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Live Shows

Watch this space for Janine's 2017 performance Schedule.


Saturday, April 29, 2017

Live Webcast TV Performance Worldwide

Comedy by Sam Adams, special guest

Afro-Caribbean Jazz by Janine Santana Latin Jazz

Sooooo inexpensive! Watch from anywhere!

Get tickets HERE

Wednesday, September 7, 2016, 7PM


Dazzle Jazz

930 Lincoln Street  

Denver, CO

Click here for tickets


FRIDAY AUGUST 12, 8:30 P.M. - 12:00 A.M.



San Jose, CA


First night of the San Jose Jazz Summer Fest and we get to be a part of it! Featuring Murray: piano, Masaru Koga: woodwinds, Aaron Germain: bass and Dan Foltz: drums
Admission: Free. Age restrictions: All Ages. Address: 233 West Santa Clara St.. Venue phone: 408-286-1000.



August 26th and 27th, 2016

 With Eugenie Jones

Baur's Listening Lounge 
1512 Curtis St.
Denver, CO 80202

Eugenie will be accompanied by Andy Weyl-piano, Mark Simon-bass, and Dan Hogan-drums with special guest: Janine Santana on congas....

...Don't miss this unique performer from the Northwest when she alights in town...I can't wait for these dates at Baur's Listening Lounge ... Just can't arrive fast enough!





May 21, 2016

Janine Santana Latin Jazz

Historic Five Points Jazz Festival, Denver, CO

25th to 29th streets along Welton St.

Plaza stage




May 21, 2016

Janine Santana Latin Jazz 

4PM MST at the Five Points Plaza Stage

Welton Street, in Historic Five Points, Denver, Colorado.

Copies of Soft as Granite will be available before and after the performance, or purchase here.

    Thank you for supporting the music!

January 30, 2016

 with the Mi Casa All-Stars Band. Supporting 

 Mi Casa is among Colorado’s oldest and largest Latino-serving nonprofit organizations. Since 1976, Mi Casa has been dedicated to advancing the economic success of Latino and working families in the Denver Metro area.

Tickets and info available HERE. 

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Chucho Valdes' Afro-Cuban Messengers at the DU Newman Center, Denver (February 14, 2012) by Janine Santana

The University of Denver and the Lamont School of Music know the best way to heat up a cold Valentine’s Day—with a smoking hot Latin jazz concert by Chucho Valdes. Leading his Afro-Cuban Messengers from the piano, Valdes arranged the band on the large stage of the Newman Center’s Gates Concert Hall with horns off to stage left and percussion at center stage. The group’s name is an obvious nod to Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, but the name of the batá drums also translates from Yoruban into the English word “messengers”. The message extends to the Afro-Cuban influence on the genres of classical, swing, bop, blues, funk, rock and Cuban folkloric music, and it is bound together by the mind, heart and skill of Valdes and the young people he has gathered to perform this music.

Before the concert, Lynn Baker, director of jazz studies for the Lamont School, and José Madera, percussionist and co-leader of the Mambo Legends Orchestra, educated listeners on the history and content of the music to be presented. Baker spoke of the interesting harmonies Valdes had displayed at a master class the previous day, then Madera told of Valdes’ liberating of the standard clave rhythms. The 70-year old maestro Valdes was not resting on past laurels, but voraciously pursuing and creating new areas in Latin jazz. Like his father Bebo Valdes, Chucho will most likely be a musical powerhouse well into his nineties.

The concert hall was full to capacity, and at the beginning of the concert, the audience was polite and attentive. But Valdes broke that barrier too, and before long, the audience was roaring with appreciation. The entire first set moved effortlessly between swing and Afro-Swing styles. The performance began with a tribute to Duke Ellington with “Satin Doll” and “In a Sentimental Mood” skillfully maneuvered with Cuban rhythmic finesse. A fiery “Caravan” stretched the boundaries of the music, including a direct extended quote from Rachmaninoff’s second piano concerto!  A sublime and bop-influenced tenor solo by Carlos Manuel Miyares Hernandez was driven by a powerful rhythm section manned by the perpetually smiling Juan Carlos Rojas Castro on drum set, Yaroldy Abreu Robles on congas, Dreiser Durruthy Bambolé on batá and hand percussion and  Lázaro Rivero Alarcón on bass. 

