This Saturday (1/28), the annual event starts in the Shaftman Performance Hall, with an 8 pm concert of conguero Poncho Sanchez and trumpeter Terence Blanchard. Long-time collaborators, the two recently teamed up to make Chano y Dizzy, an homage to Latin jazz' ancestors Chano Pozo and Dizzy Gillespie, released on the Concord label last fall.
According to my email exchange with Poncho's manager, the tour personnel will be as follows:
Poncho Sanchez Congas/Band LeaderAs an after party, some of our friends from Winston-Salem, Greensboro, and the Triangle will perform, as West End Mambo lights up Fitzpatrick Hall. There's a cash bar and gorgeous parquet wood floor for dancers to enjoy in this ballroom, which is right next door to Shaftman in the Jefferson Center.
Francisco Torres Trombone/Musical Director
Ron Blake Trumpet
Joseph De Leon Jr Timbales
Robert Hardt Sax
Andy Langham Piano
Rene Camacho Bass
Angel Rodriguez Bongos
Special Guest: Terence Blanchard Trumpet
Larry Sanchez Production/Sound Engineer
Same party last year: Dancers dig Fitzpatrick Hall, 2011
Salsa dancers from 'Noke and the surrounding college towns usually turn out for this Latin Dance Party, now in its 9th year; past afterparty bands have included Richmond's Bio Ritmo and D.C.'s Sin Miedo. Poncho Sanchez/Terence Blanchard concert ticket holders get discounted admission to the Latin Dance Party, but they are separate admissions so folks can attend either or both.
West End Mambo is led by husband-and-wife team Cesar Oviedo (pianist) and vocalist Maria Vasquez. She has the range to cover some Celia Cruz tunes, among the band's strong Fania and Latin American fare. I got up with Cesar a few days ago for an updated band lineup, and it is heavy with local Triangle favorites:
Alberto Carrasquillo (trumpet)
Ricardo James (trumpet)
Steve Blake (sax)
Andres Leon (bass)
Atiba Rorie (congas/vocals)
Billy Marrero (timbales)
Maria Vasquez (lead vocals)
Cesar Oviedo (piano/vocals)
Kudos to the Jefferson Center's programmers for pairing these two signature events, honoring both the concert experience and the dance imperative of "our Latin thing." It's going to get heated.
Jefferson Center website