The Vernon Jazz Club will be sizzling this Saturday night as they open up the season with Santa Lucia LFR.
This hot six-piece band will be playing a mix of Latin funk with rock and funk grooves.
Get ready for their addictive combination of Nuyorican Boogaloo, West Coast funk, and Cuban grooves to engulf the stage with monstrous horns and bass, funky breaks, polyrhythmic beats, and furious lyrics in English and Spanish.
The band is German Cantillo (guitar and vocals), Jeremy Vint (trumpet), Dan Shook (tenor sax), Byron Russell (alto sax), Stefan Grabowski (drums), and Luis Garzon (bass).
Cantillo started this group back in 1999. This was a very special project to him, partly because it was a sound that was completely new to the Vancouver scene at the time. This meld of music felt completely natural to him.
“As a kid growing up in Latin America it meant I had to experiment too; the mix is in our DNA,” said Cantillo. “I grew up with salsa, cumbia, and other Latino rhythms. I’ve played in rock bands as well, but as a musician you have to adapt and reinvent yourself so the experimentation with world rhythms just came naturally to me. Who knows, maybe I will write a country album one day too.”
Cantillo grew up in political exile in Mexico City during the 1980s.
“Living in exile in the early ‘80s all I could rely on was the love of my parents and an interest in music,” he said. “I guess it was more like a survival skill for me.”
The name for his band came, in part, as a salvation from those hard times.
“As part of Latin American culture you follow or bond with a saint, one you can relate to and say your prayers to. Believing in this saint helps you mentally, to keep the faith and your beliefs strong. In our case, to keep believing, we had to find a way to have a better life without persecution,” said Cantillo.
Santa Lucia, the patron saint of the blind, resurfaced in his thoughts when he was trying to find a name for his new project.
“Years later I asked myself, what will I call it? Perhaps it’s because music kept me busy and out of trouble when I was growing up. It seemed obvious that it was time to return the favour, and so the name Santa Lucia was chosen.”
Santa Lucia LFR, which stands for Latin Funk Rock, recorded their first EP with producer Darryl Nuedorf (Sarah McLachlan, Neko Case) and have since released two full-length albums. Their second, The Streets/Las Calles, was recorded at Turtle Recording Studios with legendary producer Larry Anschell (Nickelback, Pearl Jam).
In 2005, the band was nominated for Best Children’s Recording for the song Hero Inside by the Western Canada Music Awards. This song was used in the TV cartoon series Crackleberries.
The band can be heard on CBC and performed a live show hosted by Gloria Makarenko and Prya Ramu.
Vint holds a bachelor’s in music from UBC. He is both a performer and instructor and has studied trumpet with Martin Berinbaum and Blair Fisher. He has performed in masterclasses with the Canadian Brass, Allen Vizzutti, and Larry Knopp.
Shook, who also has a bachelor’s in music from UBC, focused on studying the oboe and English horn with Beth Orson of the Vancouver Symphony and saxophone improvisation with Stan Karp. He is a multi-instrumentalist and instructor who has performed in India, Japan, China, Taiwan, Cuba, Hawaii, and throughout both the U.S. and Canada.
Russell met Cantillo back when he was playing with his high school jazz band and they’ve been performing with each other ever since. Russell’s influences include Maceo Parker, Stan Getz, and Karl Denson.
Grabowski has been drumming his whole life. His sound is influenced by greats like Danny Carey, Chris Coleman, and Thomas Lang.
Garzon is a bassist, audio engineer, and DJ who was born in Caracas, Venezuela. At 15 he started his own DJ mobile service with his friends bringing danceable music to private parties in his neighbourhood. By 17 he started playing guitar and found the bass two years later.
Santa Lucia LFR hits the stage at the Vernon Jazz Club (3000-31st St.) Saturday, Sept. 5. Doors open at 7:15 p.m. Tickets are $20 at the Bean Scene, Bean to Cup, and at www.vernonjazz with a $5 rebate at the door for members. Cash only bar.