When someone mentions the term “salsa,” often times the images that come to mind are of sensuous Puerto Rican or Cuban dancers weaving deftly around one another in the sultry Caribbean air, doing moves that we only wish we could do.
Musically, however, when we think of salsa music the sounds that we are most familiar with are the romantic voices of Latin superstars heard on MTV and pop radio stations.
While there are certainly plenty of good things about Ricky Martin, it’s hard to believe that the dancers mentioned above throw on “Shake Your Bon Bon” when they want to get down.
This Saturday we will have the opportunity to get better acquainted with more authentic salsa when the Barbary Coast Jazz Ensemble performs its traditional Winter Carnival concert with a focus on Latin music. The featured guest artist this term is salsa trombonist Jimmy Bosch who is, simply put, the real deal.
Bosch, one of the most highly respected Latin musicians in the world, will be attempting to introduce the Upper Valley to his version of the music, which he calls “salsa dura” (literally, hard salsa) as opposed to the “salsa monga” (limp salsa) often presented to the American pop audience. Salsa dura contains the passion and unremitting energy that made the music so famous for dancing in the first place.
Although the Puerto Rican descended trombonist has worked with a vast array of Latin jazz legends (Tito Puente, Cachao, Chucho Valdes, and Eddie Palmieri, just to name a few) his primary interest has always been in creating music for dancers.
“The focus of my commitment has always been the dancer and from that everything evolves and revolves,” said Bosch.
Bosch’s music, then, presents a rich mix of vocals, improvised melodies and grooves that envelope the listener and inspires one’s hips to move of their own accord.
His ability to make people get up and dance has not been lost on the music industry, for Bosch has also served as pop icon Marc Anthony’s musical director.
Ultimately his goal is always to create “hot Latin music for the soul and to have fun with on the dance floor.”
This Saturday Bosch will solo and conduct as the Barbary Coast plays music from his two most recent CDs, “Soneando Trombon” and “Salsa Dura,” the latter of which was widely considered to be the best real salsa release of 1999.
As an added bonus, the concert celebrates director Don Glasgo’s 25th year as head of the ensemble.
The Barbary Coast is one of the country’s oldest and most renowned college jazz groups, having performed with literally hundreds of jazz’s most influential figures over the last 75 years.
Other guest artists include timbale player Marcus Copening and conga player Steve Ferraris, both professional musicians working throughout the Northeast.
The concert will also feature this year’s impressive crop of freshmen musicians, many of whom already occupy the first chairs in their respective instrument sections.
For those who have seen the Barbary Coast before, this Saturday will most likely be the last performance of vocalist Sarah London ’01, a perennial favorite with the audience.
Tickets for Saturday’s concert at 8 p.m. in Spaulding Auditorium are available at the Hopkins Center Box Office. Dancers are welcome.