CongaDr+ Tony's Conga Adventures: 2009

Saturday, October 31, 2009

"the only original Valje drums that were painted"

Hey Tony,
I saw your web sightand must say you did a good job with the pics and especially the history. I have a little story for you.
I was living on the west coast for some time during the 70' and early 80's. I have been to Tom's shop a number of times and have had a number of his drums. Loved them all. However, I once was in the area and went to see Tom and if he had anything new and exciting. There was a set of three Quinto, Conga, and Tumba that caught my eye. Thery were a sort of cranberry red. Beautiful drums. Tom asked me to please get them the hell out of here because they drove him nuts. He went on to tell me that he never painted drums before and wanted to try it. He added that he would never do it again because he got paint all over his shop walls, floor and himself. I was trying hard not to laugh because I could see he didn't think it was funny. I bought the drums and still have them. As far as I know they are the only original Valje drums that were painted. I haven't played for a long time but just recently got them out to see if I still have "it". Well one thing for sure, the drums still have "it". They sound as good as when I first saw them. Valje drums always had a different sound. Full voices and rich clear tones. They made me a better player. Take care Thanks. .

Monday, May 4, 2009

La Pena Rumba 5/09

What a great time we had yesterday, playing and singing at the best open Rumba in the country.

The singing was off the hook, and the whole rumba ripped in response.

Leading fat Coro, Carlos Aldama, Yaya Maldonado, Mejail La Brada, Hector Lugo, Orlando Diaz and a serious heavy from Caracas Venezuela (to be named later) sang beautifully. This Venezuelan has obviously been hanging with heavy Afro-Cubanos.. he sounded just like Puntilla's son. A nasally, out of the side of your mouth, heavy on the open vowels, more African sounding, choppy and percussive.. sounded more like the Yoruban spoken by the African decedents of relatively recent immigrants, as opposed to the sometimes slurred spanish sounding pronunciations from some. It has heavy G's, B's, open O's.. somewhat sounds like the Phillipean language Tagalog to me.... anyway...

I was having too much fun singing coro with Maria de Columbia, backing Yaya and Hector.

Chris Flaco Walker, Javier Navarette, Trevino Leon, Carlito from Havana, Buddha, Cecil, Christina... and we were blessed to have Damian 'the chosen one' De Jesus there as well, looking hep and hitting hard.

Chris's good friend (Arturo?) from Seattle came to hang and play. He had the coolest studio 54 hat.. diggin it! He played a mean Chekere and sang coro like he knows whats up. It was cool to see Chris with an old friend.. hamming it up.

Ive been a bad blogger, and didnt get these cats names dialed, but I will try to update. I have to bring a note book, or something.. like a reporter!

We are so dang lucky to have so many talented singers, dancers and players in the area. What an amazing place the bay area is. For me, after seeing 38 other countries, I still love the US of A, and the best place to be - the SF bay area.

Irish Rick brought his Cedar Bauers (lucky dog, they used to be mine!) and they sounded so very nice. One great set for rumba, no doubt.

This group of people enjoy each others company more than any I know. It's a serious brotherhood, and the love is palpable.

After the rumba, we all were hanging outside, and the most amazing session came ringing out of the crowd.

Carlos Aldama, Mejail La Brada and this serious heavy from Caracas were singing one rumba after another, a cappella with clave and a clap on the pulse... for a nice long time..

I do believe that was the coolest thing i have ever seen at La Pena.. or way up there, anyway.

Carlos jumping in with old and familiar tunes received with boisterous cheers of recognition.... like, I havent heard that song in ages... and I'm lovin it!

Carlos was on fire, looking and sounding healthy and strong.... we are so blessed to have him here.

Earlier, we were talking about life... I told him that on my last day on earth, I will hear his voice singing me to sleep. He thought that was very flattering.. he is such a humble Master.

