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JORGE SANTANA
Jorge Santana

Jorge Santana

Born in Autlan, Jalisco, Mexico, Jorge Santana is the youngest of the three brothers and the second after Carlos to pick up the guitar. Being a part of a musical family and having his ear constantly exposed to music was a definite influence, and Jorge was inspired by the musical activity in the household. However, Jorge hadn't had formal music instruction when he started playing the guitar at age 14 in San Francisco.

At first, Jorge was drawn to the sounds and rhythms of the blues and Carlos' interpretations of that style of music. In fact, he credits Carlos for introducing him to a wide range of music, musical styles, personalities and experiences.

By the late 60's and while still in high school, Jorge was playing with a four piece blues band in local San Francisco clubs. He was asked to join a band called THE MALIBUS'S, a nine-piece R & B group with horns. After a steady club gig which helped the band refine their sound, they changed their name to MALO. And, as part of the active scene in San Francisco in the early 70’s, the band was signed by Warner Brothers.

The group released four albums, with the self-titled debut album their biggest, driven by the single, "Suavecito." By 1974, when the last MALO album was released, Jorge had found a comfortable identity as a career musician and was involved in all aspects of music.

On his own in 1974, Jorge appeared as a special guest with the FANIA ALL STARS in a concert held at Madison Square Garden in New York City. This performance has been released as both a video and CD on the Fania label.

After that show, Jorge moved to Mill Valley, California, and devoted his time exclusively to a personal exploration of music. Between 1975 and 1977, when he started putting a new band together, Jorge did little but play the guitar.

That period led to his first solo project for Tomato Records. Titled "Jorge Santana", the album featured his own songs and arrangements. It was produced by Tony Bongiovi of the Power Station in New York and mixed by Bob Clearmountain. The album was well-produced and had a good selection of songs - all in all, a very commercial album.

That album was followed by "It's All About Love", which was produced by Allen Toussaint. His involvement with the two albums kept Jorge busy until 1982, but lacking a good agent and proper management, he decided to take a year's vacation. But, the year hadn't passed before he ended up getting married and moving to Walnut Creek, where he and his wife started a family.

The one year turned out to be seven, during which time Jorge even had a job outside of music. But then, in 1989, Carlos asked Jorge to join the team at Santana Management. He was put in charge of artist relations and his skills and experience led to his involvement in production, music clearances, publishing and a number of other responsibilities and eventually got him on the road with the Santana band.

It was while on the road and as Jorge performed with the band on various dates that the idea for the "Brothers" album came up. Jorge has taken an active role on the album, writing, arranging and producing both his own songs and collaborating with Carlos (and nephew Carlos Hernandez) on others.

The experience with the "Brothers" album has given Jorge additional inspiration to continue his own musical career. Currently, Jorge Santana continues to live in the Bay Area.


Aki Starr

From the streets of his native San Francisco to the steps of Rome to one step away from God performing for the Pope, Aki Starr is an internationally acclaimed pop singer, songwriter and producer. He is also an accomplished actor and model making him a 5-star threat.

Starr has a pulse for what is happening inpopular culture and music with his chart-climbing Billboard singles. His songs are played on the radio, in clubs and hot spots globally. Starr's songs reign on top 10 dance, club and EDM (electronic dance music) charts, making him one of the most relevant singers today. His current hit, "The Closer I Get To You," has been featured in iTunes as "New and Noteworthy," with its high-energy dance mix and dubstep beat. It has also been featured on MTV's "Sway Universe" as a top music video and praised by industry music veterans and dozens of music blogs and magazines. Starr's musical accomplishments have taken him from the dance floor to the homes of millions, writing hits for popular TV shows "Knock First," Jake 2.0," "Malcolm in the Middle," "Desperate Housewives," and others.

Every generation has an artist that represents them whether it be "The King" Elvis Presley, "King of Hearts" Frank Sinatra, or "King of Pop" Michael Jackson. Starr is an artist that also transcends time with his soulful voice and ability to continuously create and lead pop music trends. Starr has performed with world-class musicians including Malo and Jorge Santana. During the height of the Freestyle musical era, he was a singer with the Warner Bros group Spanish Fly. The group's hits included "Daddy's Home" and "Crimson and Clover," both of which charted on Billboard's top 100 songs in the country in 1995, and these legendary singles "Treasure Of My Heart," "Visions," "I Can See," "One Last Try," and "Who You Loving Tonight." As a result of Spanish Fly's contributions to the Freestyle Era, San Jose, California was not only known as the tech capital of the world, but the Freestyle capital of the country during that time. Additionally, Starr is a member of the world renowned Renegade Rockers break dance crew, known for their explosive and athletic performances internationally.

Starr is electric on stage. He is a master at connecting with the audience and brings them into the world of music, moving them beyond the beat to absorb every note of the song. His global tour is underway, so get your dancing shoes ready, because Aki Starr will rock you unlike any live performer today.

This is what the industry is saying about Starr:

"Aki, love the video! You got the voice and soul in you to make it real. Go for it!"
Jorge Santana, one of the founding members of the legendary band Malo, famous for their hit song, "Suavecito."

