Azesu: a hybrid of Latin rhythms, South American folklorico & jazz

Healdsburg Ave. & Matheson
6 – 8 pm

Orestes Vilato has played with practically every Latin jazz or Latin rock artist of note—from Ray Barretto to Carlos Santana to Carlos “Patato” Valdez to Chico O’Farril—not to mention he’s lent his timbales skills to stars like Aretha Franklin, Willie Nelson and Wynton Marsalis.

When the 67-yearold Cuban-born percussionist  put together a new group, he wanted just the right lead singer. For Azesu, which is playing a dance concert at the Healdsburg Plaza, Vilato tapped a Venezuelan native, Maria Marquez to supply the lead vocals. Marquez has one of the more beguiling vocal timbres around, low and rumbling, perfect for the kind of omni-Latin music Vilato has in mind.

Rounding out the band are Venezuelan Omar Ledezma Jr. on percussion, Peruvian bassist David Pinto, and two Americans: reed ace Sheldon Brown and pianist Jonathan Alford.

Azesu has released a self-titled CD that lays down a new marker for hybrid Latin jazz – a marker you can dance to at the Plaza.