Freshwater Trio
Two members of Borealis String Quartet

Odlum Brown Opening Night - Celebración! Poncho Sanchez Latin Jazz Band plus MusicFest Latin Favourites
Friday, 6 August 2010 at 8:00pm • Orpheum Theatre

Performers Poncho Sanchez Latin Jazz Band; Adrián Iaies Trio; Zapato Negro; Orquesta Goma Dura

Reviewer Melanie Ewan

Opening night of the Vancouver MusicFest began on a high note with a Celebración at the Orpheum Theatre on Friday night.

The Adrián Iaies Trio performed Argentinean inspired music with a jazzed up tango twist. The talent in this trio was tangible and I found myself sitting in awe of the creativity and vast knowledge of music that one must have to write this type of music. Of course, this was to be expected as Iaies is considered a great musical influence in Argentina, and around the world. This performance also afforded the audience their first taste of the amazing Miguelito Valdés (on trumpet).

Zapato Negro showcased what ‘Latin jazz’ really is, effectively adding a whole new layer to my concept of jazz music. Through their blend of progressive jazz and Afro-Caribbean rhythms, they reminded me how infinite the boundaries of music are. The members of this band hail from around the world, including our very own Vancouver, making their music a truly international experience.

Orquestra Goma Dura was one of my favourite groups of the night. They have that nice traditional jazz band feel, but with a few splashes of colour, like bongos and salsa dancing. I could have watched this group all night. It wasn’t that this group was more talented than the others; it was that they offered a taste of Latin jazz that I could easily see myself listening, singing, and dancing to until the wee hours of the morning.

The Poncho Sanchez Latin Jazz Band seemed to fill the room with an infectious energy of excitement. They literally got people out of their seats and dancing to the salsa, soul and Latin-jazz beats. Sanchez himself, whether singing or sitting behind his drums, had a fantastic stage presence. He says that “[the band’s] main goal is always to keep Latin jazz alive, growing and moving,” and I feel that their set demonstrated their passion and respect for this music and their desire to allow others the opportunity to fall in love with it as well. One of my favourite moments of the night was being introduced to the members of this band, which included a little musical snapshot of each member.

I left the Orpheum feeling the need to dance, and after a night like this, I can’t help but look forward to what else MusicFest has in store for Vancouver.

© 2010 Melanie Ewan