"Dance music lovers: if you like dance music, check out my homie Aki Starr!"
Sway Calloway, MTV News anchor, personality

"Congrats to Aki on the the hot new song!"
King Tech, host of The Wake Up Show

"The Clsoer I Get To You — best-kept secret electro mix. Super cool. Amazing remix and video."
Stevie B, Singer/songwriter and king of freestyle

"After seeing and hearing Aki perform the song at WMC this year, I wanted a shot at taking such a great performance to another level."
Guiseppe D, Grammy® Award-winning producer


Silvestre Martinez

Silvestre Martinez was born in Puerto Angel, Oaxaca, Mexico. He grew up in a large family of musicians, who played chilena, merequetengue and charanga music, which is Afro-­‐Mexican music from the coast.

When Silvestre was very young, he would often attend concerts with his father, who played congas in the band, Los Angeles del Puerto. Silvestre would sit backstage and absorb the rhythms of the coast, and by age 10, he began performing and recording with his father's band. At age 15, Silvestre moved to Oaxaca City to study percussion. One of his first teachers, a Latin percussionist exposed Silvestre to the world of Latin Jazz. There he discovered the recordings and was inspired by musicians such as Giovanni Hildalgo, Poncho Sanchez, Mongo Santamaria and Ray Barreto. He developed a reputation in Oaxaca for being an excellent percussionist, and worked with many salsa bands.

In 1999, Silvestre was invited to live and perform in Bali, Indonesia, where he played salsa, Latin jazz and world music. Silvestre continued to travel and perform in various countries in Europe and Asia. Once Silvestre returned to Mexico, he traveled to Cuba to deepen his understanding of the roots of Afro-­‐Cuban music.

Silvestre's ultimate dream was to play percussion in the United States, and his dream became realized with he moved to the Bay Area in 2002 and began performing with legendary Latin jazz musicians such as Louie Romero (percussionist, Fania All Stars and Mazacote), Jerry Gonzalez (the fort apache band,. los comandos de la clave), larry Harlow (el Judio Maravilloso). Paquito D' Rivera, Oscar Stagnaro, Karl Perazzo (percussionist, Santana), Orestes Vilato (Fania All Stars)(Cachao)(John Santos), Coto Pincheira (Modern Sound Project) and Jorge Santana (Malo), as well as many other bands who played various types of music from Latin America.

About the CD, Heritage:
Silvestre Martinez debuts his new Latin jazz project with his album, Heritage. The rhythms of the coast of Oaxaca, combined with Afro-­‐Cuban rhythms and Silvestre's unique, modern Latin jazz sound makes Heritage a truly an exciting new sound. Heritage features seasoned Latin Jazz musicians including Grammy nominated pianist Hector Martignon and three time Grammy Award winner, drummer Antonio Sanchez. Silvestre also teamed up with Bay Area Latin Jazz musicians, including Sam Bevan (bass), Sheldon Brown (saxophone), Erik Jekabson (trumpet), Eric Crystal (saxophone), Coto Pincheira (piano), Alan Hall (drum) and Colin Douglas (drums).

www.silvestremartinez.com


Brian Andres

"Like many other drummers, from an early age, I found myself beating out rhythms on any stationary object. The desire to create sound, and find rhythm urged me to fill space and silence. I found the perfect voice for myself when I first sat behind a drum set. I believe it is the drum that chooses us."

Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, into a family of professional musicians, it is no surprise that Brian found himself drawn to the origin of all music: rhythm. His father is a woodwinds specialist and his mother a vocalist and pianist. The house was filled with the sounds of his father's constant practicing and his mother's piano and voice students.

After nearly being put up for adoption due to his constant banging on inanimate objects, his parents decided to embrace their obstreperous son's undeniable talent by purchasing him a drum set and themselves earplugs. There was no turning back for Brian. At the age of nineteen, armed with years of daily practice and countless lessons, Brian began playing professionally. The next ten years found him performing all over the Midwest and upand down the East Coast in musical groups as diverse as Rock, Jazz, Big Band, R & B, German Traditional, Blues and Afro-Caribbean.

While living in the Midwest, Brian's diverse range of styles led him to performances with Rock and Roll Hall of Fame members Little Anthony and the Imperials, as well as Tony Award winner and Broadway star Faith Prince. Brian has also shared the stage with such artists as Leroy "Sugar" Bonner from The Ohio Players, blues greats Sam Myers and Lonnie Mack, and television and movie star Woody Harrelson.

Brian's growing interest in Latin music and culture brought him to the San Francisco Bay Area in early 1999. HE quickly began working with numerous local Salsa, Afro-Cuban, Latin funk, Latin jazz and Tex-Mex groups. In 2000, Brian was asked to join the band of San Francisco Bay Area icon, Dr. Loco. Brian continues to perform with him in both The Rockin' Jalepeno Band and Los Tiburones Del Norte. Through working with Dr. Loco, Brian was asked to record the original music soundtrack for the critically-acclaimed Robert M. Young film Alambrista: Director's Cut, along with Grammy-nominated producer and musician Greg Landau. Brian has also performed with "The Father of Chicano Music" and National Medal of Arts recipient Lalo Guerrero, prior to his passing. While continuing to reside in the Bay Area, Brian has performed with such notable San Francisco musicians as multi-instrumentalist John Calloway and guitarist Ray Obiedo, and has recently been invited to join guitarist Jorge Santana's (Malo) band. He has also performed with East Coast Bachata artists Bautista and Frankely on their West Coast performances.

