June 2005

La Salsa de Hoy
june 4, 2005Lula LoungeToronto
Report by Joyce Corbett with photos by Roger Humbert
Lula Lounge is celebrating its Third anniversary with a ten-day party. Saturday was the fourth night. Weekend Salsa nights at Lula always feel like a party, so how do you turn it up a notch? To make this week’s Saturday special, Daniel Stone and Lula Lounge put together a super spectacular Salsa Band with musicians from various groups who have played regularly at Lula over the years. Named La Salsa de Hoy (Today’s Salsa) this band included some of the best salsa musicians in the city. With no fewer than 14 musicians on stage at any one time, it was an exciting night.

Evaristo Machado

In its three short years, Lula Lounge has become the premier venue for live Salsa in Toronto and has helped put Toronto salseros on the map. The range of styles and influences from rap to flamenco-tinged soul and from Puerto Rico, New York, Columbia and Cuba made an interesting show. The musicians thanked Lula and José Ortega (co-proprietor) several times throughout the evening for the opportunities to play that the club has provided and for their support. Amanda Martinez, host of Jazz FM’s Saturday afternoon Latin jazz program Café Con Leche and leader of her own Latin jazz band was the MC for the evening.

From the tenor voice and interesting arrangements of Evaristo Machado to the jazz stylings of Nick Ali, the entire evening was a highlight. So much talent on one stage.

Listening to Juan Carlos Cardenas singing with four back up vocalists, someone said "you know, it’s really the singing that makes salsa" — but then there’s the complexity and intensity of the ever solid rhythm at the core of it all. I thought about the writings of jazz critic Ralph Ellison on the jazz dances of the past and how the audience was not just listening, but was an integral part of the music. “The musicians moved the dancers… the dancers inspired the musicians, the singers evoked, with their songs and passions, a common culture and a common attitude towards life” . No description of Lula’s Anniversary Salsa blast could be more apt. Not only was the band always 'in the pocket' but the audience was 'in the music'.

Nick 'Brownman' Ali

Main band , instrumentalists:
Luis Guerra (piano), Ruddy Bolaños (bass), Daniel Stone (timbal), Alberto Suarez (congas), Alex Godinez (bongo), Daniel Leon (1st trumpet), Kerbin Barreto (2nd trumpet), Yannick Malboeuf (1st trombone), Jamie Stager (2nd trombone)

Featured singers and back up vocals:
Juan Carlos Cardenas (Cache, Proyecto Charanguero), Evaristo Machado (Evaristo) Ricky Franco (Ricky Franco and Marron Matizado), Luis Mario Ochoa (Cimarron) Wilson Acevedo (Cache)

Special guests:
Nick Ali (trumpet player and leader of Salsa band Marron Matizado also leader of Latin jazz group Cruzao and several other bands), Bill McBirnie (flute player with Caché and Proyecto Charanguero), Benny Esguerra (Proyecto Charanguero) Mireya Escalante (Latin Street), Mayito del Monte (Latin Street), Glenda del Monte (singer and pianist, Latin Street and New Cuban Generation, winner of the 2005 Emerging Artist Award at the Distillery Jazz Festival).

We welcome your comments and feedback
Joyce Corbett
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Roger Humbert
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