The New Latin Wave

Is the Bay Area becoming at hot spot for a new generation of Latin Artists?

Latin Music is emerging as a new frontier for a new generation. And for a music style that has had its ups and downs, this could be the story of some very talented artists emerging right here in the Bay Area. Specifically there is a movement of bands focusing on the music of Brazil.
How and why this is happening now is a fascinating story. Some of it revolves around something called “California Brazil Camp”. This gathering, organized by Dennis Broughton, artistic director, takes place in the summer in Cazadero, California. And it is precisely where flautist Rebecca Kleinmann met composer Carlos Oliviera.
Rebecca has self-produced a CD entitled Raio De Sol, a number of years ago. Unfortunately, few people have heard it, or visited the raucous restaurant called Bissap Baobab where Rebecca plays in the Mission District of San Francisco. This CD demonstrates to any serious listener that Rebecca is a top flight flute player and interpreter of Latin music styles and rhythms. The fact that she has mastered an exciting jazz style with distinct elements of classical technique makes her music even more appealing.
After the meeting with Carlos at Jazz Camp an idea for a Brazilian styled group gradually emerged. Their first CD is now available. It is titled Kata-Vento or wind catcher in Portuguese and it features the arrangements of Carlos Oliveira. The rest of the band consists of Carlos himself on percussion and guitar, Sonia Caltvedt and flutes, Rebecca on flutes and Chloe Scott on flutes. There are also two other players, Q Morrow on guitar and Brian Rice on percussion.
Listening to this music one is first struck by the boldness of building a band around three flutes. This is unusual, striking and very exciting by itself to this listener. The arrangements are tight, beautifully executed and with not only a very Brazilian sound but a distinct element of musical modernism. Think sound track of a beautifully crafted movie set in a Latin city involving suspense, high art, and of course, deep romance (Hollywood, are you listening?). The music moves between traditional rhythms and a melodic pulse that is contagious. The sound of the three flutes is gorgeous and hypnotic. It is very a sound that is unusual to say the least, and very Latin, as the flute is traditional in every corner of Latin America.
The group is celebrating the CD Friday, September 28 at 8 pm at the Community Music Center, 544 Capp Street, San Francisco. It will be the last time to hear them with the composer, Carlos, for some time as he is returning to Brazil for a time. This performance is also special as the CD is a treasure. Hearing it live will be something special.
There are many other aspects of the Latin style music in the Bay Area, including vocalists such as Kat Parra, who has a new CD out. A special mention has to be given to some of the great players such as Pete Escovedo, John Callaway, Wayne Wallace, Marcos Silva, Quique Cruz, and Grupo Falso Baiano. Discovering young stars to be like Rebecca Kleinmann, who was born to play this music, is one way to remind ourselves that there is always something new when music and cultures meet and create something original and this exciting. And there is certainly much more from two generations of wonderfully creative artists con salsa to come, music of great passion and feeling. All music fans should be very excited by that.
Ken Vermes writes as Jazz Spy. He is on the prowl for new and exciting musical adventures.

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Ken V