Thank you everyone for a truly awesome festival and for supporting the BSPA all year long! The 20th Annual Brownsville Latin Jazz Festival is scheduled for October 14-16, 2016 and, needless to say, it should be memorable!
Inaugurated in 1997 by the late great "King of Latin Music" Tito Puente, the Brownsville Latin Jazz Festival has presented dozens of artists of the highest caliber, advanced our cultural diversity, influenced our young performers, generated tourism, entertained thousands and improved quality of life in our community. Many consider us THE Latin Jazz Festival of Texas and one of the best in the country. It's well regarded as a small festival that has preserved its quality, authenticity and identity for nearly two decades.
Recognizing this achievement, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has awarded the Festival prestigious grants for nine years in a row. Likewise, the Texas Commission on the Arts (TCA) has supported us for almost 15 years. None of this would be possible without support from our audience and the City of Brownsville, to whom we are most grateful.
Inherent to our didactic mission, the Festival was designed to educate as well as entertain. Countless students, educators and performing artists have benefited from the world-class touring artists the Festival has hosted for nearly two decades. For all of us, the quality of their clinics, master classes and performances have re-defined the true meaning of artistic excellence... they've created much of the musical legacy fundamental to the Latin Jazz we hear today.
It is our pleasure to share this wonderful music with you. Latin Jazz is irresistible, sophisticated and grown far beyond its roots... still African, unmistakably Latin and so American too. It is inclusive, not exclusive, the ultimate blend of our cultures, the music and dance they'll remember us by.
Responsible for producing much of the Festival's education outreach during the last decade is our talented friend and Jazz guitar master, Clay Moore. This year, he recruited an impressive array of veteran jazz musicians, his colleagues from when they shared the stage of The Elephant Room, known for decades as the hub of Jazz in a city known for live music, Austin, Texas.
The suitably dubbed Los Elefantes del Jazz led by Clay featured Adrian Ruiz on trumpet, Michael Mordecai on trombone, Evan "Sticky Lopez" Arredondo on bass, Miguel Longoria on drums, Tom Raines on vibes, and the Jazzmanian Devil himself, Tomas Ramirez, on saxophones.
On their first set, they honored a selection of Jazz masters we've presented or paid tribute to in the past, including the great timbalero Tito Puente, vibraphonist Cal Tjader, trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie and percussionist Chano Pozo, Bossa Nova founder Antonio Carlos Jobim, pianist Chick Corea, percussionist Mongo Santamaria, guitarist Wes Montgomery and pianist Horace Silver. They played a tune by each of the honored artists, allowing each of the group's musicians to showcase their unique talents.
On their second set Los Elefantes del Jazz paid tribute to saxophonist, clarinetist and composer Paquito D'Rivera. Born and raised in Cuba, D'Rivera is a true renaissance man of music, equally at home in straight ahead jazz, classical music, multitude musical styles of his native Cuba and the Caribbean, and the music of Central and South America. In 2005 D'Rivera was honored as a Jazz Master by the National Endowment for the Arts, he's won fourteen GRAMMY Awards and recorded 30 solo albums.
Check out this video of a Danzón with Paquito on YouTube called "Siguelo Si Puedes, Ayá Tú" featuring the great bassist Israel "Cachao" Lopez.
Beto and the Fairlanes played outdoors in the recently restored Market Square in the heart of the Brownsville's Historic Downtown District. Thanks to the cooperative spirit of our partners, the Brownsville Historical Association (BHA), we were able to present our headline act for a very affordable $10.00 cover charge.
For a taste of their spicy, powerful music, check out a previous performance of theirs, recorded in Austin, in the video below:
The popular Capitol Theatre Street Party... a free, outdoor happening like no other in Brownsville, did not disappoint! An estimated two thousand persons enjoyed a great street party that started at 2pm and ended well after 10pm featuring excellent music, dancing, great food, cool drinks, art exhibits and the best cultural entertainment of the year.
Everyone enjoyed some of the best Latin Jazz and Salsa in the RGV, including: the brand spanking new UTRGV JAZZ BAND, the JOE CHAPA GROUP ft. Clay Moore, Iram Reyes and his big jazz band JUICE and Brownsville's #1 Salsa band... SON MONTUNO, who brought the Festival to a close.
As expected, our SALSA SHOWCASES produced by our very talented Salsa Director, Omar Oropeza, were spectacular and featured young dance students, amateurs and professional dancers who earlier in the day were given free dance classes by national and international dance professionals from as far away as Oaxaca, Mexico.
A gifted percussionist, originally from Venezuela, now residing in Houston, CroCro has toured with the top acts in the industry for more than twenty years. Tumbaká’s members included bongo player Orlando Andrade (Colombia), Rhumer Mora on timbales (Venezuela), keyboard player Rafael Miliano (Dominican Republic), pianist Luigi Lazareno (Mexico ), bass player Anthony McKenny (USA), trombone players Yankar González (Cuba), Bryan Logan (USA), and Juan Carlos Delgado (Puerto Rico), vocalists Kevin Castillo (Puerto Rico), Julio Rodriguez (Cuba) and Valeria Denis (Uruguay).
Earlier this year, CroCro was selected as Musical Director of Salsa y Salud, the first event of its kind in the country and currently the largest show of Salsa and Health in Texas. He was recently honored by the City of Houston with a Proclamation recognizing his use of an interactive performance to positively impact the community. Words alone cannot describe them, they were great, just check out their music in the video below:
Thanks again for supporting the Brownsville Latin Jazz