Trumpeter Reinaldo Meilán Álvarez revealed a beautiful tone and breath control. He used an elegant amount of space in his solos, and his attentiveness to his band leader was mirrored by all of his fellow musicians. Free and creative bass solos were presented by Alarcón on both electric and double bass. Valdes’ piano solos revealed both his powerful and delicate sides. The musicians joined in applause for each other with the appreciative audience. The expressive and soulful alto vocals of Chucho’s sister, Mayra Caridad Valdes, were a special treat. A highly-regarded international performer in her own right, Mayra only sang two songs per set, but she held the audience in rapt attention, breaking hearts with her ballads. A Cuban influenced blues segment and a rousing percussion finale completed the first part of the concert.

After a short intermission, things really heated up. Here, the pushing of rhythmic boundaries in the clave, only hinted at in the first half, became more pronounced. Even so, the cultural heritage of Afro Cuban music was revealed in the vocals and batá work of Bambolé and supporting coro (chorus) by the rest of the men in the group. Passionate solos by conguero Robles and drummer Castro were contrasted by elegant answers from both horn players and outstanding piano work by Valdes. Rumba was the happy and celebratory end to the evening, with the young and versatile Bambolé acknowledging all band mates and carrying the energy into a solo rumba dance that left everyone smiling and satisfied.


David Murray Cuban Ensemble Plays Nat King Cole (Motema 2011)

David Murray Cuban Ensemble Plays Nat King Cole (Motema 2011)

January 27, 2012 

Review written by: Janine Santana -

Nat King Cole’s Latin influenced recordings of 1958 and 1962 were performed in both Spanish and Portuguese. Cole spoke neither, but sang the lyrics phonetically, maintaining his signature phrasing style. Although it sounded odd to native Spanish and Portuguese speakers, his obvious affection for the songs beloved world-wide by Latinos was accepted as it opened the door to a new audience for the music. To be honest, Cole’s versions of the songs my parents loved and I grew up listening to were not my favorite versions, although I am fond of Cole’s other offerings. What I admire about the work is his verve. Not one to be threatened by cultural barriers and willing to step up to the plate to create and explore cultural music, Cole put his unique stamp on these Latin arrangements. Fifty years later Saxophonist David Murray, himself a bold breaker of barriers, has recorded a testimonial to Cole’s excursion into the popular Latin music of his day.

Known for free-style improvisation and dissonant interpretations, Murray takes traditional dance rhythms and transposes them into a swinging, jazzy journey rich with his signature sound. With the support of a Cuban jazz ensemble and a Portuguese symphonic orchestra, as well as exciting, rough vocals by Latino Rock/Tango interpreter Daniel Melingo, Murray and co-producer Valérie Malot have offered an exciting meld of different traditions and styles that work well together.

There is an interesting relationship in the way Murray has arranged the brass, woodwinds, strings and vocals. The spices of this recipe are all pertinent. The resulting flavor is Dissonance meets Melody and Rhythm.

El Bodeguero, also called “the Grocer’s Cha Cha” Takes an old favorite and transforms it into a treat in counterpoint. While the essence of the original remains, there are many layers of sound both dissonant and harmonious weaving in and out of the arrangement while the rhythm remains true. I’d love to see the sheet music! Besides a tasty solo by Murray, there is a fun, well-formed trombone solo by Denis Cuni Rodriguez. While the piece carries Murray’s signature free –flow arrangement style, it also remains a danceable cha cha.

Quizás, Quizás, Quizás enters with all the theatricality this long time favorite by Osvaldo Farrés deserves. The creative melding of the instrumental voicings are joined by a human voice that was quite a surprise! The thoughtful phrasing, deep, rough and passionate vocals of Daniel Melingo are the perfect choice for the rougher mood of this arrangement. A veteran vocalist of star caliber for both tango and rock in Argentina and beyond, he dances his voice around Murray’s saxophone as if they were teasing each other.

Tres Palabras, a romantic favorite is given a hard punch of excitement immediately via the skillful, stunning high notes of trumpeter Mario Felix Hernandez Morrejon. The spirit of the tune picks up beautifully near the end of the arrangement with an intertwining of alto saxophone by Roman Filiu O’Reilly with Murray and Ariel Binguez Ruiz on tenor saxophones. Congas driven by Abrahim Mansfarroll Rodriguez carry the piece out in style.

Another well-known piece that has been given an entirely new face is Piel Canela, composed originally by Bobby Capó. Here we have a rendition with an elegant alto sax solo by O’Reilly. This arrangement is my least favorite on the project, but by no means does that mean it is weak. It held my attention from start to finish.

The most pleasurable tune is No me platiques, an arrangement where Murray’s mournful tenor saxophone is lifted up by the stringed orchestra. The effect is interesting, slightly unnerving yet I could not turn away. With an outstanding solo by Murray, this is by far the most expressive piece on the recording.

