New Swing Is The Thing!

Posted on Apr 6, 2015

The San Francisco Salsa Festival, produced by John Navarez and Elizabeth Rojas of the Salsamania dance troupe,  now in its 7th year has always catered to the Salsa congress type of dancing crowd.  Unlike Salsa festivals of the past, it is not targeted to just music fans.  However, they did raise the musical bar on their event by having the New Swing Sextet as their headliners this year.  The N.Y. based veteran act is now celebrating its 50th year in existence although they did take 30 years off somewhere down the line. That fact doesn’t matter because the band is an explosive ensemble in the Joe Cuba vein. The New Swing Sextet on Saturday evening were tight, swinging and having a great time on stage being cheered on by an enthusiastic crowd of DJ’s, musicians, dancers and fans. They delivered the goods with scorchers such as “Vete Pa Ya” driving the salsa crazy dancers to the floor and the aficionados to the space in front of the stage to watch the band.  I was among the aficionados who couldn’t get enough of watching these pros playing with precision, style, grace…and yes SWING!!  These great musicians led by vibraphonist George Rodriguez are busy putting together their 50th Anniversary recording which should be out in the fall. Members of a similar ensemble: the SF based vibes salsa band Vibrason joined New Swing on stage for an east-west summit of swinging descargas that had the place jumping!!