You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Chucho Valdes Quartet Son Mayor Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra

At first, it didn't seem like Latin jazz night at the Hollywood Bowl -- not with the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra warming up the 8,844 spectators with some matter-of-fact Basie-inspired charts and nary a Latin percussion instrument within earshot. But what Jelly Roll Morton called the "Spanish tinge" was not long in arriving -- and it dominated an evening of music that grew stronger and more astonishing as it unfolded.

With:
Performers: Chucho Valdes Quartet (Lazaro Rivero Alarcon, Ramses Manuel Rodriquez Bazalt, Adel Gonzalez Gomes); Son Mayor (Oscar Ortiz, Julian Ortiz, Alfredo Ortiz, George Ortiz, Johnny Ortiz, Eddie Ortiz, Mirley Espinoza, Ron Sigoria, Louis Tejeda, Oswald Bernard, Umberto Gonzales, Eric Jorgensen); Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra (John Clayton, Jeff Clayton, Jeff Hamilton, Charles Owens, Rickey Woodard, Keith Fiddmont, Lee Callet, Bijon Watson, Eugene "Snooky" Young, Oscar Brashear, Clay Jenkins, Bobby Rodriguez, Ira Nepus, George Bohanon, Isaac Smith, Maurice Spears, Bill Cunliffe, Christoph Luty, Jim Hershman); Poncho Sanchez. Emcee: Chuck Niles.

At first, it didn’t seem like Latin jazz night at the Hollywood Bowl — not with the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra warming up the 8,844 spectators with some matter-of-fact Basie-inspired charts and nary a Latin percussion instrument within earshot. But what Jelly Roll Morton called the “Spanish tinge” was not long in arriving — and it dominated an evening of music that grew stronger and more astonishing as it unfolded.

Indeed, it was the Clayton-Hamilton ensemble, sleekly purring in solid midseason form, that slowly triggered the program’s transition toward the Caribbean. First, the Spanish vocal interpolation in Bobby Rodriguez’s otherwise workmanlike paean to Louis Armstrong on “You Rascal You,” then a depth-charged rendition of Gerald Wilson’s “Viva Tirado” set the table.

Then Poncho Sanchez, billed merely as a “host” but with fingers taped and ready to play, introduced Son Mayor, which although based in L.A. is a thoroughly traditional exponent of Cuban popular music. The lead singers, Mirley Espinoza and Johnny Ortiz (part of a battalion of six Ortiz brothers in this 13-person band), are young and full of energy; the band pumps out loud, fluid vamps with tight predictable riffs and little room for improvisation. Their best number by far was the last and least typical tune in the set, a sparer, more subtle, more propulsive sample of Cuban changui (country) music, with Sanchez percolating as guest conguero.

The Cuban theme continued with another visit from Chucho Valdes, who tours the U.S. so frequently that you have to remind yourself that there’s still an embargo on Cuban exports supposedly in place. Indeed, he is still forced to release his albums through the auspices of EMI Canada, which thankfully isn’t concerned with political nonsense.

He came this time with a new frightfully youthful-looking band, different from the one on his latest CD “Live at the Village Vanguard” (Blue Note) and able to give him plenty of complex, cooking support. And Valdes continues to show us new facets of his unlimited technique — the almost atonal hammering and long vamp on “Birdland” in “Con Poco Coca,” the ear-warping right-hand runs over the steady “son” left-hand rhythm in “Son in C Minor,” the can-you-match-this game with his prodigiously adept conguero Adel Gonzalez Gomes.

For a closer, John Clayton tried something brave — combining all three bands, plus Sanchez, in a carefully integrated arrangement of Tito Puente’s “Picadillo.” Amazingly, it worked; the massive band played together with gusto and a powerhouse sound, the big personalities getting chances to shine without hogging the spotlight.

Chucho Valdes Quartet Son Mayor Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra

Hollywood Bowl;17,383 seats, $70 top

Production: Presented by Los Angeles Philharmonic Assn. Reviewed August 2, 2000.

Cast: Performers: Chucho Valdes Quartet (Lazaro Rivero Alarcon, Ramses Manuel Rodriquez Bazalt, Adel Gonzalez Gomes); Son Mayor (Oscar Ortiz, Julian Ortiz, Alfredo Ortiz, George Ortiz, Johnny Ortiz, Eddie Ortiz, Mirley Espinoza, Ron Sigoria, Louis Tejeda, Oswald Bernard, Umberto Gonzales, Eric Jorgensen); Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra (John Clayton, Jeff Clayton, Jeff Hamilton, Charles Owens, Rickey Woodard, Keith Fiddmont, Lee Callet, Bijon Watson, Eugene "Snooky" Young, Oscar Brashear, Clay Jenkins, Bobby Rodriguez, Ira Nepus, George Bohanon, Isaac Smith, Maurice Spears, Bill Cunliffe, Christoph Luty, Jim Hershman); Poncho Sanchez. Emcee: Chuck Niles.

More Music

  • Kid Rock Ken Levitan Sweet Tea

    Kid Rock, Vector Management's Ken Levitan Sign Country Group Sweet Tea Trio

    At first, it didn’t seem like Latin jazz night at the Hollywood Bowl — not with the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra warming up the 8,844 spectators with some matter-of-fact Basie-inspired charts and nary a Latin percussion instrument within earshot. But what Jelly Roll Morton called the “Spanish tinge” was not long in arriving — and it […]

  • Father John Misty

    Father John Misty, Reggae Night on Tap for KCRW's Summer Concert Slate

    At first, it didn’t seem like Latin jazz night at the Hollywood Bowl — not with the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra warming up the 8,844 spectators with some matter-of-fact Basie-inspired charts and nary a Latin percussion instrument within earshot. But what Jelly Roll Morton called the “Spanish tinge” was not long in arriving — and it […]

  • Pandora Shares Surge as Fourth-Quarter Subscription

    Pandora Shares Surge as Fourth-Quarter Subscription Revenue Climbs 63%

    At first, it didn’t seem like Latin jazz night at the Hollywood Bowl — not with the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra warming up the 8,844 spectators with some matter-of-fact Basie-inspired charts and nary a Latin percussion instrument within earshot. But what Jelly Roll Morton called the “Spanish tinge” was not long in arriving — and it […]

  • Dua Lipa38th Brit Awards, Show, The

    Stormzy and Dua Lipa Win Big at 2018 Brit Awards

    At first, it didn’t seem like Latin jazz night at the Hollywood Bowl — not with the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra warming up the 8,844 spectators with some matter-of-fact Basie-inspired charts and nary a Latin percussion instrument within earshot. But what Jelly Roll Morton called the “Spanish tinge” was not long in arriving — and it […]

  • Moksha Fitzgibbons

    Todd Boehly's Valence Media Shakes Up Sales Teams for Billboard, THR, Other Divisions

    At first, it didn’t seem like Latin jazz night at the Hollywood Bowl — not with the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra warming up the 8,844 spectators with some matter-of-fact Basie-inspired charts and nary a Latin percussion instrument within earshot. But what Jelly Roll Morton called the “Spanish tinge” was not long in arriving — and it […]

  • Disney Theatrical's Thomas Schumacher Accused of

    Disney Theatrical's Thomas Schumacher Accused of Harassment

    At first, it didn’t seem like Latin jazz night at the Hollywood Bowl — not with the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra warming up the 8,844 spectators with some matter-of-fact Basie-inspired charts and nary a Latin percussion instrument within earshot. But what Jelly Roll Morton called the “Spanish tinge” was not long in arriving — and it […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content