Black Nat, an original by Murray starts out with fire and gets hotter from there. Murray works the band and orchestra to completely support free and wildly expressive horn solos, including a very elegant trombone solo by Denis Cuni Rodriguez. Murray saves the last tenor solo for his own statement.

Cachito, a Consuelo Velásquez composition, is given a good treatment with excellent woodwind arrangements and straight ahead percussion balancing the arrangement. The string section supports a fine be-bop influenced alto sax solo by Oreilly that shows off finesse on the instrument.

A Media Luz returns us to the tango influence, highlighted by the rough vocals of Melingo. The arrangement moves in a dissonance that stretches boundaries for the vocalist, who handles the piece skillfully. Murray Captures the vocals with his bass clarinet and carries the mood through the rest of the piece.

Aqui Se Habla En Amor opens with the keys of José-Pepe Rivero’s teasing us into the tune before the orchestra and band kick in, supporting Murray’s conversational solo.

There is a bonus track on U.S. releases, El Choclo. Bandeleon by Juanjo Mosalini opens the tune as Melingo’s raspy and expressive voice treats us to a flowing tango journey that carries the listener straight to Argentina. The saxophone enters and injects a North American Jazz flavor into the recipe. This tune is a real treat!

David Murray, Valérie Malot, Producers in Argentina, Portugal, France for 3D Family

Track Listing: 1. El Bodeguero; 2. Quizás, Quizás, Quizás; 3. Tres Palabras; 5. No Me Platiques; 6. Black Nat; 7. Cachito; 8. A Media Luz; 9. Aqui Se Habla En Amor; 10. El Choclo; 11. Quizás, Quizás, Quizás (Radio Edit).

Arranger: David Murray.

Personnel: Joana Dias, Joana Cipriano, Rui Guimaraes, Maria José Laginha, Joao Andrade (violin); Joao Gaspar, Gonçalo Ruivo (viola); Samuel Santos, Catarina Anacleto, Tiago Vila, Rita Ramos (cello); David Murray (bass clarinet, tenor saxophone); Roman Filiu O’Reilly (alto saxophone); Ariel Bringuez Ruiz (tenor saxophone); Mario Félix Hernandez Morejon, Franck Mayea Pedroza (trumpet); Denis Cuni Rodriguez (trombone); Pepe Rivero (piano); Georvis Pico Milan (drums); Abraham Mansfarroll Rodriguez (congas).

Related links: David Murray on the web:


Peter Schärli Trio w Ithamara Koorax – O Grande Amor (TCB Music)

Peter Schärli Trio w Ithamara Koorax – O Grande Amor (TCB Music)

January 8, 2012 by By Janine Santana   

Brazilian vocalist Ithamara Koorax and the Swiss trio of pianist Hans-Peter Pfammatter, Trumpeter Peter Schärli and bassist Thomas Dűrst work together to transcend any barriers of culture and physical distance. Switzerland, where the core of this group is from is not the first area one thinks about when considering Latin Jazz!

These musicians are finely tuned with each other, particularly in the title cut, but why, oh why did they choose to leave out percussion, with the exception of piano? It creates a strange and gaping hole in the otherwise beautiful arrangements. A number of years ago LP and other music companies would produce training recordings where all players were top-notch and percussion was purposely left out, thereby allowing students to learn by playing along with the records. It was a training exercise. Unfortunately, to me that is what much of this otherwise tasteful and creative recording sounds like. To eliminate such important voices from Brazilian music in particular is like trying to play a chord with one finger.

Happily, Koorax has a very rich, earthy quality to her voice, allowing a sense of grounding to anchor the arrangements and the tight lock of the rhythm section is solid enough to lessen the size of the previously mentioned gaping hole in the sound.

Granted, this reviewer is a professional percussionist. In order to ensure the missing sound was not merely a personal bias, I played the recording without comment for a non-musician friend. She found the music to be pretty…but also felt something was missing although she wasn’t sure what.

Despite that perplexing reflection, this is an interesting project that expresses a love of Brazilian style Latin Jazz. Tender piano begins the first offering, Fotographia, before the velvety voice of Koorax enters. Her interpretation is moving, mature and sweet. There seems to be just a tiny bit more reverb effect on her voice than I am comfortable with. I wanted to hear her voice without any echo at all. Her vocal timbre is a nice match with the deep, spacious and rich tones of Schärli’s trumpet. Each musician’s phrasing envelops the other’s, evoking a haunting emotional power to this beloved Jobim composition.

