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Santa Monica Pier-latin Jazz, Mambo And Salsa!

by Ricky Ricardo (writer), Los Angeles, July 13, 2008

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The 24th Annual Twilight Dance Series presented by Amoeba Records returns to the Santa Monica Pier with an electic line-up of world music for the summer.

Santa Monica Pier-Latin Jazz, Mambo and Salsa!

            Santa Monica-Summer is finally here. That could only mean one thing. It’s time once again for the most highly anticipated outdoor concert series- Santa Monica Pier Twilight Dance Series presented by Amoeba Records on the Naked Juice Stage. Each summer the Santa Monica Pier Restoration Corporation takes visitors on the pier on a worldwide adventure with its elective line-up of internationally known musicians.

            Every Thursday, one can use their imagination to pretend that they are boarding a ship docked at the Santa Monica Pier. The pier set sail to many far-away lands that feature the best in eclectic and worldly rock, pop, jazz and blues. Our journey will last until August 28 when our ship drop anchor and docks in Jamaica with a closing concert featuring a full evening with Reggae pioneer Toots & The Maytals.

            Each journey/cruise must get under way with a celebration or a party if you will. The concert series (cruise) kicked off June 26 with an opening night dance party featuring L.A.’s favorite world beatniks- The Bonedaddy’s and Oakland-based soullective Crown City Rockers. The Bonedaddy’s have performed numerous times in the past in the 24 years of the Santa Monica Pier Twilight Dance Series. The Bonedaddy’s blend many genre’s of music into each show to provide infectious grooves to which culturally diverse crowds can dance to.

            Our cruise ship docked in Hawaii-July 3rd, for another entertaining evening featuring the sounds of “One Hawaii’ “I” with Keali’ I Reichel, Na Leo, and Weldon Kekauoha & Hula Halau. The 50th State celebrated Independence Day on the mainland with many people dressed in traditional Hawaiian attire.

            The next stop for your cruise was the enchanting island of Puerto Rico. All week long the weather experts stated that we were in for “Excessive heat watch.”  Oscar Hernandez and The Spanish Harlem Orchestra produced an “Excessive tropical heat wave” to set the perfect atmosphere for the evening. This tight group is led by Oscar Hernandez (piano, arranger, musical director and producer). They are the “World’s Hottest Salsa Dance Band.” They took the crowd of salseros on an adventurous roller coaster ride featuring material from their three critically acclaimed CD’s. Every CD was nominated for a Grammy Award. The latest being We Came To Swing released in 2007, Grammy Award winning CD Across 110th Street released in 2004 and their debut CD Un Gran Dia En El Barrio released in 2002. They elected not to have an opening band so as the give the crowd a solid two and half hours of music. They opened their set with “SHO Intro” this tunes is used by Oscar Hernandez to introduce the members of the band to the audience. The band followed “SHO Intro” with “Soy Candela” and “Plena Con Sabor.” They kept the bailadores (dancers) swirling and twirling on the imaginary dance floor to the pulsating sounds of cha cha cha, Latin jazz, mambo, rumba and salsa. There were other people on the pier (sand) dancing as well. The Spanish Harlem Orchestra is riding a tremendous wave of popularity that will last for a very long time. The SHO re-introduced the classic sounds of New York salsa to a new generation of music lovers worldwide. The sounds of the Spanish Harlem Orchestra brought back fond memories to the older generations with New York old school “Salsa Dura” (heavy salsa) while paying homage to the legacy of the legendary Manhattan’s Palladium Ballroom that featured bands of the BIG-3- Tito Puente, Tito Rodriguez and Machito back in the day. The Spanish Harlem Orchestra allowed me to imagine the energy felt in the grand ballroom of the Palladium.

            You still have time to come on aboard our ship if our journey has been exciting to you so far. We still have plans to visit Argentina, Dominica, Ghana, Italy and Zimbabwe and other exotic ports. When you have your passport, sunscreen and dance shoes in hand please visit www.twilightdance.org or call (310) 458-8900 for more information about the Santa Monica Pier Twilight Dance Series presented by Amoeba Records.

            Also, please be advised that parking is limited near the pier. If possible you can ride your bicycle to the pier or take public transportation. Buses arrive near the pier from various points North, East and South. Call (310) 451-5444 or visit www.bigbluebus.com for schedules for the Santa Monica Big Blue Bus or (213) 626-4455 or visit www.metro.net for routes and schedules for buses serving the Santa Monica Pier.

            The 24th Annual Twilight Dance Series presented by Amoeba Music on the Naked Juice Stage with additional sponsors- LAcarGuy, Laemmele Theatres, City TV16, City of Santa Monica, Epiphone, Loews-Santa Monica Beach Hotel, the Onion, Perry’s Time Warner Cable, Santa Monica Daily Press, Mountain Valley Spring Water, BIKE ATTACK, Indie 103.1, Mariasol-Cocina Mexicana, Southwest Airlines, Big Blue Bus and Arthouse Marketing Group.

            The concerts are produced by King & Company and the Santa Monica Pier Restoration Corporation. The poster was designed by Jeff Verges- www.electricsoap.com

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About the Writer

Ricky Ricardo is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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