By Danny Vasquez
With Latin influences and an upbeat tempo, The David Torres Quintet kicked off the First Friday Jazz series of March with a rhythmic latin flare in the S2 Recital Hall last Friday night.
The quintet began the evening’s performance with an upbeat number called “Siempre(Forever),” which brought a dance quality of latin jazz to the quintet and an authentic upbeat vibe from the sounds of percussionist Alfred “El nino” Ortiz.
The song started the concert on an exciting note getting the audience dancing in their seats and established the mood for the majority of the rest of the concert.
Continuing on the same pace, “Hey Bud” was the second song that exploded with a funky and fast-paced beat. Saxophone player Ernie Salas brought the funky sound and took this song to new heights with a magnificent performance that added much of the funk to the song.
Meanwhile, Rick Reyes played the bass and held the foundation of the song with a steady beat which accompanied the sax well. The funky rhythmic sound of the song continued to make the audience crave more of the fast paced jazz beat.
Along with the fast paced latin jazz, David Torres dedicated a slow heartfelt piece titled “Linda’s Bolero” to his daughter Linda. He wrote the song for her when she was five years old.
The song was soft and somber resembling a lullaby. The flute played by Salas made the feel of the room quite light creating a relaxing mood in the recital hall. The conga drums played by “El Nino” released a soft mellow feeling in the air and the piano played by Torres assembled this sweet and calm sound that gave the song emotion and passion.
The soothing song engulfed the feeling in the recital hall giving the audience a break between the upbeat performances.
Another outstanding piece was called “Chanko” it took the latin roots of jazz to a tribal feel with powerful notes played fiercely. George Ortiz pounded rhythmically on the drums to start the song. It was a loud piece that changed the tempo of the recital hall and had the audience guessing on what’s to come next.
A solo by “El Niño” took the song to the next level when he began to sing and play a percussion instrument taking over the song for a short time. The audience got into the song and the quintet started to sing in unison accompanying “El Niño” until the song ended.
As a surprise to the audience, guest Bob Dawson, instructor at East Los Angeles College, joined the quintet with his trombone in the final song of the evening, “Blue In The Close.” The song was a bluesy rhythm and blues tune.
The collaboration from Dawson made the song sound amazingly good. The sound was almost joyful with a great loud sound which added to the song’s tone.
The trombone and saxophone collaborated well together switching off ranges in different parts of the song. The trombone though did add more to the bluesy sound of a Rhythm and Blues infused tune.
The sounds of the First Friday Jazz Concert series had the audiences thrilled with the passionate performances with an uptempo latin jazz beat. The David Torres Quintet played an inspired set that included many song which had the audience yearning for more and incorporating a soft gentle song in between, providing a pleasant break from the rest of the face paced songs.
The First Friday Jazz Series continues it’s performances on April 5 at the S2 Recital Hall.