20 Piece Big Band / Dance Lessons
Jackson Theater, 4400 Day School Place, Santa Rosa
Sunday, June 4, 7 p.m. $45, $35 and $25
The pride of San Francisco, the 20-piece Pacific Mambo Orchestra became the talk of the town a few years ago when the band beat out Marc Anthony and Carlos Vives in the “Best Latin Tropical Album” category (for the orchestras’ self-titled debut recording) at the 2014 Grammy Awards. The PMO, as this spicy outfit is affectionately known, have only built on that honor as the years have passed.
With pianist Christian Tumalan and trumpeter Steffen Kuehn at the helm, the PMO have brought the sounds of the classic Latin jazz big bands of the 1940s and 50s, as well as such stylistic fixtures of Latin dance music as salsa, the mambo, cha-cha-cha and bachata, firmly into the 21st century. Cleverly incorporating elements of hip-hop and R&B into the mix, the band embraces the present, refusing to be mired in nostalgic convention. Yet the PMO also lets its roots proudly show. “When people hear ‘salsa,’ it still sounds alien,” Tumalán has said. “‘Mambo’ is different. It’s a bit sexy; it’s a different mind-set… It brings back that feel of the Palladium in New York.”
Stocked with world class horn players and propulsive percussionists, a driving rhythm section and vibrant vocalists – the band members have experience with, among others, Tito Puente, Dizzy Gillespie, Carlos Santana, Herbie Hancock and Mariah Carey, the PMO hits a stage ready to play. The band’s aim is simple: to get you moving, whether in your seat or in the aisle. And to that end, there will be free Mambo lessons with Santa Rosa Salsa before the concert, because there’s nothing worse than wanting to shake your stuff, but not knowing the correct way to shake it.
The complete list of PMO band members includes: Christian Tumalan, piano; Julio de la Cruz, bass; Alexa Morales, lead vocal; Armando Cordoba, lead local; Braulio Barrera, bongo, local; Omar Ledezma, timbal; Javier Cabanillas, conga. The horn section includes, Trombones: Derek James, Jason Thor, Mike Rinta, Jamie Dubberly on trombones; Steffen Kuehn, Louis Fasmon, Jeff Lewis and Jon Ruff on trumpets; Pete Cornell, Doug Rowan, Tony Peebles, Benny Torres and Aaron Lington on saxophones. The stage manager is Jimmy Goings.