Poncho Sanchez and his Latin Jazz Band |Burton W. Chace Park | August 17, 2013


I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again, if you haven’t been taking advantage of the free summer concerts available in your neck of the woods, you’re probably missing out. On August 17, 2013, I had the chance to see Poncho Sanchez and his Latin Jazz Band, play a one and half hour concert at Burton W. Chace Park in Marina del Rey, and it was glorious. I would have gladly paid money to see Poncho Sanchez perform, but I’m not complaining one bit that I got to see this living, jazz legend play for free.

The line to park my car was long, and after waiting almost 20 minutes to park, I almost had to pull out from the front of the line to get change  as the parking lot attendant wasn’t willing to break the cash I had. Thankfully, a kind gentleman behind me spotted me $5 (parking was $10) so that I didn’t have to wait in line again.  Thank you, sir. I hope you contact me so that I can return the favor.

The best seats in the house. Obviously, not for me ... lol
The best seats in the house. Obviously, not for me … lol. If you can’t read the text, click on the picture to enlarge the picture.

With my new friends, I walked to concert area. With the stage situated at the edge of the jetty overlooking the great Marina Del Rey harbor views, latin jazz fans got there early to lay their blankets out to stake their territory. With the weather as pleasant as weather could be on a summer eve next to the water, it was a wonderfully sublime atmosphere for an evening of mind-blowing entertainment.

On his website, Poncho Sanchez has stated the following:

Latin jazz is the world’s greatest music,” says Sanchez. “It has the melodic and harmonic sophistication of jazz and American standards, and the flavor and energy of Latin American music. What I’m most proud of is that this music – while it may sound exotic at times – is from America. It was born in New York City, when Chano Pozo met Dizzy Gillespie for the first time in the mid-1940s. They created something that didn’t exist before in this country. I’m very proud to take this music all over the world all the time.”

And with that in mind, Poncho had a set that payed tribute to a number of the great jazz legends before him, performing his renditions of classic jazz standards and dedicating songs to those who came before him. He performed a song as a tribute to Willie Bobo. He performed a “Night In Tunisia” as a tribute to Dizzy Gillespie. He dedicated a song to John Coltrane who, to the excitement of the crowd, he indicated would be subject of his forthcoming album. Amazing music. Amazing sound. A jazz legend and his band playing music till the sun set in the ocean.


The later the concert went, the more and more people got up from their picnic dinners to dance.  It was hard to not bump into people trying to dance to the rhythm, some more successfully than others … lol, but the energy was there. Poncho encouraged the crowd to get up and dance, and more people followed suit. I felt the beat in my feet too, and I only wish that I had someone to dance with. Maybe next time.

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