The 17th Annual Brownsville Latin Jazz Festival is scheduled for the SECOND COMPLETE WEEK OF OCTOBER 2013. In the meantime check out our excellent videos of past festivals here!
The Brownsville Society for the Performing Arts (BSPA) and the City of Brownsville were proud to present our 16th Annual Brownsville Latin Jazz Festival which took place last October 11 to 14, 2012 throughout Historic Brownsville, Texas.
This year, the Festival was honored to headline EDDIE PALMIERI, the legendary pianist, composer, band leader, winner of no less that NINE Grammy Awards and recently named 2013 NEA JAZZ MASTER by the National Endowment for the Arts, our nation’s highest honor in jazz!
Inaugurated in 1997 by the late great "King of Latin Music" Tito Puente, a close friend and colleague of Eddie Palmieri, the Brownsville Latin Jazz Festival has become one of the most anticipated events in our cultural calendar. It has hosted countless Latin Jazz artists of the highest caliber, advanced our multi-cultural diversity, generated tourism, improved the quality of life in Brownsville and the Rio Grande Valley plus entertained thousands for sixteen years!
The Festival is considered by many as THE Latin Jazz Festival of Texas and one of the best in the entire USA! Recognizing this achievement, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has once again awarded the BSPA and the Festival a prestigious and very generous grant for the fifth year in a row!
Despite uncertain times for cultural organizations throughout the nation, the Brownsville Latin Jazz Festival has endured and prospered with greater than ever support from the top down: the U.S. Federal Government, the State of Texas, the City of Brownsville and, most importantly, our many thousands of fans throughout the Rio Grande Valley and beyond.
The 2012 Festival program was as follows:
Later that evening, in Brownsville's Historic Downtown Entertainment District, the Foncerrada family's brand new cafe, hangout and cultural music generator, El Hueso de Fraile on Elizabeth Street between 8th and 9th Streets, offered their genuine eclectic sounds until closing time. Thanks to the Foncerradas and to everyone there for supporting Downtown Revitalization and our newest entertainment businesses! Click here for a map of the Market Square area.
This year's JAZZ JAM at Shenanigans Irish Pub, located at 2451 Pablo Kisel, right across from Best Buy in north Brownsville, featured the VERY cool Brazilian jazz sounds of percussionist Tom Raines his band, The New Groove, back by popular demand after their successful debut last year on this very same stage!
Our very own Brownsville Samba School, directed by UTB’s mastermind of percussion, Dr. Tom Nevill, also performed with more than a score of drummers, whistlers, pandereiros and general rhythm makers that livened up the place.Following was television idol, entertainer, music educator and our most beautiful and talented Jazz vocalist ANI, backed by an excellent musical contingent from the Upper Valley, Del Viento. An untimely rain forced us to move her show indoors, where Ani reminded everyone that her profesional, super cool voice had been missed for way too long. We're very happy to know that she is planning on remaining active and performing regularly at the very top tier of Brownsville's music scene!
The shower caused the rescheduling until Sunday at the Capitol Theatre Street Party the impeccable TRIBUTE TO WES MONTGOMERY put on by Clay Moore’s Frontera Jazz Quartet. South Texas' premier Jazz guitarist Clay Moore and his band did justice to the legendary Wes Montgomery, considered the best Jazz guitarist EVER!
We want to thank our host and Festival partner, Shenanigans Irish Pub for a beautiful job in setting up the outdoor venue and then for coming through like champs by helping us move the entire show indoors after the rain-out!
The crowd found out why the National Endowment for the Arts recently named Eddie the 2013 NEA JAZZ MASTER, awarding him our nation’s highest honor in jazz. Wow! As expected, Eddie and his band which included, among others, the great Latin jazz trumpet player, Brian Lynch, put on a wonderful show. Click here to go to Eddie's website... definitely worth a visit!
Opening for Eddie was San Antonio's Rafi Marrero y Orquesta with just a taste of the delicious Salsa Boricua that they served up for Sunday's crowd at the Capitol Theatre.
Months of free salsa lessons lead up to what is now regarded as the RGV's Premier Salsa Dance Event of the Year. Our resident dance expert and partner, Omar Oropeza, did a great job building energy for the show offering the free lessons, clinics, master classes and finally producing a showcase that was headlined by none other than the World Salsa Team Champs, Ritmo y Sabor from Oaxaca, Mexico! Thanks dancers... you were ALL incredible!
As expected, The Art Factory of Toni Hudson and her talented friends displayed their colorful tropical arts and crafts throughout the venue and, of course, delicious food and drinks were served by Joe Kenney's Cobbleheads Bar & Grill. The event took place at the Jacob Brown Auditorium of the UTB/TSC Fort Brown Memorial Complex, located at 600 International Blvd. Students got a 50% discount and active military service personnel and seniors over 75 got in FREE!
Starting up 2:00 PM, we featured the 16-year Latin Jazz Festival veteran UTB Jazz Band, still under the direction and fearless leadership of Prof. Terry Tomlin! Literally hundreds of our community's music educators and performing artists have been part of the UTB Jazz Band, and ALL have played at the Festival at one time or another! They include such luminaries as Charles Hearn, Jimmy Cantú, Ani Tharpe, Cindy Vela, Jay Peña, Noe Sanchez, Clay Moore, Joe Chapa, Tom Raines and many others. The UTB Jazz Band, more than any other program in our community, including this Festival, epitomizes Brownsville's achievements and dedication to the field of Jazz.
The Caribbean sounds of the Steel Pan Band, were followed by the Brazilian energy of the Brownsville Samba School, then Prof. David Lopez and the Marimba Reyna del Valle provided it's tropical air to the musical ambience of a great afternoon.
Next up was our spectacular home-town band Adrian & the Dabs with the their unique fusion of Caribbean and... was that Bluegrass music? Yes... it was Adrian Jr., brother Luis, new cuñada Ashley and surprise guests from the Hueso de Fraile Center for the Preservation of Latin Music and Culture, who sounded incredible on our BIG stage!
Closing the four day music fest was San Antonio’s #1 Salsa band, the outragous Rafi Marrero y Su Orquesta Salsera.
Rafi invited his buddy, fabulous vocalist Omar "El Chino" Negrón, a long time sonero with Willie Rosario, as his Special Guest Artist and flew him in to perform for us all the way from San Juan, Puerto Rico!
Rafi and his HUGE band were truly fantastic and had the crowd dancing for almost two hours to their musical tribute to the legendary Puerto Rican singers Frankie Ruiz and Tommy Olivencia. We look forward to bringing Rafi and his friends back for more Salsa... LOTS MORE!
Toni Hudson's The Art Factory creations plus a wide array of arts and crafts by local and visiting artists were displayed again at the empty shell of the old Capitol Theatre which, by the way, is about to begin it's long awaited restoration. Good news for future festivals and concerts in beautiful Historic Downtown Brownsville
An estimated 2,000 persons of all ages and backgrounds enjoyed high-quality cultural entertainment they won’t soon forget…thank you everyone for coming!
SEE YOU NEXT YEAR!