Hancock, Linda Ronstadt, Wynton and Branford Marsalis, McCoy Tyner, Dave Valentin and Paco De Lucia, among others. He has made numerous appearances as a guest artist at such renowned festivals as the Heineken Jazz Festival (Puerto Rico), San Francisco Jazz Festival, Monterey and San José Jazz festivals, and has been the recipient of several tributes and awards.

In addition, Orestes continues to share his musical talent as a clinician for several prestigious music institutions such as Stanford University, UCLA, The Berklee College of Music and the University of Anchorage. He has also recorded on the soundtracks for several highly acclaimed films, including The Mambo Kings, Our Latin Thing and Dance With Me.

Considered one of the most influential timbales players north of Cuba, Orestes Vilató maintains one foot in the rich tradition of his homeland, and the other in the vast exploration of musical fusion in North America and beyond.


EVENTS FROM LAST SEASON

Tuesday, September 25, 2012, 8:00 p.m. - Javier Zalba Suarez

Javier Zalba Suarez is a successful and recognized Cuban-born flutist, clarinetist, and saxophone player. He has built an illustrious career and repertoire around the world with sophisticated timbres and technical execution of the family of saxophones, clarinets, and flutes. Javier enjoys an active performing career that covers different styles of music ranging from Classical, Jazz, Latin Jazz, to popular Cuban music.

A classically trained artist Javier Zalba graduated from the Cuban National School of Arts (ENA) as a clarinetist in 1976 and as a flautist from the Professional Studies School, Ignacio Cervantes in 1984. He began his professional career as a clarinet teacher at the ENA in 1978. In the same year, he took part in the Orquesta Cubana de Musica Moderna.

In 1984, he was invited to take part in Irakere, one of Cuba’s best-known Latin Jazz bands led by Chucho Valdés. Enjoying a successful career as a flute, clarinetist and saxophone player, he joined Bobby Carcasses’ ensemble Afrojazz in 1991, the orchestra of the Tropicana Cabaret, and the group Oru which was directed by guitarist Sergio Vitier. In 1997, he became a member of the group Cubanismo, directed by trumpet player Jesus Alemany. In the same year, he partnered with pianist Roberto Fonseca and created his own Latin Jazz ensemble called, Temperamento. It was in 2000 when he joined the legendary Buena Vista Social Club Orchestra with singer, Ibrahim Ferrer and pianist, Ruben Gonzalez performing in some of the most prestigious venues and music festivals around the world.

The internationally embraced and respected artist, Javier has been invited several times as a member and soloist by the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra and many others chamber ensembles. 

As a soloist, he has recorded two albums entitled, Homenaje (Serendib Classic) in 1995, and his most recent Bariton-cha (Colibri). As a musician, his contributions have expanded outside the musical genre and into the literary world through his books, Technique for the Saxophone being published by Abdala in Havana, Cuba, and his upcoming books, Sax Soneando and Flute Soneando will be published by Advance Music, a German company.

Javier Zalba Suarez is currently a professor at the Amadeo Roldan Conservatoire and has conducted several Cuban Music workshops in Barranquilla, Colombia (2000); Copenhagen Rhythmic Conservatoire, Denmark (2003); Liceo de Barcelona (El Aula), Spain (2004); Guildhall School of Music and Drama, England (2004 & 2006) and Montreaux as part of the Jazz Festival, Switzerland (2005) and Vandoren House, Paris (2010).

Today Javier continues to be a top Latin Jazz world performer. His versatility, flair, combined with his domination and mastering of woodwind instruments allows him to create authentic and timeless musical passages for people around the globe. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012, 8:00 p.m. - The Banda Brothers

Respect. Admiration. In the highly demanding field of music, they're awarded to only a choice few…to outstanding creative forces like Ramon and Tony Banda. They are best known to audiences the world over for the 30 plus years of solid, uncompromising work they spent as the backbone and anchors of one of the worlds most celebrated music ensembles, the Poncho Sanchez Latin Jazz Band…Tony on bass, Ramon on drums & timbales.

