Sly And The Family Stone’s Stand Performed Live in SF

Posted on Jan 21, 2014

The Independent was packed wall to wall on Sunday night by people of all walks of life paying tribute to the music of Sly and the Family Stone.  Vocalist Zakiya Harris was on stage with her large troupe of singers, dancers and musicians putting their take on the Sly classic “Higher”.  The energy was high as the producers UnderCover presented this unique tribute to Sly with different bands from all genres of music each taking turns playing one song from a classic album.  The crowd roared with approval as they heard funky, hard rock, jazzy and latinized versions of the classic “Stand” album.  The Marcus Shelby Quartet was a crowd pleaser.  Mission district’s own Bayonics came on next with a crowd rousing version of “Sing A Simple Song”.  They flipped the song to bring in the Latin flavor and took the crowd to a higher place. Sly alumni Rusty Allen, who took Larry Graham’s place in the 70’s was practicing and taking in the groove happening on stage from his spot in the VIP mezzanine section.  KPFA’s Rickey Vincent from the History Of Funk program was the emcee.  He took the opportunity to make his own comments and recall classic moments.  It was a groove...

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Tribute To Cachao/Walfredo De Los Reyes at SF Jazz Center

Posted on Jan 20, 2014

Last night, Grammy nominated percussionist/bandleader John Santos pulled off another great all-star tribute at the beautiful SF Jazz Center in San Francisco.  This tribute was to honor the late genius who was instrumental in the development of the descarga, mambo and danzon,  Israel Lopez “Cachao” and the living drum/percussion legend Walfredo De Los Reyes Sr. who also developed the descarga and Cuban Jazz.  The sold out show was divided into two halves: the first set was devoted to the Cuban Danzon, many of which were written by Cachao.  John Santos and his talented sextet made of pianist/trumpeter Marco Diaz, bassist Saul Sierra, drummer David Flores, saxophonist Melecio Magdaluyo and flutist/pianist John Calloway were joined by Cuban master woodwind master Paquito D’ Rivera,  the Cultural Revolution string trio led by violinist Anthony Blea, legendary timbalero Orestes Vilato and conguero Javier Navarette. What a beautiful set of danzon, strings and swing expertly played by this ensemble.  Rivera was a delight as he balanced his virtuosity with his great sense of humor.  There were plenty of musical fireworks as almost everyone had an opportunity to solo and shine.  The second half of the show was dedicated to the “descarga” or jam session that both Cachao and De Los Reyes were noted pioneers.  The ensemble were cookin’ with explosive fervor with the three horn section of Rivera, Magdaluyo and Calloway.  Walfredo De Los Reyes Sr. joined the band displaying his brilliance on the timbales and trap set especially on his composition “Leche Con Ron”.  If that wasn’t enough, surprise guest, former Santana conguero Raul Rekow brought the house down with a fiery conga solo near the end of the set. All of the participants were at the top of their game playing with passion and displaying their fierce virtuosity. I’m delighted that SF Jazz continues their commitment to great music thanks to executive director Randall Kline!  Thanks to artistic director John Santos for his enthusiastic vision in planning and presenting this excellent...

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Top Picks 2013 – Salsa/Latin Jazz/Afro Cuban/Musica Cubana

Posted on Jan 8, 2014

I just finished airing my programs featuring the best music of 2013.  Here is my list in no particular order because they are all fine recordings!! Puerto Rico All Stars – Echando Candela Cubana All Stars – A Dream Come True Mauricio Silva – Legado De La Salsa Venezolana Volume 1 Chucho Valdes/Afro Cuban Messengers – Border-Free Orquesta SCC-Salsa Con Conciencia – Renacimiento Africando – Viva Africando Conjunto Sabrosura – Mona Pa Mi Bongo Sonora Poncena – 10 Para Los 100 Yolanda Rivera – La Hija Del Guaguanco New Swing Sextet – Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow Various Artists – Sabe Venezuela Volume 2 Ray Viera Y Trombao – Sambumbia Radioactiva La Maxima 79 – Regresando Al Guaguanco Maikel Blanco Y Su Salsa Mayor – A Toda Maquina Trombonranga – Al Mal Tiempo Buena Salsa Mamborama – Baila Que Baila Omar Sosa – Eggun John Santos Sextet – Filosofia Caribena Vol. 2 Pedrito Martinez Group – The Pedrito Martinez Group Buika – La Noche Mas Larga Mitch Frohman Latin Jazz Quartet – From Daddy With Love DJ El Chino/Various – Salsa World Series Vol. 5 Tipica Novel – Mirando Pa’l Cielo Manuel Valera/New Cuban Express – Expectativas Wayne Wallace Latin Jazz Quintet – Latin Jazz Jazz Latin Mayito Rivera – Alma De Sonero Pacific Mambo Orchestra – PMO Timbalive – Con La Musica Cubana…NO! Late 2013 releases that can be considered for 2014 El Gran Combo – 50 Anniversario Pete Rodriguez – Caminando Con Papi Eddie Palmieri – Doin It In The Park EP Hector Aponte/Orquesta Harlem Riverside – Tres Generaciones De Nuestra Musica David Calzado Y Charanga Habanera – Se Sufre Pero Se...

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Farewell Chata

Posted on Dec 28, 2013

Chata Gutierrez, a mainstay in the San Francisco Bay Area radio scene for four decades, passed away on December 17 after a long battle with liver cancer.  She was 60.  Blessed with a great voice, smooth delivery and impeccable musical taste, Chata was a natural for radio.  She started back in KPFA under the guiding hand of radio producer Emiliano Echeverria back in 1972.   She hosted programs at KPFA and KPOO from 1972 to 1979.   I have known Chata since we were classmates in high school and actually worked together for a brief stint at KPFA back in 1976.   We were friends, colleagues and rivals but always had mutual respect for each other and the music.  She produced her long running Saturday salsa music program later known as “Con Clave” for 33 years at community radio station KPOO.  Her program was essential listening for Latin music fanatics and Salsa lovers.  She was a staunch advocate for Salsa who was awarded the Tom Donahue award in the late 1980’s.  She was loved by her radio public and the Mission community in SF that supported her but was also a fierce competitor and brutally frank in her opinions about music and people.  She kept hosting her popular program despite her up and down days almost up to the time of her death with the help of radio dj Jose Ruiz.  She will sorely be missed.  There will be a  wake at Driscoll’s Mortuary from 2 to 6 pm and a memorial concert immediately following at Roccapulco to honor her memory this Sunday, December 29th in San...

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