He said, on his last day, he would dream or his life in Cuba and California, which he said he loves equally... he started to reminisce... and it dawned on me... This incredible human has had, and continues to have the most incredible life, we can only begin to imagine what his mind holds... ... Abakua ceremonies, trotting the world performing huge gigs, all the historical figures as brothers, friends, and family, the sights and sounds of his homeland. I got a glimpse of a humid and earthy little thatched outbuilding, the salty air and the smell or the sea, mixed with frying fish.... as he spoke.. odd...

I believe Carlos may be the most interesting person I have ever met. Such and incredible story to hear... unfathomable for us, what it must be like to live. His story is seemingly endlessly fascinating and so packed with experiences, its overwhelming to comprehend.

It must be very hard not to live in the past, with such incredible experiences. It seems to me, he is clearly living in the present. The Orishas have provided a strong mind, and he honors them with his strength.

He then took out his phone to dial up photos of his kids to show me. I snapped a picture of him with the technology... evidence of his modernism.

I need to spend more time with the Maestro. I need to make it a priority in my life.

Afterward, Yaya and I went to his place for tea, played some of his newest Chekeres. He has some really nice gourds he is stringing up.. one cachimbo i have my eye on...

He said one of the players at the gig we did together last week, broke beads of of his chekere by using it like one of those small beaded African instruments held by the neck and hit on the leg. Yaya repaired it by taking the same wooded beads, splitting them in half and gluing them around the strings.. cool fix... for some reason, i didnt think of replacing the beads.. I have a few i need to replace on my set.

He is a good friend, and we enjoy talking about life... music, the tradition, girls, fishing, cats (as in the furry purring kind)... we can talk for hours. He has the best stories about the music scene here and back east, before I hit the scene.

He played me some really fat sessions he did in early 2002 with a serious collection of talent: a heavy pianist and vibe player, heavy hitters lead and rhythm. The project had Yaya's nephew David Florez on traps and a ripping saxophonist. Yaya was crooning like a mix of Tony Bennet and Mel Torme... too fun.

I was like, Yaya, this @#$t rocks, man... you have to do more of this, and gig with these cats. He said they would be happy to perform, but Jazz gigs are hard to get. me: I'd be happy to book gigs for him, should he reconvene the group. The live recordings were so smooth, with completely ripping solos. A studio recording would be all that, for sure.

I was impressed with Yaya's prowess, as a jazz singer, hitting all the changes on some really challenging tunes. Coming from a Jazz family, I was surprised to hear that Yaya has such fat Jazz chops.

Speaking of studio recordings... Yaya is planning a studio recording of Rumba from the cats of La Pena to commemorate the 10th year anniversary of this legendary open public rumba, the absolute best in the states. I sure hope I make the cut.. id absolutely love to cut tracks with these cats, for posterity. We'll see.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Master Cuban Dancer Temistocles Fuentes Betancourt workshops 5/3-4

Special workshop focusing on Afro-Cuban folkloric dance from the Oriente provinces of Cuba-Gagá & Vodú-taught by master Temistocles Fuentes Betancourt. A native of Santiago de Cuba, Temi became a member of the renowned Ballet Folklorico de Oriente in 1978. For thirty years he danced professionally with the company, performing throughout Cuba, the Caribbean, Mexico, Spain, Italy, Russia, and Africa. Temi danced as primer bailarin from 1979 to 2000 and worked as choreographer and professor with the company until 2000, when he became assistant director. Other professional distinctions include director of the performance group Conjunto Folklorico Kazumbi; professor of Salsa in the Ateneo Cultural Antonio Bravo Correoso; choreographer of the youth group Los Chicos Alegres de Veguita de Galo for Carnival; and director of the Ballet Folklorico Cutumba.

CubaCaribe Festival of Music & Dance
Start Time:
Sunday, May 3, 2009 at 10:00am
End Time:
Monday, May 4, 2009 at 11:30am
Dance Mission-$15-All levels welcome!
3316 24th Street @ Mission Street
San Francisco, CA

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Peoples park 40th bday benefit - Way out, with Wavy Gravy!

