Gary Flores, a native of San Francisco, California. Born and raised in the Excelsior District (Outer Mission District). I started playing the Trumpet in 1972 at the age of 19. In 1973, I joined a neighborhood Latin Rock band called CafÃ©. In 1974, I joined the great Ritmo 74, which was a very serious and organized band. Ritmo 74 played at all the Big Salsa Shows in the Bay Area featuring the greatest latin bands from New York and Puerto Rico. We performed with Willie Colon with Hector LaVoe, Grand Combo, Bobby Valentine, Ismael Quintana, Ismael Miranda, Eddie Palmieri with Lalo Rodriguez, Papo Lucca and Sonora Poncena, Larry Harlow, Johnny Pacheco,Celia Cruz, Cheo Feliciano and many others. In 1976, I started a new band called Salsa Caliente. In 1982 I moved to playing piano with the group. Salsa Caliente performed together for about twenty years and was considered the best Salsa Group in the Bay Area; unfortunately to my regret, we never recorded. Many great Musicians came through the Salsa Caliente such as Richard Kermode (Janis Joplin, Malo, Santana), and Luis Gasca (Santana, Malo, Maynard Ferguson, Mongo Santamaria Woody Herman and many others.) Many great local musicians came in and out of Salsa Caliente and are successful band leaders of their own now. After Salsa Caliente, I started a latin jazz group called "Caliente 2000" where I enjoyed the freedom, individuality and creativity of improvising with this group. The musicians are featured which was very refreshing after backing up singers all the time and the group was smaller. I always loved the Great Jazz Musicians who mastered their instruments and improvised so well like Freddie Hubbard, Woody Shaw, Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, McCoy Tyner, and Dexter Gordon to name a few. So I am attempting to following that path, but with a Latin feel. My major musical influences besides the names just mentioned have been Luis Gasca, Luis "Perico" Ortiz, Richard Kermode, Papo Lucca and many more.
I have spent most of my career playing in live situations and recording here and there for others. This project is a truly "A New Beginning" for me, as it is a different world playing in a recording studio instead of a live audience. This recording is mostly my own material, therefore "A New Beginning" for me. I hope you like it and come and see us some time.
I would like to thank the following musicians for being part of this project and my musical journey:
Jorge Pomar on Electric and Fretless Bass. Jorge is funky, lays down a solid foundation, on the money and very creative
Karl Perazzo on Timbales, Bongo, Cow-Bell and Guiro. Karl has been playing with me and "Salsa Caliente"since he was about 14 and still does! Has been playing with Carlos Santana's band for over 10 years and has his own Salsa band called "Avance". Karl went the extra mile and is always about the music. Karl plays all percussion and is a virtuoso and world class! Karl is a native San Franciscan and always cooking whenever he plays.
Oscar Soltero on Congas, Bongo, and Cow-Bell. Oscar has played with "Salsa Caliente" and I for many years. We became brothers in the process. Oscar is in the pocket and grooving at all times. Oscar generously gave himself to the project and the results speak for themselves.
David Flores on Drum set. David and I met on this project. He never rehearsed but, just came in the studio with his ears open and did his thing. David plays around the Bay Area with everyone including the great "QBA"
Mike Olmos on Trumpet. Mike is an incredible Trumpet player and young! Not even 25 yet. Mike is always playing his ass off and going places. Audiences stop whatever they are doing and are amazed. Mike is a real treat to play with and listen to. Mike is deeply rooted in straight ahead Jazz but, equally at home with the Afro Cuban music and may other styles.
Al Bent on Trombone is not only a great player but, one of the best arranger around. Al has written most of the arrangement for "Salas Caliente" over the years and has been a big help on this project.
Charlie McCarthy on Tenor Sax and Flute plays some of the best solos on this project. Charlie thanks for the help in the studio, with my compositions, with my playing and being a part of this.
Peter Horvath was a special invited soloist and world class pianist. He plays electric piano solos on "Teresita" and "You Don't know What Love Is." Peter is my favorite piano player and good friend. Check out his tasty solos!
Kenny Washington sings lead vocals on two selections "You Don't Know What Love Is" and "Just The Two Of Us". Man, what a great voice and treasure. Another world class musician and world class person!
Carlos Ramirez sings lead vocals on the first Track (Descarga Caliente). Carlos did me a favor and came into the studio on the last day of recording and mixing we were out of time. He had a half and hour to do his singing and did his thing. He actually ran in and ran out. Smooth voice. Check him out!
Carlos Godinez came in with his beautiful Daughter Brisa at his side and sang some background vocals on "Just The Two OF Us" and Brazil Avenue. Carlos and I have performed together since the 70's. A true Brother and great talent!
Danilo Paiz came in and sang coro to " Descarga Caliente" . He is one the best percussionist in the Bay Area and has toured with Ruben Blades group for over a two years. Has his own band "Orquesta Universal" and performs locally.
With Love Peace and Happiness
GARY FLORES AND DESCARGA CALIENTE SONG LIST
1. Descarga Caliente: A fast Descarga (Jam Tune) written as an introduction tune by Gary. The song features all band members with an introduction solo by Karl Perazzo and concluded by Oscar Soltero.
2. San Francisco Blues: An original Cha Cha/Blues featuring Charlie McCarthy, Al Bent, Mike Olmos and Gary Flores. It was the first tune recorded in the studio and felt good.
3. A New Beginning (Title Track): An Original song featuring Mike Olmos, Al Bent, Jorge Pomar, and Gary Flores.
4. Just The Two of Us: An innovative Latin twist of the original song featuring Kenny Washington a world class singer and a pleasure to work with.
5. Teresita: This song was written for Gary's daughter, Teresita Marie who was born in San Francisco on November 26, 1981 Thanksgiving Day. She was and still is a great gift in Gary's life. The song features Charlie McCarthy, Al Bent, and Peter Horvath.
6: Hanging With Sachiko: An Original based on a 16-Bar Blues with a few twist and turns and dedicated to my soul mate, who I love to hang with. Featuring solos by Mike Olmos and Gary Flores on Sax and Piano.
7. You Don't Know What Love Is: This song was played with Gary's salsa band, "Salsa Caliente". Al Bent wrote the arrangement and Angelo Pagan sang it at the gigs. This song captures Kenny's amazing talent along with an artistic solo by Peter Horvath.
8. Song For My Mother: Everyone knows the "Song For My Father," so Gary wrote a "Song for my Mother." Gary's mother, Estela (Stella) is the truly a fabulous lady. Everyone who meets her loves her and this song is an adoring tribute to her and all of her love and support over the years.
9. Brazil Avenue: Gary was born and raised at 735 Brazil Avenue in the Excelsior District of San Francisco, a place that holds Gary's childhood memories. This song is dedicated to his memories there, the neighborhood and his Father, "Willie."