There was much music in the family home and surrounding neighborhood. By 1961 the brothers were performing on a regular basis all across Southern California, thus receiving invaluable "on the bandstand" experience at an unusually young age. It was during these formative years that the brother's love and appreciation for a wide variety of musical styles developed, especially Jazz / Latin / Rhythm & Blues. The brothers have participated in countless world tours, music festivals and recording sessions with a long list of world renown artist including Dizzy Gillespie, Tito Puente, Cal Tjader, Celia Cruz, Ray Charles, Snooky Young, Carmen McRae, Mongo Santamaria, Joey DeFrancesco, Ry Cooder, Jackson Browne,  Stanley Turrentine, Joe Pesci, Jimmy Smith, Francisco Aguabella, Jazz Crusaders, Eddie Harris and the list goes on.

Playing with an energy and conviction that is soulful, relaxed and intensely swinging, Tony & Ramon sign all of their art that way, but never more so than when they now head up their own group "The Banda Brothers". Formed in 1996, the group has a unique talent for bringing insight and imagination to original material as well as covered classics, providing the perfect balance of accessibility and invention. Their debut CD “Acting Up!” was released on the WJ3 Label.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013, 8:00 p.m. - Alex Acuña

Born in Pativilca, Peru, 100 miles north of Lima, Alex Acuña was born into a musical family that inspired him and helped shape him as a musician. His father and five brothers were all musicians. Alex taught himself how to play the drums from the age of four. By the time Alex turned ten, he was already playing in local bands. As a teenager, he moved to Lima and became one of Peru's most accomplished session drummers, performing on many recording projects for artists, as well as film and television productions.

In Lima, Alex also earned a glowing reputation for his live performances. So much so, that at the age of eighteen, Alex was chosen by the great Latin band leader, Perez Prado, to join his big band. It was with the Prado band that Alex first traveled to the United States. In 1967, Alex moved to Puerto Rico to work as a studio musician and play locally. During this period, he also studied for three years at the Puerto Rico Conservatory of Music, playing as a classical percussionist with the Symphony Orchestra under the direction of the famed Spanish cellist master Pablo Casals.

Alex moved to Las Vegas in 1974, where he played with such greats as Elvis Presley and Diana Ross. Between 1975 and 1977, he made part of jazz history when he became both drummer and percussionist for one of the most innovative and pioneering jazz groups of our time, Weather Report. He first performed as percussionist (October 1975 to April 1976), and later as drummer (April 1976 to October 1977). He recorded two albums with the group: "Black Market" (1976) and the highly successful "Heavy Weather" (1977), which included the famous tracks "Birdland" and "Havona." "Heavy Weather" became the first jazz-fusion album to sell a million copies.

Alex next moved to Los Angeles, California, in 1978 where he quickly earned the position of a valued session drummer and percussionist for recordings, television and motion pictures. His countless album credits include such diverse artist as U2, Paul McCartney, Joni Mitchell, Ella Fitzgerald, Whitney Houston, Sergio Mendes, Yellow Jackets, Chic Corea, Julio Iglesias, Koinonia, Juan Gabriel, Luis Miguel, Placido Domingo, Wayne Shorter, Joe Zawinul and many more. Alex has also performed live with the likes of Al Jarreau, Roberta Flack, Antonio Carlos Jobim, The Gipsy Kings, Paco de Lucia, Carlos Santana, Herbie Hancock, Christina Aguilera and Tito Puente, to name a few. Additionally, Alex has recorded film scores under the direction of Dave Grusin, Alan Silvestri, Michele Legrand, Bill Conti, Michele Colombier, Marvin Hamlish, Maurice Jarre, Mark Isham, Hans Zimmer, John Williams, Lalo Schiffrin and others. He became the recipient of many awards and honors including the Emeritus MVP award from NARAS (National Academy of Recording for the Arts and Sciences) and winner of the "Best Latin/Brazilian Percussionist" of Modern Drummer's Readers Poll for five consecutive years.

