The crowd at the High Noon Saloon dances to the Tony Castañeda Latin Jazz Sextet at their CD release show on Saturday night.
"The lead dude on the congas looks like the happy guy who owns the cabana in old Bogart and Hepburn movies; the one who's all 'Hey, how you doing!'" a friend said to me Saturday night at the CD release party for the Tony Castañeda Latin Jazz Sextet at the High Noon Saloon.
"That's the band leader," I told him.
"Ah! I like him!" he replied jovially.
And so did the rest of the crowd. Half of those in the High Noon were on their feet in front of the stage, dancing with lovers and whispering praises in non-English tongues. I was expecting Patrick Swayze or Antonio Banderas to show up. They might have but I was too preoccupied with grooving in my seat to the Latin rhythms!
The Tony Castañeda Latin Jazz Sextet (plus Nic Cowles guesting on flute) were in high spirits to release their newest record, Cha Cha O Muerte. They bring a little bit of tangelo scented heat to Madison through their traditional blend of congas, keyboards, trumpet, flute, saxophone, upright bass, timbales, and myriad small hand percussion. Tony's band is a nice departure from the rock/country/blues acts that form much of this area's scene.
Sticking with the tried and true Latin jazz formats seems to work for the band, which was more classic than the fabulous, experimental "Los" El Donk, the show's second opening act. While some of the down tempo tunes were indiscernible from those off an Eddie Palmieri or Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass album, their mambo was fiery hot, and their Tito Puente cover was dripping with lively sensuality. I can't wait to be warmed by this band in the cooler months.