Noticias Con Sabor in the month of January
We leave this year with the loss of giants in the Latin Music who have joined the ancestors that include the recent loss of the legendary Mexican star Vicente Fernandez, Panamanian powerhouse sonero Meñique and Paquito Guzman who was known for both his boleros and Salsa tunes. This year we have also lost legends and great musicians such as Johnny Pacheco, Roberto Roena, Chick Corea, Larry Harlow, Adalberto Alvarez, Johnny Ventura, Ralph Irrizary, Tommy Villariny and at the end of 2020, Tito Rojas. We are lucky that these artists have left us with their legacies of music that will continue to entertain people for years to come. Rest in Power!
Spanish Harlem Orchestra conquered Monterey with two explosive sets at a special show this past Saturday, Dec. 11th at the Monterey Conference Center. SHO played a few new tunes from their upcoming 2022 release, their repertoire of hits and Christmas salsa music much to the crowd’s delight. I had the pleasure of emceeing the show as well as playing music as the event’s DJ. SHO who were on fire all night and the dance floor was packed all night long. The crowd roared their approval with a standing ovation at the end of the night. SHO responded with an infectious danceable Christmas song with a crowd sing-a-long which ended the festive evening. Thanks to producer Luis Mendoza and Montuno Productions for inviting me to be a part of this event. Thanks to the great crowd in Monterey who are salseros all the way!
During the COVID19 pandemic, it seemed that all live music stopped being played in public. However, there were a few places, mostly outdoor cafes, farmer’s markets and restaurants with outdoor dining that offered live Latin Jazz during these dark times. One of the unsung heroes who continued to play when the pandemic was at its height is veteran pianist-bandleader Gary Flores who formed Salsa Caliente in SF in 1976. The group has had a lot of prominent musicians including vocalists Paquito Acosta and Angelo Pagan who continued to see their careers thrive in Puerto Rico and Los Angeles. He disbanded Salsa Caliente in the late 90’s to concentrate on a smaller Latin Jazz group. Flores along with ex Franco Brothers bassist/vocalist Carlitos Franco and a revolving lineup of all-star percussionists including Santana timbalero Karl Perazo and former Avance bongocero Oscar Soltero kept the live music going during the pandemic at different venues. Flores was able to continue to play Latin Jazz and Salsa in stripped down format as a trio due to rearranging Salsa tunes as all the members sang coros and vocalized horn lines behind Franco, Now that live music has made a comeback of sorts and some venues are now booking bigger bands, Flores is revitalizing a bigger version of Salsa Caliente featuring Franco and Perazo. Flores has been writing new music and plans to record new music with the group. His last recording “Descarga Caliente: A New Beginning” came out in 2005. Gary Flores is a veteran and a survivor of the San Francisco Salsa Scene who deserves a big shout out for keeping Latin music alive in the age of COVID! Pa’lante Gary!!
Reopening will be later
Some scenes are not reopening for 2022 until February or later. One of those venues affected is Space 550 at 550 Barneveld St. in San Francisco who will reopen in February due to concerns regarding the current surge in COVID cases and the situation with the new variant of the disease. I also spoke with Adrian Goddard of Jaffe Events who told me that he will continue to book events but later in the first quarter of 2022, For some event producers, January isn’t a good month to book Latin Music.
However that’s not stopping Grammy Award winners Pacific Mambo Orchestra who will play their annual January dates at Yoshi’s, Jack London Square on Friday, January 7 and Saturday, January 8th. Get ready to enjoy and dance to swinging Mambo, Salsa and Latin Jazz from this awesome all-star 20 piece band led by pianist Christian Tumalan and trumpeter Steffen Kuehn. This SF based band is scheduled to play at Europe’s prestigious Tempo Latino Festival in late July. Tickets are now available for these upcoming January dates at Yoshi’s. For more information, visit www.yoshis.com.