We had a great time the other night at Ashkenaz, one of the best local venues for world music, just north of Berkeley. It has a long history as a club and was an important venue in the 60's.

The show was a benefit to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the founding of Peoples Park, the famous place of 60's protest near the Berkeley campus.

At one point, the entire country was fixed on this little park, the protests that defined a generation, and the clash of differing American cultures. This was about Vietnam, social welfare, community self determination, the separation of rich and poor, and police brutality among other concerns. The debate continues, and its not difficult to see the same theme in the world bank/imf protests of today.

The bill: Funky Nixons, Wire Graffiti, Marimba Pacifica, with Wavy Gravy mcing and doing some spoken word/story telling.

It was so fun to be a part of this fund raiser, as I was a one year old kid when the park was founded. But have always had a connection to the event, somehow.

Hadley Louden's band, Marimba Pacifica, had a few of the lead players drop out at the last minute. So he threw in a Rumba tune to mix things up, called Rick and I up to play.

We did a slow guaguanco. I was on Tumba, Ruskin Vaughn on Segunda, Hadley on Piano, Yaya on Quinto... Hadley wanted to play a smooth kicked back Californian groove, like a Yambu without a care in the world... yea, its somewhat of an oxymoron, but the sound he was after worked beter with the band.. Ruskin wanted to play up on it like a Cuban, Yaya was also trying to speed things up... and i was in the middle trying to make peace by playing just up enough while trying to groove. At one point, Ruskin is looking at me like, push it man! and behind him Hadley on Piano saying slow it down, behind me Yaya trying to get clave up tempo.. funny.

After, we were in the green room with the cats from Funky Nixons and had the most hilarious time.. these guys were cracking me up. These cats were sharp. .. quality comedy.. that was too fun.

One of the cats in the band, pictured in back to the right of this pic, is actually the mayor of Albany! He was a crack-up and we couldnt tear ourselves from the entertaining conversation, till they had to go on.

I didnt know his ax, but I expected him to rip on guitar or something... but he was rocking the cow bell! yea man! I can just see this band performing as teens in the thick of it.. back in the day.

Fun to be a part of it, as I was born late in '67. For some reason, I feel like an honerary hippy!


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Conga drums - still in love with the variety

Its been a while since I posted random ideas about the tumbadoras..

I am, and will always be in love with the very sight of the instrument. It seems I never tire of the search for information on these, and many other rare and forgotten instruments and makers.

The recent history of these instruments is really unwritten. Id love to see a book that discusses the development of the conga, from tack head to modern Matt Smiths.

One day, I will go on a journey to Mexico and South America, in search of the best makers of these drums.. I think it would make a great documentary.

I love quests that take you across the globe. It feels like you're Indiana Jones himself.

I will try to post more info about congas in general.


Monday, April 20, 2009

La Pena Rumba 4/09 LA in the house!

It was a fun time at the rumba this weekend.

Irish Rick brought his set of Cedar Bauers i helped him piece together. The set completely rocks.. so fun to play.

As far as the players of said instruments... we are sorting out a few things, as far as how we can make a more solid thing out of the new group of cats. Most of the additions, like myself, are not always the best players in the house, so it makes for a few awkward situations from time to time.

But somehow, and with the experience of a few heavies playing with straight, grooving parts.. we were all able to get the best sound with the players at hand. Its always amazing how well it all works out. I guess that's why the 9th anniversary is coming up soon. (BBQ, PARTY to be announced!)

Later in the day, the heavies came out, as usual, and really played well. Javier Navarrette, Trevino Leon, Pili Martinez, John Santos, Yaya Maldonado, Hector Lugo and the rest of the gang.

Yaya, Hector, Santos, Orlando singing some really fun tunes... mixing it up.

Hector has some great material, and he's really going for it, as far as learning the songs, etc.

