Live music and other news in the SF Bay Area
I recently interviewed percussion phenom and timbalero for Santana, Karl Perazzo on my KPFA Radio program Con Sabor. He is quite a busy man…I caught up to him while he is in Las Vegas for rehearsals for Santana’s upcoming slew of shows at the House Of Blues. In addition to his busy schedule with Santana, Karl has other projects during his spare time that include the SF based all-star Salsa band Karabali as well as guest appearances with Salsa Caliente that kept him busy during the COVID. He also appears on occasion with fellow bongocero Jake Jacobs band VibraSON. On top of all of that, Perazzo also creates and manages his own line of jewelry.
Perazzo, a self taught musician who was drawn to the drum and Afro-Cuban music as a young child and started his musical studies at the age of 8. Karl is a phenomenal percussionist who plays masterful Timbales, Bongo, Congas, cowbell and an impressive array of percussion instruments. He has been a mainstay in the Santana band for the past 31 years inheriting the Timbales spot from the legendary Orestes Vilato. Perazzo is still going strong keeping the percussive fire burning on Santana’s latest recording Blessings and Miracles. The band will be launching a major tour with Pop legends Earth Wind and Fire later this year. He has his own signature line of Latin Percussion congas and bongos that he designed himself with a distinctive Dia De Los Muertos sugar skull theme to honor the ancestors.
Perazzo has previously performed with the greats such as Tito Puente who mentored him when he was a young kid along with another fellow kid phenom Gibby Ross. I saw Karl and Gibby playing with Tito on stage-what a sight to see! Karl also played with Sheila E. (as a member of her band in her emergence as a huge star in the 1980’s), Prince, Pete Escovedo, Dizzy Gillespie, Malo, Pacific Mambo Orchestra, Ray Obiedo, Andy Narell, Jorge Santana, Raul Rekow and many others. Perazzo also formed the popular SF based salsa band Avance which had a long run starting in the early 1990’s. The group disbanded in 2020. Karl has kept himself connected to his roots which is Salsa and Afro-Cuban music but has always kept his hear open to all types of music since his childhood. He credits his father who always encouraged Perazzo to push himself to be a complete percussionist, to learn how to sing and be a versatile performer.
Perazzo is now launching his own YouTube show “The Backstage Show” on the TBS Music Channel in the next couple of months which will focus on fellow creatives such as musicians, artists, chefs, writers and other notable individuals involved in arts and culture. Perazzo who is the host of “The Backstage Show‘ told me that the program’s mission is “to turn music into inspiration“. I asked Karl Perazzo what keeps him going. He told me “you have to have passion in whatever you do in life…whether it’s sweeping the floor or playing the drum”. You can feel that burning passion, inspiration and enthusiasm along with those great playing chops whenever you see him play live! You can catch up with Karl Perazzo by following him on Instagram under karlpperc.
Music Notes: Salsa superstar Luis Enrique and Peruvian salsero Josimar Y Su Yambu are the new headliners replacing Victor Manuelle on Saturday, April 9th at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Burlingame. Promoters JC Coral and Bosco Vega are presenting the show which originally was scheduled for early February but was postponed due to COVID restrictions. The new lineup was announced earlier in February. For tickets, visit eventbrite.com, tickeri.com, ticketsparati.com or call 415-424-8809 or 650-218-0861.
Former El Gran Combo vocalist Charlie Aponte will be singing his original solo material as well as a slew of his great Gran Combo hits on Friday, April 6 at Roccapulco in San Francisco. Pepe Y Su Orquesta will be opening up the show brought to you by Jaffe Events. Roccapulco will also be presenting the red hot Combinacion De La Habana with a high energy six man vocal front line for their SF debut on Saturday, March 5th. CDLH is under the direction of Gerson Valdes, the nephew of iconic pianist Chucho Valdes and performs Timba mixed in with Reggaeton and Salsa Dura. This popular group is embraced by Cuba’s youthful fans and making fans everywhere.