In Sandalia Dela the trumpet carries the tune with a crisp, clear sound that contrasts the previous cut. As the vocals and rhythm section enter, the trumpet does a fantastic job of mimicking a cuica voice. Yes, I miss hearing an actual cuica here, but I thought this was a fun and playful choice. Mixing trumpet and vocals is not always easy and beautiful, but here it works. Hans-Peter Pfammatter delivers a fun piano solo in this arrangement that rides over a slightly dirty bass. I feel it would benefit this version to bring the vocals out over the instruments a little, yet it is a fun and energetic piece that all four musicians deliver well.

Septembro has a better balance between the levels of vocals and trumpet work, resulting in a more attractive blend. This allows a fuller appreciation of Koorax and Schärli’s intelligent and heartfelt interplay. Pfammatter delivers a lovely use of dynamics in the piano work in this piece.

Pfammatter composed the next cut, Wedileto, where the pitch skills and vocal control of Koorax are highlighted as she enters in concert with the trumpet. The vocals and trumpet use the same tones, an unusual choice.

The title cut, O Grande Amor, is a Jobim/Moraes tune which is beloved and has been covered by many artists around the globe. Here it is given a beautiful treatment with skillfully interpreted vocals by Koorax, strengthened even more by attentive piano accompaniment. With muted trumpet by Schärli and a cleaner, steady bottom bassline held up by Thomas Dűrst, this is the most elegant, lyrical piece on the recording.

The samba Deixa breaks the soulful mood with a lively, relaxed version of the Baden Powell/Vinicius de Moraes composition. It contains thoughtful trumpet work – but loses quite a bit of potential from the lack of percussion, despite the good lock of bass and piano. This is another tune where vocal and trumpet play with the same tones simultaneously.

Entering with vocals and bowed bass, Para Machucar Meu Coraçao brings in a haunting flavor before it moves into a steady, pretty version of this classic. The mix is improved in this cut, with the vocals and trumpet not competing as much when appearing together in the composition. The trumpet solo contains very thoughtful phrases, with the piano solo picking up on those and carrying it forward.

The final piece, Zum Zum begins with wild, outspoken sounds and at last works in some percussion from bass and piano as the musicians explore other parts of their instruments, hitting the soundboards and strings to create percussion. Overtones are allowed to ring freely, filling in space before the bass and piano fall into steady rhythm. Koorax’s delightful vocals fall in and pulling the tune together actually drive the piece forward while the trumpet lines soar above the rhythm and vocals.

Despite the glaring omittance of percussion, this CD has many outstanding moments and is an interesting project, especially for fans of the beauty of Koorax’s voice and phrasing.


1. Fotografia
2. Sandalia Dela
3. Setembro
4. Wedileto
5. O Grande Amor
6. Deixa
7. Para Machucar Meu Coraçao
8. Zum Zum


Ithamara Koorax, vocals
Hans-Peter Pfammatter, piano
Thomas Dűrst, bass
Peter Schärli, trumpet

Produced by TCB Music and Peter Schärli


Oscar Perez: "Afropean Affair" (Chandra 8094)

Oscar Perez: "Afropean Affair" (Chandra 8094)

by Janine Santana

Originally from Queens, pianist Oscar Perez studied both classical music and jazz. He focused on jazz because he was able to acquire more work in nightclubs than concert halls. Yet his classical music training comes through in his original compositions. The title work of the present recording, “Afropean Affair” is a commissioned suite from Chamber Music America which combines themes of the past, present and future of music from African, European and jazz sources.  While some of the press material claims that Perez is creating a new musical form, I hear this music as a continuation of the traditions that have made Latin jazz a vibrant part of the scene.

The first tune is titled “The Illusive Number”. Each instrumentalist introduces a new time signature into the piece. Despite these leaps, it is a cohesive piece where each variation in mood flows easily into the next. Greg Glassman presents a tasteful horn solo. The percussion section manned by Jerome Jennings’ drums and Emiliano Velario’s congas lock into each other exceptionally well. A well supported sax solo by Stacey Dillardflies freely before gliding back into a lock with the other players before diving into yet another time change. The conga solo is well executed, if a bit restrained. "Canariahas a military march in the introduction, then infuses the flavor of Spain with Perez on Fender Rhodes. Flugelhorn and rhythm section support the transition between the march and swing feel of this piece. Dillard’s sax enters the conversation with a soulful interpretation while the rhythm section supports beautifully with minimal accents. These musicians are well in tune with Perez’s ideas as they move right with him emotionally through the piano solo.

"A Brother’s Worldopens with lush piano. The piece is a warm tribute to Perez’s chosen band of brothers (and one sister) who interpret his music. There are sections in this piece where trumpet and sax ride the same tone. Sometimes this doesn’t work, but here I like it. Following the spacious and sweeping mood of that piece is the vibrant "Paths and Streams". The tune accurately captures the meandering and quick rhythmic flow of a woodland scene. The bass lines dance while firmly supporting a light and playful horn section.