I really appreciate his quinto playing. He has a really clean style.. very well thought out. He has a new project, i hear the heavies are laying tracks for.. not sure when its being released, but I will post it here when it does. It should be fat, with many of the biggest names of the bay on the recording.

Anyway, at the rumba, these cats from LA came to check out the scene and play for us.

I was giving him a hard time for asking me for the quinto, just as i sat down to play. I just wish they would give it a listen, then take the drum... That being said, if I knew who the cat was, and knew he wanted to play, I wouldnt have been sitting at the quinto.

I didnt catch their names, but word is, the cat ripping on quinto was Francisco Aguabella's cousin. He played some sweet licks, ripping it up. He had an unusual, but tasty style.

so.. I waited, and caught a super sweet wave...

I sat down on quinto with John and Javier, Yaya singing a Yambu that I will always remember. John and Javier are the most solid two players one can ask for... anywhere in the entire country... the two best cats to lay down a super solid, and gracefully tasty Yambu.

I can tell you, it was like the bombing the fresh powder shoots of Utah.. carving up the cleanest set at mavericks.. way more fun than nailing a 3pointer at the buzzer.. these moments, I adore.

Anyway, the session was packed and successful, the 9th year running.

Yaya has really to be commended. In fact, he should be eligible for some community arts award or something. The cat really has made a huge contribution to the art form and culture of Rumba in the Bay. Im going to look into it.. perhaps there is a way to nominate him for something.... he needs to be recognized for this incredible long run of La Pena Rumbas.

It really has been a fine work of management, on Yaya's behalf. Trying to keep the heavies happy with quality rumba, keep the new blood flowing in, while keeping those who cant play from messing things up.... all that while playing clave and singing... ;)

At times, Yaya will stop everything and say.. I dont know what to say man... someone gives a wink to someone.. players shuffle in and out.. it starts again and works fine, usually. Not a big confrontation or 'call out' on the offending 'rumbero'. Its masterful, actually.

He quells the overexcited and under experienced with well timed mini-speeches about 'this is not a practise session, if you cant play rumba, listen and sing coro'... the usual montra. I bet he has given that speech around 100 times in the nine years. Thanks from all of us, Yaya, we know its a pain in the ass.

All in all, that session was sweet, here is the master quintero Pili Martinez on his favorite ax, the quinto cajon.... Pili has the fattest technique, with crisp, biting slaps on this wooden box of a beautiful instrument. so fun to watch, as it would tear my chops up if i played like that... yea... as if.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The "tree of traditions" project

So, Ive been thinking of a project.

I developed the initial stages in rough draft, naivete included.

Its like a family tree, only the family is the entire Afro-Cuban musical tradition.

Yes, we all know we wont be including everything, as much is not available to the uninitiated. But this project will be created to be edited. The hope is that the project will be a good start to a graphic understanding of the peoples and thier specific musical traditions, in Cuba from 1970 to today, religious or recreational.

It's easier to illustrate graphically... some day soon, I'll post a picture of the tree in its raw form.

I know this is going to stir up some people who think no-one but Cubans should be doing work like this, or there is something clearly wrong with someone of European decent doing a project like this..

Remember people, this project will be yours. The intention is to attract many people with varied knowledge and expertise to further develop this into something useful to future generations.

so, what is this thing... this tree....


Starts with mother Africa... then to the geographic regions (ie Congo, Yorubaland, etc.), then peoples in general(Yoruban, Efik, for example), then traditions (Abakua, Arara, etc.), then specific rhythms, dances and songs.

Imagine a tree, with Africa at the top, and various rhythms at the bottom (Yambu, Arara Mase etc.)

Then, imagine a page on your computer, with the entire tree on one screen.

So, you can zoom into any section of the tree... say Comparsas from Santiago de Cuba, for example, and you see a page with links to video, maps, historical information, pictures, audio, references, etc.

Or, say you zoom into just the Dehome section.. you will see information about the people, their traditions in general (Arara, for example) Pics, video, etc.