Jaffe Events in association with MGD Productions will be presenting a dream Cuban music double bill featuring Los Van Van and Havana d’Primera with Alexander Abreu on Friday, May 6th at Berkeley’s UC Theatre, 2036 University Avenue. DJ Antonio will also play in-between sets. I have the honor of serving as the Master of Ceremonies of this special event. For Info and tickets visit www.jaffeevents.com.
Former Los Van Van vocalist Yeny Valdes and her band will be visiting the popular Fresquecito monthly party at La Furia Chalaca, 310 Broadway in Oakland on Saturday, March 12 at 10 pm. Yeny will be joined by resident DJ’s Walt Digz and Pepe Timba. For tickets, visit www.eventbrite.com
La Peña Cultural Center, 3105 Shattuck Avenue in Berkeley is featuring a special “Baila” community dance party on Friday, March 18th from 7 pm to 1 am with a multi-room environment featuring the explosive salsa of BrauLio Barrera’s Somos El Son with KPOO/KPFA DJ Jose Ruiz in the main auditorium. DJ Ron will be spinning Bachata in the lounge. Salsa and Bachata dance lessons by In Lak’ech Dance before the show begins at 7:30 pm. Tickets are already going fast. For tickets and information, visit lapena.org.
World Salsa Radio is presenting their second in a series of dance socials on Friday, March 25th at The Beat, 2560 Ninth Street in Berkeley. There will be dance performances by renowned Salsa dance troupes as well as Salsa lessons starting at 9 pm. The DJ music will be provided by WSR CEO Felipe “El De La Clave SF” Martinez and WSR co-founder Orlando DJ Boricua” Felix. Special guest DJ will be yours truly, Luis Medina of “Sabiduria Con Tumbao” starting my set at 10 pm.
Be sure to tune in on your laptop, phone or devices by visiting www.worldsalsaradio.com. It’s on 24 hours a day!
The Seahorse in Sausalito continues to showcase a variety of fine bands on Saturday and Sunday evenings starting at 5 pm. This month, the Seahorse features Julio Bravo’s 50+ Birthday Party with Julio and Salsabor 3/6, Rumbache 3/12, Edgardo Cambon and Candela 3/13, Anthony Blea & Friends and DJ Jose Ruiz’ Birthday Party 3/19, Louie Romero & Mazacote 3/20, La Clave Del Blanco 3/26 and Orquesta Taino on 3/27. The featured DJ is KPOO/KPFA’s Jose Ruiz. Great food, Beer and Wine are offered at this popular venue located across the Golden Gate Bridge at 305 Harbor Drive.
The Ramp, 855 Terry Francois Blvd near the water in San Francisco continues their popular Salsa Saturdays with N’Rumba 3/5, Orquesta Borinquen 3/12, Karabali 3/19 and Manny Martinez y Orquesta La Rebeldia 3/26. The shows start at 5 pm and feature DJ Mendy in-between the sets.
San Francisco’s The Cigar Bar on 850 Montgomery Street is continuing their hot Friday and Saturday night live Latin music schedule in March. This month, they are presenting Manteca, 3/4, Pepe Y Su Orquesta 3/5, The Latin Rhythm Boys 3/11, Josh Jones Latin Jazz Ensemble 3/12, Julio Bravo y Salsabor 3/18, La Clave Del Blanco 3/19, Somos El Son 3/25 and Edgardo Cambon y Candela 3/26. Enjoy the classic surroundings, the patio, the fine food, cigars, drinks and the swinging music at the Cigar Bar.
Promoter/DJ Bosco Vega is also opening a new local night spot Gustoso at the Atlas Lounge, 637 San Mateo Avenue, San Bruno on Sat. March 12th featuring Salsa, Bachata and Timba by DJ’s Franklin, Antonio and Bosco himself!!
Remember you can catch my radio programs Con Sabor (in its 25 anniversary year) on KPFA 94.1 FM and kpfa.org Saturday nights 9 to 11 PM PST & Sabiduria Con Tumbao on Wednesday nights 5 to 7 PM PST on WorldSalsaRadio.com.
That’s it for this time! Ciao 4 now!!
BY LUIS MEDINA, PRODUCER AND HOST OF CON SABOR ON KPFA 94.1 FM AND SABIDURIA CON TUMBAO ON WORLD SALSA RADIO.COM