Zandhunga plays for the Georgia Strait Jazz Society Thursday.

Georgia Strait Jazz goes Latin with Zandhunga

Thursday, 7:30 p.m. at the Avalanche

Malcolm Holt

Special to The Record

Following last week’s cool jazz, music at the Avalanche Bar takes a Latin spin when Zandhunga takes the stage at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.

This combo never fails to bring its own fans wherever they may be appearing and this week the Georgia Strait Jazz Society is appealing to dancers, as part of the floor will be cleared for those so inclined.

Zandhunga is: Oscar Robles Diaz – congas, timbales, vocals; Britt Bowman – bass, vocals; Kelly Thomas – keyboard, vocals; Jake Masri – trumpet, flugelhorn, and Jeff Agopzowicz – slide trombone.

Rachel Fuller, saxophone, makes an appearance as a special guest in this show.

This is a locally-based ensemble that began in Mexico in 2009, at the time with more Latin members than Canadian-born, but now the reverse is the case. Trombonist Jeff Agopsowicz is the most recent addition and has already contributed some of his original compositions to the repertoire.

“Having a trombone in the band is pretty essential to salsa music,” Bowman said. “We were making do as a quartet but were always on the lookout for a trombonist. We couldn’t believe our luck when Jeff decided to try out a rehearsal. He already had experience playing with salsa bands in Victoria, and he picked up on what we were doing right away. Sometimes, it really is just about being patient and waiting for the right player to come along.”

More specifically, the band’s Latin music includes salsa, as well as cha-cha-cha, Latin-jazz, and cumbia. Recently, Zandhunga’s focus has been on polishing a high-energy repertoire of salsa dura for those with an insatiable thirst for dance music. Separate from that, the band has also been working on mounting a fully instrumental set of Latin-jazz classics.

“Since its birth in the 1970s, salsa music and dance has gone on to conquer the world,” said Bowman.

“Since it is arguably Latin, it is common for people to make the mistake of thinking salsa was born in Latin America, particularly in Cuba, Puerto Rico or the Dominican Republic, as it so clearly has origins from those countries. In fact, salsa was born in New York in the 1970s. American jazz had a significant influence in the birth of salsa, along with Cuban Son Montuno, Puerto Rican Plena and various other traditionally Afro-Latin components.”

So if you love Latin American music and dancing, this is your night! Admission is $10 for members, $12 for non-members. Follow us on Facebook, or visit georgiastraightjazz.com for more information about the Society’s activities.

 

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