It would have to be in Flash, or something... Im going to have to find a developer who needs conga lessons!

I do think this would be a great thing to leave our future generations. I know I'd be stoked to use it, as a student of this musical tradition.


Thursday, April 9, 2009

DJ juanka - spins Timba, Reggeaton Cubano, Rumba in the bay area

Juancarlos, or DJ Juanka, is a very cool cat, and spins some of the fattest Cuban music around.

He works out of SF, and does gigs all around the bay area.

He often works with cats like Sandy Perez and Fito Reinoso, among others.

If you are looking for a kick'n party, or a wedding your guests wont forget.. he's the man!

He can be reached at:

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Old tack head for sale - 60 years old or so

This is one very rare and very cool drum.

Its a tack head from the 40's, all mahogany, light and dark.

Most of these drums are mahogany and fir, so its rare and very nice to see that this one is all mahogany.

It has a relatively new skin on it and sounds great. It is round, as you can see from the pics.

It is a full 35.5" tall! Its a tumba and very very rare.

In the old days, they played them with a strap over the shoulder.

In over 10 years of collecting, repairing, buying and selling congas across the country.. Ive never even seen another like it, let alone one that is fully functional and looks so good. The conga is almost 70 years old! very cool. $150

Monday, April 6, 2009

Roberto Borrell Timba workshop 4/10 in SF

Bauer Congas for sale - one Sweet set of Cedar! SOLD

Here is a fat set of three Bauer congas that used to be for sale. (Sold from this blog)

These drums are some of the best production congas ever made, with incredible dry crisp slaps, and fat tones full of bass and no ring. They almost always came with very nice skins, that complement the material and shape of the drum.

You cant find a nicer set of congas, and these days, it would be very hard to find a set for sale, used or new.

The Brazilian Cedar is just about the nicest sounding material i have ever played. And due to the exchange rate these days, they are not available in the US, short of the remaining stock at (tell Ken i said hello!)

They are 10.5, 11.5, 12.5" respectively with the traditional hardware (very cool). All three drum are said to be in near mint condition.


La Pena Rumba 4/09 - Violin with Mejail La Brada

The sessions roll on, and the rumba was in full swing this sunny spring Sunday.

After some lazy Californian Rumba, of the non-cuban variety, the heavies came out to play.

After some time in hiding, Yagbe Oline came out to sing and play.. nice to see the Maestro out on the town, and back in the loop.

Pili Martinez, Chris Flaco Walker, Yaya Maldonado, and a few others laid down some fat rumba - smiles on their faces, ripping it up for us all.

Carlos Aldama and his wife came by to join in the fun. It was so nice to see the two of them.. they look great together, with bright smiles, confident and kind.. such great people.

Carlos sat down and played quinto for us.. so blessed to see him play, once again. Thanks, Chango l'ade for the picture!!

(yes the camera on my phone sucks.. i have yet to pick up a new camera..)

At one point, I was playing tumba, with Pili playing second and Yagbe singing.

Somehow the groove wasnt developing and Pili looks to me and says.. 'push it!' Yea, i wasnt having a very good day, and it was probably me.. but the europeans are the first ones to get called out, even though it is often other players who are not holding their parts.

I kick it into high gear, pushing the feel... the cata was lagging, and its just wasn't working.. so, this cat from Cuba, a dancer, asks to play the drum, so i stand up and let him play, like.. go for it man, good luck with it...

What's the deal with Cuban dancers thinking they can play.. just dance man, let the players play. He is such a great dancer. Next time, i wont be so quick to give up the drum.

Yaya gave me a 'talking to' last week regarding me giving up the drum to singers and dancers... 'just play man, you play beter than most of them, dont let them bump you off'

Im fine with being replaced if Im not making it happen.. take the drum, cool with me.. ...take it if you can play it..

After the session at La Pena, Mejail La Brada, the heavy singer and rumbero from Havana, asked Irish Rick and myself to join him at a ceremony in Richmond.

