[JPL] Malo, Santana, Sly alums still jam as hard as ever

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Mon Sep 8 07:51:57 EDT 2008


Latin rockers bring down the house at Lincoln

Malo, Santana, Sly alums still jam as hard as ever

Register Correspondent

Yountville¹s Lincoln Theater was ablaze with rhythm Saturday night, when the
Voices of Latin Rock revue gathered members from some of the most celebrated
Bay Area bands of the 1960s and 1970s: Malo, Santana and Sly & the Family

With up to 16 performers on stage at once, all showing their hottest stuff,
the evening went by too quickly; long before the end, ticketholders were
dancing in the aisles. Here are a few notes saved from the conflagration:

Bandleader and guitarist Abel Sanchez¹s guiro playing was a revelation: That
smiling, torpedo-shaped scraper may look like a toy, but in the right hands
it can lead a mighty band. On Saturday, it led one of the most propulsive
and entertaining groups on the current scene ‹ a Fania All-Stars with a Bay
Area accent.

Kicking off with the Herbie Hancock boogaloo ³Watermelon Man,² the ensemble
rapidly brought its audience to a rolling boil with congas, timbales, trap
drums and a tight three-member horn section. From then on, the night was an
all-you-can-eat barbecue of ³bailar-y-bugalu² Latin rhythms, rock and soul.

Both trumpeters were outstanding ‹ no surprise, given Malo¹s history of
employing great jazz players like Tom Harrell. But alto saxophonist Marcia
Miget was particularly excitin. The only woman on stage, she played solo
after solo full of inventive, turn-on-a-dime phrasing that reminded one
listener of another Bay Area alto great, Arthur Blythe.

Of the up to four guitarists on stage during the evening, Jorge Santana
(elegantly silver-haired and clad in white, with a pair of red basketball
shoes gripping the floor) played his electric Gibson guitar with a bristling
intensity that had some listeners reaching for the Lincoln¹s free earplugs.

Santana¹s entrance on stage opened the most riveting section of the show,
which showcased the music of his former band Malo.

Clad in a Kevan Barlow warm-up suit, Malo singer Arcelio Garcia hit the
stage dancing and singing ³Nena² with son Octaviano (³Ocky²). Their
synchronized boogaloo moves drew some particularly high-pitched enthusiasm
from the audience, but there was more to come: Sweet-voiced Malo singer
Richard Bean, still sporting his mop of curly hair, emerged to sing the
band¹s signature hit from 1972, ³Suavecito,² thrilling everyone who
remembered hearing ³I never, no never, I never met a girl like you in my
life² in the radio.

After the Malo segment, Sanchez introduced percussionist Greg Errico, whose
rock-steady drumming helped establish Sly & the Family Stone among the bands
that provided their soundtrack to the Baby Boom years.

Singer Tony Lindsay, who has shared 11 Grammy awards as the vocalist for the
group Santana, sang Sly¹s ³Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)² and ³I
Want to Take You Higher,² abetted by members of a beefcakey male vocal

To call Errico an explosive performer is no mere figure of speech: His solos
rattled the seats and shook the floor at the Lincoln, as if the grand finale
of a fireworks display were erupting just outside.

Lindsay and the backup singers departed after the Sly segment, while the
horn section took a break and the stage filled up again with congueros,
timbaleros and guitarists for the climax of the evening, a suite of
Santana¹s hits ³Evil Ways,² ³Black Magic Woman² and ³Jingo.²

Percussionist Karl Perazzo, a Cal Tjader veteran who opened the Lincoln
concert with the Carlos Reyes Orchestra, joined the three Voices of Latin
Rock drummers already on stage for a battle of congas and timbales that left
the audience breathless.

It was a delirious conclusion to an evening that had no low points ‹ if one
doesn¹t include the inordinately slow lines at the refreshment counters
during intermission, which forced some patrons to miss the beginning of the
Voices of Latin Rock set.

Opener Carlos Reyes, the Paraguayan-born Paganini who currently performs
with the Steve Miller Band, delighted the audience with a first set that
breathed new life into the once-fatigued genre of jazz fusion.

An accomplished musician who has appeared before several United States
presidents and the current pope, Reyes played his violin with effortless
control, never once veering out of tune. On harp, he drew dazzling phrases
and colorful glissandi.

His ideas came fast, but never furious; his group, including brother Rolando
Reyes on bass and the extraordinary Perazzo on congas and timbales, was both
nimble and fiery.

Saturday¹s concert was good enough to be a once-in-a-lifetime event ‹ but in
fact, all of the players live and perform in the Bay Area, so Voices of
Latin Rock is a name to keep looking for on regional entertainment

Napa Valley Register Copyright © 2008

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