|Sunday, August 17, 2008
CHANNEL CITIES JAZZ CLUB, INC.
|JAZZ NEWS - MY FAVORITE THINGS|
By BOB GASTON, PRESIDENT
|Sometimes the best things in life are surprises. (A lot of the best things are even free - but certainly not all of those "best things".) I just gotta tell you about some really special recent musical experiences that Valerie and I had, some free, some not, but all very exciting and pleasant surprises.|
Probably many of you know about the summer "Music Under The Stars" series at the Olivas Adobe Hacienda on Olivas Park Drive in Ventura. These are Saturday evening events running from July 12th through September 19th this year. I had never been there until the July 12th date featuring the "Louie Cruz Beltran & His Latin Jazz Ensemble" who was listed as a Latin Jazz "Playboy Jazz Festival" favorite. What a great surprise this band was for me! Beltran is an excellent leader and he, and all the members of his band, are absolutely top-flight musicians - and fly they do through a two-hour program of some of the most intricate, exciting, and simply infectiously entertaining music that I've heard in very long time.
With four percussion plus keyboard and bass behind them, the three horn players, (tenor sax, trumpet and trombone) soared through extended solos that continually displayed their technical mastery of their instruments as well as their seemingly bottomless reservoirs of beautiful and hot improvisation ideas. But the biggest surprise for me was the knock-out visual impact of watching the front-line percussion players generate the multiple layers of competing rhythm patterns that are "happening" with this kind of music! To Louie's right is a guy who plays bongos and to his left is the conga player. Louie is in the center standing behind three shinny drums that I don't know the name of, and there are also a few other things for him to "utilize" in addition to those drums, a stick in each hand. It very quickly becomes apparent why Louie is the "leader", because he absolutely controls the group from his front-and-center position and he furnishes the heart, the soul, and the "atom bomb" energy that propels this band to such great heights, but you would never know that by just listening to their CD's. You have to see it "live" first, and then you could get the full effect. This band will be playing near here - (I know they will be in Santa Barbara sometime soon) so check out their schedule at www.louiecruzbeltran.com or www.myspace.com/louiecruzbeltran.
By the way, the dance floor was packed the whole evening, adding a little more to the entertainment value of a night with a band like this. Louie is really clever, quick and funny as well!!