José Antonio Díaz with his Diaz Music Institute is organizing the 1st Annual Holiday Latin Jazz Fest, which will take place Thanksgiving weekend at Jones Plaza in downtown Houston. Díaz invited the community to attend the family-friendly event. Tickets are currently available to purchase. Fest-goers can enjoy music and dance entertainment as well as Latin food selections and refreshments.
Díaz is the jazz band director at MacArthur High School. He has been molding musicians at MacArthur HS since 1985. Díaz also works with students in Latin jazz at the Diaz Music Institute, a nonprofit he founded in 2000.
The MacArthur instructor has racked up plenty of recognition over the years. Texas Monthly (click to read full story) featured Díaz in the October 2017 issue. He landed the No. 2 spot on the list that features the “30 Things You Need to Know About Texas Music Scene in 2017.” Writer John Nova Lomax cited Díaz’s passion for music education as well as his inspiring methods, which are “forming dynasties.” His former students include Grammy-winning sidemen Joe Gonzalez, Robert Martinez and Felix DeLeon; Marcie Chapa, a percussionist who has backed Beyoncé, Jay-Z and Kanye West.
Díaz was named among the top 10 finalists for the 2017 Grammy Foundation’s Music Educator Award (click to read full story).
Poncho Sánchez — For more than three decades as both a leader and a sideman, conguero Poncho Sánchez has stirred up a fiery stew of infectious melodies and rhythms from a variety of Latin American and South American sources. His influences are numerous. He was raised on an unusual cross section of sounds that included straight-ahead jazz, Latin jazz and American soul. That creativity earned him a Grammy and several Grammy nominations.
Francisco Torres — He is the trombonist and musical director for the Grammy-Award winning Poncho Sanchez Latin Jazz Band, as well as a member of Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band. He is comfortable performing jazz, classical, Latin, funk, reggae, ska and studio work. He has performed with Latin greats like Cachao and Celia Cruz. He has also performed with Terence Blanchard, Natalie Cole and many others.
José Valentino — Internationally acclaimed recording and performing artist, Dr. José Valentino Ruiz is a multi-GRAMMY® Award nominated artist-producer-engineer and EMMY® Award nominee.
Raquel Cepeda — The Venezuelan-born singer calls Houston home. Critics describe her style as a progressive take on Latin Jazz showcasing Cuban, Brazilian and Argentinean rhythms and American Standards. She is also one of Houston’s most in-demand musicians to perform Brazilian classics and jazz standards in the bossa nova style.
Diaz Music Institute’s nationally acclaimed high school jazz band, Caliente, will perform the music with Díaz directing. The institute provides training for aspiring performing artists.
Caliente has appeared with some of the music industry’s biggest stars such as Eddie Palmieri, Johnny Pacheco, Bobby Valentín, Ismael Miranda, Roberto Roena, Adalberto Santiago, Larry Harlow, Jimmy Bosch, Pete Escovedo, Dave Valentin, Brenda K. Starr, Poncho Sánchez, Michael Stuart, Danilo Pérez, Néstor Torres, Jon Faddis, Brian Lynch, David Sánchez, Miguel Zenón, Ndugu Chancler, John Santos, Rebeca Mauleón, Conrad Herwig, Frankie Negrón and Marlon Fernández.
National appearances include the Midwest Clinic in Chicago, Jazz Education Network Conference, Oregon Music Educators Association Conference and the Music Educators National Conference. Caliente’s state performances include the Texas Bandmasters Association, Texas Music Educators Association, Texas Salsa Congress and the Dallas Music Symposium. Houston music fans have savored Caliente’s talent at several events including the Chocolate Bayou Festival, the Bayou City Arts Festival, Día de la Hispanidad as well as a host of many concert performances too many to mention.
The festival will take place rain or shine, unless otherwise posted.
This event is for all ages and anyone who loves Latin jazz. However, individuals 16 and under must be accompanied by an adult.
Director of Written Communication & Spanish Media
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