Live Review: Mestizo at Elks Lodge in West Covina, CA

Material: Mestizo is a Latin rock/jazz group playing both classics and originals. Tunes like “Corazon Espinado” and “Suavecito” take you back to when Latin music was getting rave reviews on mainstream radio and backyard parties, and would make you want to groove and shuffle. Mestizo not only gives you the classic oldies, they pour out their hearts with their originals as well.

Musicianship: The horn section is visually spectacular. They add so many levels and diversity to the live songs that the rhythm section (comprised of Eddie Hernandez and Garcia) is left to play basic grooves with an amazing effortlessness. Tony Hernandez sits behind the keys and is left to paint as he wishes while grooving to all the tunes. You might say that a lot of layers might spoil the soup, but everyone stays in their space and it all comes together splendidly. Superb vocals from D’Angelo, Vidaurrazaga, Solorzano and Tony Hernandez make the crowds go crazy after every song; everything just falls into place as they croon you into a rhythmic frenzy.

Performance: Mestizo’s stage is usually so crowded from all the players’ equipment that there’s not much room to move around, but the music makes up for that. Rapport with the audience is very good as Solorzano likes to address the crowd and keep them up to date on what’s going on with the band and their schedule. D’Angelo loves to dance even when she’s not in the spotlight and is just a lovely visual as she shakes her tambourine and maracas. The music truly captivates you (even if you’re not into this type of music) and takes you on journeys like no other band can.

Summary: Mestizo is composed of solid musicians, some having played with top-notch performers––El Chicano, Los Lobos, Tierra, Freddy Fender, Malo, and the Midnighters. All childhood friends growing up together in Los Angeles and playing music for their family and friends, the members of Mestizo have families and professions of their own. Little did they realize that their vocations would enhance their musical careers as they trekked forward into the 21st Century. The music is hard hitting at times, mellow at others, soothing your tired and weary essence with soulful ballads that would ease the beast in anyone.

Web: MestizoLA.com

Contact: FiveVidas@yahoo.com

Players: Ron Solorzano, lead/rhythm guitar, timbales, lead/backing vocals; David Vidaurrazaga, rhythm guitar, backing vocals; Eddie Hernandez, drums; Rudy Garcia, bass; Tony Hernandez, keyboard, lead/backing vocals; Dolores D’Angelo, lead/backing vocals, percussion; Augie Roman, congas; Steve Lang, sax; Ted Murdock, trumpet; Bob Perrino, trumpet; Carlos Luna, trombone