Summer music: Bill Caballero’s Latin Jazz Jam is made to last
In our next installment of the KPBS 2021 Summer Music Series, we welcome a musician who has been rocking Barrio Logan in music for over 17 years.
Hosted by trumpeter Bill Caballero, the weekly Latin Jazz Jam brings together people from all over San Diego to enjoy live music. Each performance is unique, with an endless roster of seasoned and novice musicians performing together on the same stage.
And it is with this welcoming approach that Bill Caballero has created a space for the community that is built to last – a place for people of all ages to come together at Barrio Logan and experience the joy of music.
“Everyone is happy with the jam. They can expect to see seasoned musicians, then they support less experienced musicians a lot. Every jam is different. I never know what’s going to happen or how it’s going to be, but at the end of the day, it’s still pretty cool, âCallabero said.
âIt started with Brent Beltran, a good friend of mine, who pestered me for a year to get it started,â Callabero said. âI didn’t want to do it because jam sessions tend to have a short lifespan. People are all excited and then three weeks later if it’s not packed they close it. And I knew that. if I did, I was going to commit to it because I didn’t want to stop. “
He was finally convinced, and almost eighteen years later, he is still there.
“I always do, just out of stubbornness,” Callabero joked.
Players of all levels
âMy jam is inclusive, not exclusive. At my jam, I feel like it’s a place where everyone is equal,â Callabero said. “As my professor at the university told me, everyone has their voice. I like it.”
Callabero said one of the perks of working with beginners is watching them grow. Some of the younger players will return later, such as the Whalers’ Omar Lopez.
And making a performance fun and enjoyable for the audience is also important to Callabero. Everything is going well on stage because Caballero’s backing group is full of seasoned performers.
âThey know what they’re doing, so they support those who don’t quite know what they’re doing. My guys take care of it. They make sure the song gets through,â Caballero said.
“The gang don’t lie”
Quintento Caballero is the Caballero quintet, which presents its trumpet and bugle at the helm, surrounded by lively performers such as Ignacio Arrango on guitar, Omar Lopez on bass, Giancarlo Anderson on timpani and David Castaneda on congas.
Callabero makes a living with music, but focuses on performance, not recording music.
âIt’s not a great life, but I do what I want to do, and it seems like when you start to go into business it loses some of its fun,â he said.
âFunky Riverâ was recorded by San Diego band Sure Fire Soul Ensemble, which recently won a San Diego Music Award.
âAs much as possible, like when I was playing Border X and various other places, I like the closeness of the group to be as close to the people as possible. There is energy coming and going,â a said Callabero. “When you record, I really respect people who record because you’re in an empty room and trying to recreate what you’re doing live, in an empty room.”
Life of sessions
Callabero has also performed as a session musician when large groups come to town. Including in the brass section for the Temptations, Natalie Coal, Martha Reeves and the Vandellas and more.
He also worked with the San Diego Opera on their “Words and Songs” program, bringing together young musicians from different neighborhoods.
“I take pleasure in the children. They are really good,” he said.
âWachi Wadaâ is a standard in a subset of Latin jazz, or what Caballero called âhomie jazz,â which mixes oldies and Chicano-style music with Latin jazz.
“‘[Wachi Wada]’has nice lines, and it only has one chord. So God, anyone can play that song. ”
And it is this spirit that immerses performers of all levels in a lasting local jazz tradition. Something affordable, unpretentious, but still entertaining and ultimately cool.
Bill Caballero’s Latin Jazz Jam takes place every Thursday from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Hott Mess Woodfired Pizza at Barrio Logan in the Thorn Street Brewery complex.
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