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Salsamba Revs it Up as Featured Players at Summer’s Best 6/26/10

Posted by Pat Baxter on 06/29 at 10:42 AM

Listen to Salsamba

Summer’s Best Music Fest concluded on a high note with Pittsburgh-based Salsamba, the featured band of the evening. The audience was treated to high-quality jazz music that you could really groove to.

Frontman and co-leader George Jones, on congas, described the band as Latin Jazz, “which means you have to move a little bit.” Indeed the Latin/Salsa element was present throughout, but it was a smoother, cooler brand than what’s more commonly seen in such high octane performers as Tito Puente or Dizzy Gillespie-inspired Afro-Cuban jazz bands.

The band members brought their chops with them featuring co-leader Eric Susoeff on guitar and Eric Defade on saxophone and flute. Susoeff, well-respected throughout Pittsburgh, brought a fresh sound to the guitar with a Pat Methany-like edge to his phrasing. Defade succeeded on both tenor and soprano sax displaying a polished technique reminiscent of a 1970s Wayne Shorter, and at times a post-Miles Coltrane. On bass was the highly sought after Paul Thompson, who was solid and virtuosic in his playing. Tom Wendt was on drum kit and was a perfect complement to Jone’s congas, settling down in the pocket with ease.

A high point in the set was the Latin version of Wayne Shorter’s Juju. The rendition inspired several audience members to get up and dance. The band was more than willing to accommodate as they went into an impromptu percussion salsa jam to segue to the next number.

The audience remained enthused throughout the concert as the evening passed through dusk, and the music created a fitting ambiance to the summer night sky. All in all it was a treat to see the fine musicianship and polished rhythms of Salsamba. They were a great band to conclude with, wrapping up a successful Summer’s Best Music Fest.

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{name} Author: Pat Baxter
Bio: A native of Pittsburgh, Pat Baxter is now working for WPSU/Penn State Public Broadcasting in video on-demand and multi-media. He enjoys playing guitar and bass, listening to music and watching films. He likes listening to grunge/alternative rock, experimental and prog rock, and jazz/fusion. His favorite rock bands include the Smashing Pumpkins (1990s era), David Bowie, Talking Heads, King Crimson, Buckethead, Frank Zappa, Mars Volta, David Torn, and the Cure.

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