San Jose Jazz Summer Fest: Latin star Doug Beavers pays tribute to salsa legend

Salsa fans need no introduction to vocalist Cheo Feliciano, the great sonero who rivaled Fania labelmates Ruben Blades, Héctor Lavoe and Adalberto Santiago as the genre’s definitive voice of the 1970s. But East Bay-reared trombonist, arranger and producer Doug Beavers wants to introduce his music to the uninitiated as well as celebrate his legacy among fellow Feliciano aficionados, and he figured there was no better place than San Jose Jazz’s Summer Fest.

“They are the largest presenter of salsa and supporters of Latin music in the country,” said Beavers, who brings the Feliciano tribute to Summer Fest’s Salsa Stage on Saturday afternoon. “I haven’t been to another festival that has a stage dedicated to a dozen salsa bands. I haven’t seen that anywhere.”

A Latin music heavyweight who has earned Grammy Awards for his work with the Spanish Harlem Orchestra and Latin music legend Eddie Palmieri, Beavers first presented the tribute to Feliciano last May in Manhattan’s Bryant Park, “and it was a smash,” he said from his home in New York City.

“People loved the music. Thinking about my Bay Area roots, I figured there are not a lot of shows like this out there, tributes to a legend of the music. Rather than just presenting my band at Summer Fest, I wanted to step it up a level.”

Born in Puerto Rico, Feliciano was in his late teens when his family moved to Spanish Harlem in 1952. Trained as a percussionist, he got early exposure playing congas with popular Latin orchestra leader Tito Rodriguez but came into his own as a vocalist when Rodriguez recommended him for conguero Joe Cuba’s sextet.

With his suave baritone and exceptional skills as an improviser, Feliciano quickly gained a large popular following, recording prolifically with Cuba from 1957-67. A two-year stint with Eddie Palmieri produced some …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


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