It was a Violin for Oshun, a ceremony where violin is played to the orishas... a very cool experience to witness.

We played after the violin, and pumped out some Rumba at break neck speed, while the house rocked in celebration.

Sr. La Brada, or Miggy, as i call him, has such nice people in his family. We are so lucky to have him as a dear friend. We were welcomed as brothers, and fed like kings!

The menu was half Cuban, half Mexican - screaming Carnitas and hand made tortillas!! Thanks for the wonderful grub and the loving hospitality!

Anyway, its always fun to work these gigs, as i feel like we are directly contributing to the tradition.. Its so cool to be a player in this setting.. it feels like the Orishas are backing you up with fat Coro!

So, somehow, the rumbas at La Pena are not as powerful, as far as learning.. i just need to enjoy the time, and look at it like the fun time it is.

Ive been in such a 'work' mode there, working hard to understand and perform this incredible music. As for now, i simply need to woodshed, and continue to work on the songs.. playing clave/cata and singing.. I have a feeling this next year may bring some fat new chops.

Sometimes it seems as though we are wondering aimlessly through the expanse of this tradition, learning bits and pieces that seem random... then something happens to remind you... its all seeping in and all the work will pay off, in some fat realization to come.


Monday, March 30, 2009

Conjunto Karabali at Cafe Cocomo 4/2, 4/3

Start Time:
Thursday, April 2, 2009 at 10:00pm
End Time:
Friday, April 3, 2009 at 1:00am
Cafe Cocomo
San Francisco, CA


Conjunto Karabali is San Francisco’s newest and hottest Latin dance band, featuring some of the finest talent in the Bay Area. The band is co-led by two of the United States’ most renowned percussionists, Mike Spiro and Karl Perazzo, who have joined forces to create a group specifically for the dancer’s enjoyment.

They describe Karabali’s style as “old school” salsa, and they bring to the Bay Area for the first time the traditional NY conjunto sound, popularized by Johnny Pacheco, Conjunto Clasico and Conjunto Libre. This band is about swing and joyful energy, and the dancers can’t wait to hit the floor when Karabali kicks into high gear.

The band boasts a who’s-who of SF Latin music all-stars in its line-up, starting of course with its leaders, Mike and Karl. These two internationally recognized drummers have performed and recorded with almost every major Latin artist of the last 30 years, from Eddie Palmieri to Carlos Santana, from Tito Puente to Celia Cruz. This is to say nothing of their credits as producers, bandleaders, and clinicians. Their extensive recordings over the last 25 years include internationally recognized jazz, Latin-jazz and pop artists, for which they have each received multiple Grammies and Grammy nominations.

When organizing the band, Mike and Karl asked Edgardo Cambon, the multi-talented vocalist/percussionist to take on the lead vocal chores, and then added Bob Karty on piano, Steve Senft-Herrera on bass, and the latest addition to the Bay Area music scene Miguel Martinez on flute. They then asked two of the finest trombone players in the area, Jeff Cressman and Marty Wehner, to come on board, along with the great Bill Ortiz on trumpet.

There is no greater collection of musicians in any Latin band in the Bay Area, and with this caliber of musicianship and the hard driving swing the band brings to every performance, it is no wonder that club owners and concert promoters throughout California can’t wait to get Conjunto Karabali on stage. For more info on Mike and Karl: Contact information: Debi Perazzo/Band Representative P.O.Box 381 San Leandro, Ca. 94577 Office 510-633-1877 -

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Jesus Diaz y su QBA, 5/3 at Jelly's SF

Jesus Diaz y su QBA
Sunday May 3, 2009 at 5:00pm
295 Trry Francois Blvd, Pier 50
San Francisco, California 94107
Bring your dancing shoes and come get your groove on with JESUS DIAZ and his monster all-star band QBA!

Cuban born percussionist Jesús Diaz has quietly and assuredly taken the Bay Area music by storm, and established a place in the world of Latin and Cuban style dance music. The rich musical diversity of the Bay Area, combined with the roots of Afro-Cuban music, has provided the opportunity to learn, experiment and arrive at the evolution of what QBA is today.