In 2007, after spending his career as a sideman learning and honing his craft, Brian stepped into the role as bandleader. The San Francisco Bay Area was introduced to The Afro Cuban Jazz Cartel. Featuring the most sought-after musicians the Bay Area has to offer, the group continues the rich heritage of San Franciso Bay Area Latin jazz. Incorporating the rich harmonic and improvisational elements of jazz with the irresistible rhythms fro mthe Caribbean to form "the perfect combination," the ACJC has become one of the top Latin jazz groups in the Bay Area. With the release of their debut CD, Drummers Speak on Bacalao Records, and their most recent 2013 recording San Francisco, they have made a name for themselves, performing regularly in the Bay Area and touring the Midwest.

Whether as a bandleader or a sideman, Brian continues to perform at a high level, always welcoming new opportunities for expression and creativity while maintaining the protocol of a professional artist.


Kevin Wong

Known for being an exceptional talent and a highly versatile musician, Kevin Wong has been performing professionally for 12 years and continues to be one of the hardest-working musicians in the San Francisco Bay Area. Born with perfect pitch, Kevin began playing piano at the age of 4, gave his first public performance when he was 5, and wrote his first composition at the age of 6. After experimenting with the clarinet, saxophone, tuba and trombone in elementary school through high school, Kevin decided to return to the piano and saxophone in college, where he went on to study Computer Science at Cal Poly and graduated from San Francisco State University as a Music Major with a BA in Jazz Performance.

One day when he was 20 years old, his musical direction changed forever when he saw the organist Neal Evans perform with his trio Soulive for the very first time. Enamored with the sound of the spinning Leslie speaker, the virtually unlimited palette of tone colors the drawbars provided, and Neal's ability to hold down a solid bass line while soloing with his right hand, Kevin began working on his left hand independence, put together an organ trio, and immediately started gigging. "There was this one time where I sat down on my friend's Hammond Organ for several hours and just played nonstop. I couldn't get enough of it. It was that very moment when I realized I had found my calling."

Well versed in Jazz, Blues, Funk, Soul and Gospel, Kevin is not only an organist, pianist and saxophonist, but also a composer/arranger, mixing engineer/produer, and band manager/bandleader for his organ trio Kevin Wong & the BASSment, who recently headlined at Yoshi's Oakland and released a critically acclaimed album entitled "Movin' Air" featuring all original material. He is well known in the Gospel community having played organ for numerous churches, and is currently the musical director and organist for St. James A.M.E. Zion Church in San Mateo as well as the organist and horn arranger for the San Francisco State University Gospel Choir.


Gary Flores

A native of San Francisco, California, born and raised in the Excelsior (Outer Mission) District. In 1973, I joined a neighborhood Latin Rock band called Café. In 1974, I joined the great Ritmo 74, which was a very serious and organized band. Ritmo 74 played at all the big salsa shows in the Bay Area, featuring the greatest Latin bands from New York and Puerto Rico. We performaed with Willie Colon with Hector LaVoe, Grand Combo, Buddy Valentine, Ismael Quintana, Ismael Miranda, Eddie Palmieri with Lalo Rodriguez, Papo Lucca and Sonor aPoncena, Larry Hadlow, Johnny Pacheco, Celia Cruz, Cheo Feliciano and many others.

In 1976, I started a new band called Salsa Caliente. In 1982 I moved to playing piano with the group. Salsa Caliente performed together for about twenty years and was considered the best Salsa group in the Bay Area; unfortunately, to my regred, we never recorded. Many great musicians came through Salsa Caliente, such as Richard Kermode (Janis Joplin, Malo, Santana), and Luis Gasca (Santana, Malo, Maynard Ferguson, Mongo Santamaria, Woody Herman and many others). Many great local musicians came in and out of Salsa Caliente and are successful band leaders of their own now.

After Salsa Caliente, I started a Latin jazz group called Caliente 2000, where I enjoyed the freedom, individuality and creativitity of improvising with this group. The musicians are featured which was very refreshing after backing up singers all the time and the group was smaller. I always loved the great jazz musicians who mastered their instruments and improvised so well, like Freddie Hubbard, Woody Shaw, Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, McCoy Tyner and Dexter Gordon, to name a few. So I am attempting to fllowin that path, but with a Latin feel. My major musical influences besides the names just mentioned have been Luis Gasca, Luis "Perico" Ortiz, Richard Kermode, Papo Lucca and many more.

I have spent most of my career playing in live situations and recording here and there for others. This project is truly "A New Beginning" for me, as it is a different world playing in a recording studio instead of in front of a live audience. This recording is mostly my own material; therefore "A New Beginning" for me. I hope you like it and come to see us some time.

With Love, Peace and Happiness,
Gary Flores