Monday, October 29, 2012

Poncho Sanchez and his Latin Band

For more than three decades, conguero Poncho Sanchez has stirred up a fiery stew of jazz, gritty soul music, and infectious melodies and rhythms from a variety of Latin American and South American sources. His influences include two of the primary architects of Latin jazz – conga drummer and composer Chano Pozo and trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie. (Ordway website. picture from Poncho Sanchez website)


Poncho Sanchez: Click to Listen

Over the summer, I started an opportunity with the Ordway Theater in St. Paul, MN. This wonderful opportunity is called Blogger Night at the Ordway. Like reviewing books, I now get to see shows and review them. I've had the opportunity to see Fela! and Chicago. I was unfortunately away on vacation when Billy Elliot was in town.

I'm a huge fan of all things theater so when this continued I became even more excited with it all. Thinking it would be mostly for theatrical shows, Broadway, etc. , I was incredibly excited when I was offered a different chance to pick from three acts, all part of the Mascaras y Milagros: Mexican Arts in Minnesota program.

World music is one of my family's largest collections, next to Jazz and Pop/Rock. I owe this to my husband who has been a fan of this music since he was a teenager. He has opened my eyes to Cuban, African, and Latin music. I now consider it a favorite genre of mine. We have many favorite artists, some known, others not. Poncho Sanchez and his Latin Band were not on our list of musicians we were familiar with. We were shocked considering his success in the music business over the past few decades.

We jumped at this opportunity and had a wonderful date night.

The music was vibrant and passionate. My husband, being a drummer as well, critiqued and analyzed every beat, every style of which Poncho played his congas. The band had a camaraderie and sync that you could tell not only was the professionalism there but the also the immense talent. 

The songs were lengthy but weren't repetitive. I watched each member carefully and was so intrigued. Unfortunately, my husband is not a dancer so the wide open space of dance floor in front of the stage was filled with everyone else. Dancers, old and young, professional and amateur, confidently strutted their stuff. This intrigued me even more; the moves, the passion. Oh , the salsa!  Let's just say I danced in my seat.

What a different experience this was to try to review. I found myself paying attention to so many different aspects of the show; the musicianship, the banter, the lighting, the dancing. It was a perfect night to spend with the one you love.

My only issue would be the amount of people playing with their phones during the beautiful performances. Luckily the staff at the Ordway was all over that.


Happy listening and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child