Buy the CD

Jesús has assembled an incomparable orchestra of accomplished artists whose talents combine Funk, Jazz, Rumba, Son, and varied Afro-Cuban elements within the syncopation of modern expressions in Cuban dance music. This musical tradition is rooted in the firm belief in the importance of creating new and unique "signature" styles and sounds. The drive of the music is a direct function of remaining actively engaged with the dancers. Original "Timba" is indeed alive and well here in the United States. QBA fuses modern and traditional elements of Afro-Cuban influences within dance music to create their own unique sound.

This is a MurrayLowGig
Ticket Info: $10

Omar Sosa Afreecanos Quartet Today! 4:30 in half moon bay

Omar Sosa Afreecanos Quartet
Sunday March 29, 2009 at 4:30pm
Bach Dancing & Dynamite Society at the Douglas Beach House
311 Mirada Road
Half Moon Bay, California 94019
Three-time Grammy-nominated Cuban composer and pianist Omar Sosa brings Africa, Cuba, Brazil & France influences to celebrate African music in Jazz. This performance is in association with his new recording on Half Note: "Across The Divide: A Tale of Rhythm & Ancestry.”

This new Afreecanos ensemble features noted percussionist and educator, John Santos, Mozambican electric bassist and vocalist, Childo Tomas, and New York-based saxophonist and flute player, Peter Apfelbaum.

Click here to buy the cd Africanos in concert

Click here to buy the cd Live a FiP
Rooted in the Afro-Cuban tradition, three-time GRAMMY-nominated Cuban composer and pianist Omar Sosa continues to explore the African roots of folkloric music throughout the Diaspora, using modern jazz harmonies and the latest audio technology. Sosa’s new Afreecanos ensemble features noted percussionist and educator, John Santos, Mozambican electric bassist and vocalist, Childo Tomas, and New York-based saxophonist and flute player, Peter Apfelbaum. The ensemble fuses the folkloric with the contemporary, the ancestral with the urban - all with a Latin jazz heart.

The Douglas Beach House is a legendary oceanfront live music club in the San Francisco Bay Area. It is home to the Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society, a non profit organization that has been presenting Sunday afternoon headliner Jazz and Classical Music with an ocean view since 1964. Located directly on Miramar Beach in Half Moon Bay, 45 minutes from San Francisco and Silicon Valley, the Bach Society is a major contributor to the San Francisco live jazz scene by presenting national touring jazz concerts and classical performances in an intimate venue. According to the musicians, the Douglas Beach House is “the best small venue in the United States.” Founder, Pete Douglas, says, “We bring a chamber approach to music in a casual beachfront setting, respectful of both the artist and the audience.” All performances are open to the public and partially supported by members and contributors. Buffet and drinks available although you can bring your own wine!
Ticket Info: $35

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Jerry Gonzalez and the Fort Apache Yoshis sf 4/25,26

Jerry Gonzalez and his troupe will be hitting Yoshis in San Francisco April 25th to perform material from his new CD, Jerry Garcia y los Piratas del Flamenco - CLICK HERE TO BUY

(reposted, not sure of source) Jerry Gonzalez and the Fort Apache Band is dedicated to playing uncompromised Afro-Caribbean Jazz. The sophistication of the Fort Apache sound is highlighted by the group’s ability to bring a jazz flexibility to the Latin Rhythm section. As noted in the New York Times: "A Fort Apache tune may start out swinging with the feel of the drummer Art Blakey, then move into a Cuban guaganco, then take on a shuffle, then return to swing."

