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Benefit for Puerto Rico This Friday 12/1-Roccapulco

Posted on Nov 27, 2017

Puerto Rico continues to be in bad shape after Hurricane Maria.  There are thousands of residents still without electricity, clean water, medical supplies and food.  El Vacilon (formerly of Treasure Island) Productions is throwing a bash with great vocalists from Puerto Rico and New York this Friday evening, Dec. 1 at Roccapulco, 3140 Mission Street in San Francisco starting at 9 pm.   The show will feature internationally acclaimed recording artists Frankie Vasquez, Michael Stuart and Mel Martinez.  They will be backed up by great bands such as Karabali, Avance and Taino respectively.  Karl Perazo, timbalero and percussionist extraordinare of Santana fame will be featured with both Karabali and Avance.  DJ’s Carlitos Way and La Niche will be spinning all night in-between sets.  The suggested donation at the door is $25.  Bring your dancing shoes and get ready to sweat to support Puerto...

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SF Bay Represents with New Recorded Music!

Posted on Nov 6, 2017

We are so lucky in the San Francisco Bay Area that so many talented musicians make this area their home.  As a result, we are enjoying a welcome surge of new recorded music from these fine talents.  One of the hot, new bands that have emerged in this area is Grammy award winning vocalist/percussionist Braulio Barrera and Somos El Son.  Their new recording “Somos El Son” is a delicious sampling of their explosive brand of Salsa and more.  Barrera, a member of Pacific Mambo Orchestra, is a fine vocalist and exceptional percussionist who leads a top notch band of Bay Area based heavies who packed a tremendous swing.   The veteran group of bad boys Orquesta Borinquen have returned with their new recording “Pa Que Tu Lo Sepas”, their follow up to their 2007 cd “El Trombonista”.  Their new recording is full of great arrangements, a collaboration with special guest Willie Torres of Spanish Harlem Orchestra fame and slammin’ tunes.  The band now led by trumpeter Bill Ortega Jr. and featuring vocalist Carlos Xavier shines on this recording.  A strong effort from this fine band.   Percussionist Silvestre Martinez has put out a fine Latin Jazz recording “Vengo De La Costa”.  Martinez whose credits include performing with Louie Romero’s Mazacote and the renowned Charanga orchestra La Moderna Tradition has a distinctive Mexican flavor interwoven into his Latin Jazz fabric.  Check out the tracks “Wildcat” and the title track to appreciate his unique approach....

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Essential Recordings/Fall 2017 Listening

Posted on Sep 25, 2017

I want to share with you a list of fine recent recordings that you should pick up on now.  As we all endure the turbulent, worrisome and absurd nature of these times with President Loose Cannon at the helm, these music recommendations will uplift your spirit and soul.  My heart goes out to the people of Puerto Rico and Mexico as they struggle to rebuild their lives.  Great music often gives you hope, energy and the will to live, listen and dance.  Here are my picks: Ruben Blades w/Roberto Delgado Y Orquesta – Salsa Big Band – rubenblades.com; Doug Beavers – The Art Of The Arrangement – Artist Share; Eddie Palmieri – Sabiduria/Wisdom – Ropeadope/Eddie Palmieri; Javier Fernandez – The Eternal Classic 2 – Javier Fernandez; Dayme Arocena – Cubafonia – Brownswood Recordings; Mulata Son – Mujer Y Artista (EP) – Mulata Son/Cubamusic.com; Oscar Hernandez y Alma Libre – The Art of Latin Jazz – Origin; Pacific Mambo Orchestra – Live At Stern Grove – PMO; Yumuri – Chanaguero – BIS; Isidro Infante – Cuba Y Puerto Rico: Un Abrazo Musical Salsero – BIS – Vision Musical VYT; Arturo O’Farrill/Chucho Valdes – Familia – Motema; Arturo Ortiz & 7 Con Calle – Cuentos De La Calle – DIG Music; Pedrito Martinez Group – Havana Dreams – Motema; Braulio Barrera/Somos El Son – Somos El Son – Somos El Son...

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Summer 2017 – Live music lives in SF/Northern Cali

Posted on Jun 21, 2017

Welcome to Summer 2017!  I have been on hiatus from posting the past two months due to personal reasons.  However, I”m back feeling renewed and refreshed.  I saw a trio of terrific Cuban and Salsa shows during these weeks: Alexander Abreu and Havana D’Primera were phenomenal at Roccapulco..what a tight and dynamic orchestra!  The huge and talented presence of bandleader/vocalist/trumpeter Abreu was matched by the charismatic star presence of ex-Van Vanero, Mayito Rivera who is quite an exceptional vocalist.  They teamed up on an incredible tribute to Juan Formell with Rivera singing one of Los Van Van’s anthems “Soy Todo”.  Simply a great show. Around Carnaval SF Weekend, I just caught some fine acts such as Grammy Award winner Javier Cabanillas “Cabanijazz Project” smoke it out with guest vocalist Edgardo Cambon as well as the hot “La Misa Negra” with their fresh Cumbia sounds and great stage show.  Also caught the reunion of Ramocue with ex-Los Mocosos Victor Castro and Shorty throwing down the funk Mission style. That same weekend, I caught one of the finest Salsa orchestras in the world today, The Spanish Harlem Orchestra under the direction of pianist Oscar Hernandez at Yoshis in Oakland.  SHO were debuting a couple of songs from their forthcoming album as well as some of the favorites from their last few recordings.  SHO were very impressive with a power packed band including timbalero Luisito Quintero, trombonist Doug Beavers, saxophonist/flautist Mitch Frohman and their explosive trio of vocalists: Marco Bermudez, Carlos Cascante and Jeremy Bosch (also exceptional on flute). The Western Region Puerto Rican Council presented the 39th edition of the El Dia De San Juan Festival at History Park in San Jose.  This year’s festival featured the exceptional vocal stylings of Herman Olivera, one of the top Salsa singers in this day and age and the youthful and energetic Salsa of Norberto and Gerardo of NG2.  Backed by the impressive all-star <strong>Orquesta Taino, Olivera shined with a powerful set of his past hits that he’s recorded with Eddie Palmieri, Manny Qquendo and Libre and his acclaimed recording La Voz Del Caribe.  Olivera’s fierce soneos combined with his smooth dance moves to deliver a great performance which ignited the audience. NG2 kept the energy up with their high octane show displaying their great voices which combined their well-known songs with their new material.  NG2 kept the dancers going with their contagious commercial Salsa sound tailored for today’s audiences.  Taino did a great job backing up both Olivera and...

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