The Cigar Bar, 850 Montgomery St. in SF is starting 2022 with a calendar of great acts coming to this fine venue where you can dine, dance and smoke a fine cigar if you choose to do so. The schedule includes Orquesta La Original w/Alexis Jan 7, Josh Jones Latin Jazz Ensemble Jan 8, The Latin Rhythm Boys Jan 14, Edgardo y Candela Jan 15, N’Rumba Jan 21, La Clave Del Blanco Jan 22, Julio Bravo Y Salsabor Jan 28 and Manteca Jan 29
The Seahorse in Sausalito continues to feature explosive music from the following acts in January on Saturday and Sunday including La Clave Del Blanco Jan 2, Gary Flores and Salsa Caliente featuring Karl Perazo of Santana Jan 8, Edgardo Cambon y Candela Jan 9, Carlos Xavier Salsa Band Jan. 15, Louie Romero and Mazacote Jan 16, Braulio Barrera and Somos El Son, Jan 22, Orquesta Bembe featuring Christian Pepin on Jan. 23 and Rumbache on Jan. 29. DJ Jose Ruiz from KPOO/KPFA Radio will also be behind the decks for your dancing pleasure. Check out their fine Italian cuisine and selection of beer and wine.
The Ramp, 855 Terry Francois in SF continues to offer Salsa under their all-weather tent during the month of January. Their line up includes N’Rumba Jan 8, Louie Romero & Mazacote Jan. 15, Manny Martinez y La Rebeldia, Jan 22 and Orquesta Borinquen on January 29th. DJ Mendy is providing the music in-between sets and from 9 to 11 pm. The music starts at 5 pm on Saturdays.
Cascal, 400 Castro in Mountain View will be featuring the explosive sounds of Edgardo Cambon and LaTiDo on Fridays, January 7th and 21st starting at 7:30 pm. There is no cover. Cascal continues to offer their tasty menu of Spanish cuisine, Tapas and fine drinks.
The following recordings kept me going during the second year of COVID19: Ruben Blades “Salswing”, El Gran Combo “En Cuarentena” and their Xmas cd “De Trulla Con El Combo”, Gilberto Santa Rosa’s all-star studded “Colegas”, Sonora Ponceña “Hegemonia Musical”, Mel Martinez “Asi Escribe Un Sonero”, Los Generales De La Salsa featuring Van Lester, a 1996 all-star session finally seeing the light of day, Tromboranga “Salsa Terapia”, Los Van Van “Mi Songo”, Various Artists “El Son De Caballero-Homenaje A Adalberto Alvarez and “Son Para Un Sonero”, Sounds Of Cuba “Los Titanes De La Timba”, Alexander Abreu/Havana d’Primera, Various Artists “En Barranquilla Me Quedo-Homenaje a Joe Arroyo, Dorance Lorza’s Sexteto Cafe “20 Aniversario”, Luis Perico Ortiz “Sigo Entre Amigos”, Charlie Donato’s Son Ideal “De Vuelta Al Barrio, Eduardo Zayas Y Su EZ La Banda “Huerto De Soneros” and his latest “Sabor Y Sandunga”, Alain Perez, Issac Delgado & Orquesta Aragon “Cha Cha Cha: Homenaje A Lo Tradicional” and Orquesta Failde “Joyas Ineditas”. There are a flood of singles that did the job as well from Julito Alvarado’s maxi single “Lo Que No Se Escucha (Descarga De Soneros), Don Pergiñon Y La Puertorriqueña, Marc Anthony, Wilito Otero, Josean Rivera, Monsi Y Su Salsa , Mariana Y Su Makynaria, Julito Albino y Secreto De Voces and VibraSON. These recordings are some of my picks for the Best of 2021.
And…if that wasn’t enough, my program Con Sabor, Saturday nights 9 to 11 PM PST on KPFA 94.1 FM will be celebrating its 25th Anniversary year on January 1, 2022! Time flies when you’re having fun!! I’m also on “Sabiduria Con Tumbao” every Wednesday night 5 to 7 PM PST on WorldSalsaRadio.com.
That’s it for this time. Ciao 4 now!!
This is the report last month: Noticias con Sabor by Luis Medina
BY LUIS MEDINA, PRODUCER AND HOST OF CON SABOR ON KPFA 94.1 FM AND SABIDURIA CON TUMBAO ON WORLD SALSA RADIO.COM
- This is the story of Percussionist Joe González - October 31, 2022
- The recently released single “Cómo te quiero yo” is the preview of what will be the album, Sabrosura y Tradición, soon to be released also in acetate. - September 29, 2022
- Tribute to Larry Harlow about a year after his departure - August 31, 2022