Alex's South American and Caribbean roots and understanding of contemporary and classical music make him a complete and skilled master musician. In 2000, Alex Acuña y Su Acuarela De Tambores received a Grammy nomination for "Best Traditional Tropical Latin Album" for "Rhythms for a New Millennium". This solo album included varying styles of Latin, South American and African percussion. The nomination confirmed Alex's vast knowledge and expertise of percussion rhythms. Zan Stewart of the Los Angeles Times wrote, "Alex Acuña is the epitome of the world music percussionist, to whom no style is a stranger". In addition, Alex has composed music for various artists and produced "Thinking of You" by Alex Acuña and the Unknowns, "Rumberos Poetry" by Tolú and "Aliyah" by Kay Silberling. This year will also see the release of Tolú's "Bongo de Van Gogh," the Unknowns follow-up album, and several projects for NIDO Entertainment.

Alex is widely known as an educator, gifted teacher and clinician of drums and percussion. He has recorded four solo instructional videos and provides seminars at universities such as UC Los Angeles, Berklee School of Music in Boston and other top international schools of music. DW Drums, Zildjian Cymbals, Gon Bops Percussion, Gibraltar, Vic Firth, Evans and Shure microphones all sponsor Alex. He is also credited with the design of Zildjian's "Azuka" line of cymbals, signature Vic Firth sticks and the caddy stick bag, the Alex Acuña signature line of congas, bongos, timbales, cajons, and bells from Gon Bops Percussion.

Innovation, energy and pure heart characterize Alex's playing. It is easy to see why Alex Acuña is one of the most sought after musicians of our time. Alex recognizes his music as a gift from the Lord and gives all the glory to God!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013, 8:00 p.m. - Rolando Lozano

Lozano, Rolando (José Calazán Lozano). Flutist. Cienfuegos, las Villas. August 27, 1931. Lozano studied with his father Lorenzo Lozano and at the Academia de Música de Cienfuegos. He started his artistic career in 1942 as a flutist for the Moderna orchestra in his birth city and later joined the Estrella de Cienfuegos and the Banda Municipal where he played the clarinet and saxophone. In 1950, he began working as a flutist for the Aragón orchestra substituting Efrain Loyola; in 1954 he joined the América de Ninón Mondéjar orchestra with which, he traveled to Mexico. He later moved to Chicago where he joined the Nuevo Ritmo orchestra formed by - flute: Rolando Lozano; violin: Elizardo Aroche and Felix Legarreta (Pupi); piano: Rene Hernandez; double bass: Victor Venegas; conga: Armando Sanchez; timbal: Nicolas Martinez (Cuco); guiro: Rudy Calzado and singers: Lionel Braveti and Pellin Rodriguez – with which group he performed at the Palladium in New York.

Lozano later joined the charanga band La Sabrosa by the percussionist Ramon Santamaria (Mongo), and performed with them in the Village Gate in New York. He later recorded with the vibraphonist Cal Tjader, the timpanist Tito Puente and the pianist George Shearing. After relocating in Los Angeles, California, he played in the René Block Big Band with Jaime Calderon, with Los Internacionales and the Típica Antillana, in addition to creating the musical arrangements for these orchestras and salsa groups. His style of playing the flute is similar to Antonio Arcaño to the point that other flutists consider him to be his successor. To this regard he has said, “Arcaño has a very sweet and complete sound. His style is very classic and romantic and brings out the magical qualities from the flute, which always inspired me and caused me to admire his style so much. Rolando Lozano appears in the films: Del chachachá al mambo, Música de siempre, Las viudas del chachachá, Club de señoritas and Qué rico vacilón.

 

Presented by the Whittier College Music Dept., Emerson Bran Management and the Ruth B. Shannon Center for the Performing Arts.
Inside Latin Jazz is an educational outreach series featuring interviews with leading Latin Jazz artists,
and is made possible by the generous support of the BCM Foundation.

 

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