The three movements of “The Afropean Suite” close out the disc. The opening movement is named “Cosas Lindas Que Viven Ahora” (which loosely translates as “pretty things that are living now”) and it has a pretty, delicate opening that falls into a strong, rhythmic flow. Charenee Wade provides a superb vocal. As the piece builds, the sax expertly pushes the energy still more forward. There is also strong and tasty conga work in Valerio’s solo. The second movement, “Last Season’s Sorrow” enters with shakers and rainsticks evoking a feeling of lament. The piano hints at the memories of the waltz influenced dansons of Cuba’s elegant past even as it flirts with the mingling of classical and jazz elements, eventually leaning heavily into the jazz influences. The combination of Wade’s vocals with the horn lines works very well and the piece includes a classy bass solo by Anthony Perez. The final movement, “A New Day Emerging” contains mesmerizing and driving Afro-Cuban percussion moving back and forth with fluid horn and vocal lines. Organic horn solos lift up the tune, driven again by a highly charged percussive drive.

I smiled as I listened to the close of the suite. I hear this music as the absorption of ancient ideas and rhythms being utilized to entice the progression of the music for this generation—just as it has always done.




Beny Moré: "Lo Mejor de Lo Mejor" (The Best of the Best) (BMG Mexico 72826)

Beny Moré: "Lo Mejor de Lo Mejor" (The Best of the Best) (BMG Mexico 72826)
                                                       by Janine Santana

“El Barbaro del Ritmo” was Beny Moré’s nickname, bestowed on him by a radio personality in Cuba. Intended in the most dynamic and positive way, it roughly translates as “The Wildman of Rhythm”. His given name is Bartolomé Maximillian Moré Guitierrez.  Born in Santa Isabel de las Lajas, Cuba, Moré was the eldest of a  large family. As a teen, he sang for tips in the hotels and clubs of Havana, before being hired as a replacement vocalist for the Cojunto Matamoros. At one point, when that group was on one of many tours to Mexico, Moré decided to stay in that country to perform and record for RCA with many of the celebrity dance orchestras there, including mambo innovator Perez Prado and Mariano Mercerón. He changed his name to Beny Moré when he discovered that his given name sounded like the Mexican slang for “burro or ass” (“bartolo”). I suppose any of us would have done the same! 

In the early 1950s, Moré returned home to Cuba where he formed his own big band. Although Moré did not read music and was not educated in a university, he had a brilliant mind for arrangement and composition. He created his music by singing all of the instrumental parts to his arrangers. Moré’s immense versatility extended to all types of Latin genres including son, bolero, guaracha, mambo, cha cha, guanguanco/rumba, and canción and he attracted outstanding musicians for his band. Moré died of cirrhosis of the liver in 1963. Happily, his legacy and skill for melding powerful African elements with refined European elements successfully has been saved in these recordings. 

Lo Mejor de Lo Mejor” is one of several RCA compilations of Moré’s recordings. The 40 tracks barely scratch the surface of Moré’s extensive career. Released in 1999, the quality of the recordings has been digitally cleaned up, revealing not just the beauty of the orchestras, but the beautiful timbre and range of Moré’s voice. Since he only recorded officially with RCA, we are lucky to have this piece of history. This is the beloved music of pre-Castro Cuba. 

While all 40 tracks are worth hearing, I will mention only a few favorites. The beautiful bolero “Cómo Fue” has been a consistent favorite of romantics for more than fifty years.. Moré’s voice is in top form on his hit, ”Bonito y Sabroso”.  I lament that I don’t know the names of the instrumentalists, but I can tell you the horns are tight! Sadly, these kinds of compilations typically do not include liner notes or personnel listings. “Rabo y Oreja” enters with a fiery horn section. Composed by Justi Barreto, Moré makes it his own. It contains an excellent piano solo on a less-than-excellent piano, but the skill (and patience) of the musician is appreciated. “Barbaro del Ritmo” was Moré’s theme song and while the composition is excellent, I suspect that he had enjoyed a few too many drinks at the session. Still, it fits the tune absolutely perfectly, and since it is his own story, I can accept the slight slurs. It is a good example of Moré’s vocal range and skills. I love the tune! I hate the fade they used to exit it! Finally, there is the wonderful “Sopa de Pichón”.  When I hear it, I remember the happy times I had as a child in our Brooklyn apartment, as my grandfather Manuel and I sang this tune. They don’t write or perform them like this anymore!