Rob Espino y sus amigos de Nueva Orleans
By Geraldine Wyckoff
The title of the album and name of the band tell the story. Sousaphonist Rob Espino gathered many of his brassy and rhythmic friends and music mates for an album that rings as a labor of love. The album sounds a post-Katrina note when it opens with a spoken tribute to New Orleans that is reverently backed by a melodic lament shaded with a hint of “When the Saints Go Marching In.” An instrumental version of the mournful, yet beautiful memoriam, which is performed simply by Espino, trumpeter Leroy Jones and trombonist Craig Klein, thoughtfully closes the disc. In between, troubles are left behind and the music of the city—brass band, Latin, R&B and traditional jazz—prevails. The original material with south of the border beats seems best suited to this group. With the team of Kerry “Fat Man” Hunter and bass drummer Cayetano “Tanio” Hingle onboard, the ensemble was assured of a solid foundation whatever the call. The duo are right at home second-lining on Espino's “Caution,” and “Watch Out for Them Potholes” is a fine addition to the modern brass band songbook. Rob Espino y sus amigos de Nueva Orleans is about more than music; its all about New Orleans and amigos.
Rob Espino began his interest in music at the age of 12 where he joined the local JR High band in Kingsville, TX and attended H. M. King High School where he studied under Mr. Fred Obert and Mr. Ronnie Rios of Alice, TX. Rob's professional career started in 1989 when he started playing violin with several Mariachi Groups from South Texas. His musical experience expanded in 1994 when he joined the “The Commandant's Own” The United States Marine Drum and Bugle Corps, the only Active Military Drum and Bugle Corps in existence today, in Washington, D.C. There he performed for Former Presidents, Dignitaries, Kings and Queens, and two Inauguration Parades and Ceremonies. In 1998, he requested a transfer to the Marine Corps Band in New Orleans, La. where he performed with Country Music artist Lee Greenwood, numerous Mardi Gras Parades, jazz festivals, music festivals, and state fairs.
In 2000, Rob was fascinated with the New Orleans music scene meeting, performing and recording with some of the best New Orleans musicians of today. Musicians such as; Leroy Jones, Craig Klein, Mark Mullins, Lucien Barbarin, Lillian Boutte, Topsy Chapman, Steve Pistorius, Tom Fischer, Bob, George, and Gerald French, Shannon Powell, Rick Trolsen, Mark Braud, Anthony “Tuba Fats” Lacen, Greg Stafford, Jason Mingledorf, Kevin Clarke, Barney Floyd, Troy Andrews, George Porter Jr., and Kirk Joseph. Rob has performed with bands from New Orleans such as Bonerama, New Orleans Nightcrawlers, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Preservation Hall, Leroy Jones, The Storyville Stompers Brass Band, New Orleans All Star Brass band, Royal Players Brass Band, Ambassadors of New Orleans brass band and the Treme Brass Band. "Rob is an established guy there now, playing with just about everybody who matters." -KDHX 2006Aug08 St. Louis, Missouri.
Rob has appeared at major Jazz festivals all throughout the US and in countries such as: Norway, Spain, France, Sweden, Finland, Germany, Japan, Holland, and Switzerland.
Rob can be heard on The Potholes Brass Band “Live at Donna's”,Leroy Jones's “New Orleans Brass Band Music - Memories of the Fairview and Hurricane Band”,and “Rob Espino Y Sus Amigos De Nueva Orleans.”