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Los Jazz Vatos El Jefe

By Richard Ludmerer
In CD Reviews INDIE Blues
Mar 24th, 2016


Los Jazz Vatos

El Jefe

Lounge Side Records

Los Jazz Vatos is the brainchild of Ernie Durawa. Durawa was born in San Antonio but lives in Austin. As a drummer Durawa possesses a unique ability to totally transcend stylistic barriers. Durawa has performed with Charlie Byrd, Larry Coryell, Herb Ellis, Townes Van Zandt, and Willie Nelson. Durawa was also drummer and bandleader for Delbert McClinton. Durawa however is best known for his work with both The Sir Douglas Quintet and The Texas Tornados. He appears on The Texas Tornado’s “Live from Austin, Tx” cd and on their country singles including “Does Anybody Know the Way to San Antonio” for which he won a Grammy. Durawa also plays with Johnny Nicholas’ Texas All-Stars.

Los Jazz Vatos (The Jazz Dudes) were formed in 2000. They play Latin Jazz the way they do down in Austin. The band consists of Jimmy Shortell, trumpet, flugelhorn, and accordion; Freddie Mendoza, trombone; Steven Vague, tenor saxophone; Terry Bowness, keyboards; Brad Taylor, bass; and Durawa, drums. Guest musicians include Mark Rubenstein, piano; Jose Galeano, percussion, and Rick McRae, guitar.

Mendoza has played with Dizzy Gillespie, Clark Terry, Wynton Marsalis and many others. Mendoza, who also currently plays with The Heartland Big Band is the primary composer. The title track opens with Durawa’s drums and Galeano’s percussion. Shortell’s trumpet establishes the infectious melody. It is followed by impressive solos from Vague on sax, Mendoza on trombone and Rubenstein on piano. Mendoza has also written three other compositions “6th Street Messin Round”; “Melissa”; and the closer “Jay Jay Blues”. Mendoza has also re-arranged Herbie Hancock’s “Isla De Cantaloupo”; George Cables “I Told You So” and Arturo Sandoval’s “Conjunto”.

Each of the other participants are veterans of their respected instruments. This is happy and exciting music the kind that seems to emanate primarily from Austin or New Orleans.

Margaritas any one?

Richard Ludmerer



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