Jerry Gonzalez' first High profile professional engagement came at the age of 19, in 1971 with Dizzy Gillespie. Since then he has worked with masters from the jazz and Latin music fields such as: Kenny Dorham, Tony Williams, McCoy Tyner, Jaco Pastorius, Tito Puente, Eddie Palmieri, and Manny Oquendo Y Libre. Jerry Gonzalez' first session as a leader came in 1980 with the critically acclaimed recording of Ya Yo Me Cure on the American Clave' label. Following the success of Ya Yo Me Cure, The Fort Apache Band was formed, and included such members as Kenny Kirkland, Sonny Fortune, Nicky Marrero, Papo Vazquez, the late Jorge Dalto, and Milton Cardona. The ensembles first two albums were recorded live at European jazz festivals, The River is Deep, 1982 in Berlin: Obatala, 1988 in Zurich.

In 1989, Fort Apache recorded the groundbreaking Rumba Para Monk as a quintet featuring: Jerry Gonzalez (trumpet, flugelhorn, congas), Andy Gonzalez (bass), Steve Berrios (drums), Larry Willis (piano), and Carter Jefferson (tenor saxophone). Rumba Para Monk was named album of the year by the French Academe du Jazz, and resulted in the group being voted The Word Beat Group of the year in Downbeat's 55th annual Readers Poll. It is this recording that has been cited as leading the resurgence in Afro-Caribbean Jazz in the past decade.

The group became a sextet with the addition of Joe Ford (alto & soprano saxophone) for 1991's Earthdance (Sunnyside) and 1992's Moliendo Cafe (Sunnyside). Following the death of Carter Jefferson, former Fort Apache member John Stubblefield returned to the fold on tenor sax to record the Grammy nominated Crossroads (Milestone). The ensembles 1995 recording Pensativo (Milestone) also received a Grammy nomination. On the heals of the Grammy nominations for Crossroads, and Pensativo the ensemble was awarded The Beyond Group of the Year by both Downbeat Magazines reader's and critic's polls in 1995 and 1996.

Firedance (Milestone), Fort Apache's latest release was recorded in February 1996 at Blues Alley, in Washington DC and is the first live recording of the ensemble as a Sextet. Following this fiery recording, the ensemble won the award of Best Jazz Group in Playboy Magazines Readers Poll for 1997. In 1998 the ensemble swept the Latin Jazz category at the New York Jazz Awards winning both the Industry and Journalist Polls. In 1999 the group swept the critics and readers polls for Beyond Group of The Year in Downbeat Magazine.

In 2001 Jerry Gonzalez And The Fort Apache Band are prominently featured in Fernando Trueba’s film on Latin Jazz "Calle 54" (Miramax). CLICK HERE TO BUY

This film has received great critical acclaim throughout the world and is being followed up by a series of concerts promoting the film including an engagement at The Beacon Theatre in New York City. The Soundtrack "Calle 54 - Music From The Miramax Motion Picture" is available on Blue Note Records.

The collaboration with Fernando Trueba has also resulted in the production of a new CD Jerry Gonzalez Y Los Pyrates Del Flamenco featuring Jerry Gonzalez along with a Gypsy Flamenco group that includes the esteemed Flamenco singer "El Cigala." The recording is currently available on the Spanish label Lola Records.

In it's present form, Fort Apache realizes the vision of seamless Afro-Carribean Jazz, which the band members have pursued for most of their career - as Jerry Gonzalez himself describes it: "I don't want to compromise the rhythm, and I don't want to compromise the Jazz playing.

(Check out the fat Mat Smith congas Jerry plays)

The cats that play in my band have to understand how to play the blues and clave." With these ideals, the integration of world-class bebop and Afro-Carribean music, The Fort Apache Band has become one of the most respected and exciting ensembles in modern music. Indeed The San Francisco Examiner proclaims "Fort Apache's music is great listening, great jazz, and great fun. They don't hardly make 'em like this any more."

By the way, Jerry is playing Matt Smith congas in these pics... check out how high he have the crowns!

Saturday 8pm & 10pm shows $25
Sunday 2pm Matinee show:
Kids $5, Adult (with kid) $18, Adult General $25
Sunday 7pm show $25