Who is Carlos Navarro?
There have been many celebrities, orchestras, groups of all genres who played their part in the salsa cultural movement in the United States, but we cannot deny that bandleader Carlos Navarro and his Son Y Clave Orchestra played a very important role, since they achieved many goals in the Latin music scene in California, specifically in Los Angeles.
Carlos Navarro was a child of the couple formed by Rafael Navarro and Maria De Jesus Velasquez de Navarro, being at the same time the brother of Alexis Enrique (the famous singer Cherry Navarro), Manuel, Rene, Lelys and Audy. The whole family decided to move to Caracas, the parish of El Valle, where all the children continued their studies.
The first one to start an artistic career at a very young age was his older brother Alexis, who would later be known as Cherry Navarro in the artistic field. Carlos followed the same steps and also dedicates himself to music, but focused on salsa, mambo, merengue, and Latin jazz.
In the early 80’s, specifically in 1983, the artist served as co-founder and percussionist in one of the first and most important orchestras in Los Angeles, California, with styles of Salsa, Guaguancó, Merengue, cha cha chá, and Latin Jazz.
This group was called Las Versalles and hired many musicians based in the same city. Here you can see some of the main members and their instruments, Güiro: Carlos Navarro and Jorge Luis Balmaseda, Vocalist, Piano, Arranger: Fito Foster, Vocalist, Guitar, Flute, and Arrangements: Niño Jesús, Bass: Geraldo Zuldo and Luis López, Trumpets: Carleton Smith and Robert Hernández, Trombo: Arturo Velazco, Violin: Gene Hugo, Congas: Humberto Hernández and José “Papo” Rodríguez, Timbales: Héctor Andrade and Edwin Rolland, Backing Vocals: Fitto Foster, Niño Jesús, Bobby Rivas, Jorge Luis Balmaseda and Bass in ‘’Cama Y Mesa’’: Cuco.
Son Y Clave
In 1999, the producer, percussionist and singer founded the Son Y Clave Orchestra and became a very important group in the nightlife of Los Angeles and surrounding areas.
One of the most attractive things for spectators of the places where they perform is the ease with which they dance and execute choreography, which are highly contagious, fast and elegant at the same time.
This diversity of performance styles is another one of the many things that has led this orchestra to the summit. In the same way, they have participated in all kinds of festivals, congresses, concerts and much more. They also had an important participation in salsa nights at venues in Los Angeles and the Bay Area such as El Floridita, where they played with Son Y Clave every Monday, until Carlos had to leave for a while and left talented musician Johnny Polanco in charge.
They have been so popular in the last few years that they have managed to open for world famous bands such as the Rolling Stones, who counted on the talent of the orchestra to grace their performances in one of their most important tours.
God & Salsa and more
They have also been involved in major film projects such as ”Almost A Woman”, whose director has a long-standing friendship with Navarro. They participated in both the promotional trailer and various parts of the film, especially where there are parties and dancing.
Kaplan was so pleased with Carlos’ work in ”Almost A Woman” that she decided to contact him again to work hand in hand on a project titled ”UNO” which is based on one of the most famous Latin American TV hosts, the famous Renny Ottolina. Once again, Son Y Clave will join forces with the renowned filmmaker to put music to ”UNO”.
”Almost A Woman” had a lot of repercussion at the time, but the film for which they became known in recent years was ”God & Salsa”. Carlos Navarro himself was the main responsible for composing much of the original music that was part of the soundtrack of the film. In addition, they were also present at the filming, displaying their great talent and dedication to the audience.
Currently, Navarro has a lot of contacts, friendships and dealings with other figures and producers of the stature of classical guitarist Yalil Guerra, with whom he has participated in multiple musical projects both with his orchestra and at the production level.
He has also shared the stage with important talents in Los Angeles such as Tito Nieves, Luis Barbarán, Guillermo Canales, Ernie Valenzuela, Melissa Campos, Roosevelt Córdova, among many others.