Band ends semester on good note

SONGBIRD SINGS – Cindy Paz sings at the Latin Jazz concert last Saturday. C/N Gustavo Barrera


By Christina Burrola

Amazing solos on the piano, flute, and trumpet, plus some good vocals, made the Latin Jazz Concert great. Mixed all together it made you want to dance.

The East Los Angeles College music department and the associated students had a latin jazz concert featuring the ELAC Latin Jazz Ensemble.

It was supposed to begin at 7:30 on Saturday night in the S2 recital hall but due to technical difficulties it started forty five minutes late.

When allowed to go inside, the room was cool and the stage was lit up brightly by yellow, purple and blue lights on the wall. The ensemble was wearing all black and sitting besides, singer Cindy Paz. Once everyone sat, director, Jesus “Chuy” Martinez apologized for the wait explaining that they needed to fix the microphones. Quickly after they started playing “Ritmo Caliente” by Eddie Palmieri.

Paz smiled and danced in little steps. Sometimes it was hard to hear her voice when Steven Pasillas sang, but when you heard her voice it was strong. Pasillas voice was deep.  The beat made you want to move around, or at the very least bob your head and move your feet. There was a piano solo from Allen Cate and a flute solo from Vivian Ramirez.

The songs that followed had many solos. “Joseito,” the second song by Scott Martin, featured a piano solo from Cate, followed by an alto saxophone solo played by William Weinstock, then the baritone saxophone played by Luana Luna, followed by the tenor saxophone played by Luis Robles. A drum solo and a trumpet solo by Brandon closed the number.

Before the forth song was played Martinez said how he likes to encourage students to write songs and explained that the piano player, Cate, helped arrange and compose the song “Ahora Si” with Romelia V. Morales. There were solos from Cate, Ramirez, and Brandon.

Paz sang with a smile again. It was still a little hard to hear her voice when her and Pasillas sang at the same time, but after a few seconds of listening closely her voice could be heard slightly quieter than his but still there.

“Lazaro Y Su Microfono” by Mayito Fernandez was the sixth song, sung by Paz and Pasillas. It was easier to hear their different voices in this song than in the earlier ones. Pasillas smiled and encouraged the people in the audience to sing along. The audience consider this but seemed content with just bobbing their heads and tapping their feet along to the music.

The last song, “The Last Bullfighter” by Jose Rizo and Paul Lopez, was described by Martinez as “where latin jazz meets bull fight.” After a while of hearing the song it could be visualized. It was an upbeat song causing some people to tap their feet along to the music.

The musicians who played the brass instruments were the ones mostly heard during the song. Their sound was very upbeat and loud. There was also a solo from Pasillas and Brandon.

Paz and Pasillas seemed the most enthusiastic of the ensemble. Paz smiled the whole time she was up to sing and Pasillas smiled every now and then when he wasn’t playing the soprano saxophone. Everyone else mostly seemed serious.

Overall, it was a good performance and very enjoyable. The songs were upbeat and never seemed slow and fit one right after the other. People were bobbing their heads and tapping their legs to the songs never losing their interest or smiles.

Martinez talked a little between each song about the Ensemble and their performance.

The Latin Jazz Ensemble has played several times already and played on Mothers Day in Little Tokyo.

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