Monday, August 10, 2009

Triangle Salsa All Stars

The Triangle Salsa All Stars, an impromptu collective put together by Ricardo Granillo for Diamante's Ritmo Latino Festival, debuted to positive reviews Sunday despite 99 degree heat. It was a sweatbath even in the shade, but dancers were unstoppable. The Sertoma bowl at Bond Park makes a cozy setting for this free festival which focusses on cultural diversity and fun.

It's about time someone pooled the experience and talent in our area into an all star Latin band; it's a lot of work to organize, but let's hope the concept will be taken further still.

Members of Sajaso, Gardel and Carnavalito took part, plus newcomer to the Triangle Guillo Carias, a Dominican Latin jazz trumpeter who recently moved to the area. Guillo's online biography lists stints with Tito Rodriguez, Pablo Casals (via the Conservatory of Puerto Rico), Sammy Davis Jr and even the Soul Train Dancers. Welcome, Guillo, we look forward to hearing a lot more of you.
Guillo Carias & Ricardo Granillo
Guillo Carias and Ricardo Granillo

Guillo just returned from playing a jazz festival in the Dominican Republic. Apparently he has already tooled up a Latin jazz group in NC and plays Wednesday nights at a local restaurant; more details to follow.

The repertoire was a mix of tunes from the different bands' existing book, among them "Autumn Leaves," "La Esencia del Guaguanco" and a Carnavalito original.

Here's a nice clip from "La Esencia," with Pako Santiago laying some serious fire to the timbales. Then Julio takes a bongo solo, and Ramon Ortiz, who frequently serves as a timbalero or bongocero in other bands, solos for a change on trapset drums. Having that critical mass of top quality percussionists in the area makes luxury accessories like this possible--congas, bongo & bell, claves, timbales AND trapset. Having 5 layers of percussion instead of four or three doesn't seem like a big deal but it is EVERYTHING.

The rest of the gang: Ricardo on bass, Atiba Rorie congas, Phil Merritt piano, Alberto Carrasquillo trumpet, Guillo Carias flugelhorn, Hugh Robertson sax, Andy Kleindienst trombone, and Chino Casiano sonero.

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