Saturday, April 15, 2006

Ritmo - Brother Lenny's new band

n. - cadencia, ritmo
  1. Balanced, rhythmic flow, as of poetry or oratory.
  2. The measure or beat of movement, as in dancing or marching.
I got invited to come to the Stirling Club at Turnberry tonight to hear the debut of Lenny Lopez's new band "Ritmo." The roster includes Lenny on vocals and percussion, Joe Bergeron on percussion, Blaise Sison on bass, Gabriel Falcon on drums, Felix Buehler on guitar (tasty chops, dude!), and Mike Gonzalez on keyboards. The Music Director at The Stirling Club is the beautiful, talented, and gracious Kelly Clinton. Check out her awesome website.

Lenny first sat in with the house group, and then did a set with his new band Ritmo. They cooked. The crowd was delighted. I was delighted. My cup runneth over to continue to bear witness to all this excellence, and to continue to meet all these extremely nice people. Kelly, thank you! Below: Lenny and Kelly. Below that: Dr. Lenny soars on vocals, as usual.

It was a way cool evening. Bobby Black was there and also sat in. What a voice! More later. I gotta go crash. I got hoops with my nephew and niece tomorrow.

UPDATE: MickiJay profiles Gabriel

My favorite percussionist, GABRIEL FALCON!!! What a pair of hands on this guy. I like the way his hair flies and his shoulders move. He's a drummin' funk machine.

He plays timbales, congos, bongos and is self-taught although he credits his father, Noe Falcon for influencing him as a kid. Noe wrote, sang, played bass and guitar. Gabe has two sisters and five brothers (he's second to the eldest) who are all musicians! The family toured for twenty years as the "Fabulous Falcons". The family moved to Azusa, and in 1973 it all began. In the 1990's, he found his niche with salsa and latin jazz.

He has played with vocalist Maria Conchita Alonso as her percussionist, and these days backs Clint Holmes (since January, 2005 when he replaced Lenny Lopez), the Ronnie Foster Band at Sedona and of course, he's essential with Santa Fe and The Fat City Horns.

As for being influenced, he mentions Gene Krupa, Buddy Rich, Clyde Stubbelfeld, Tito Puente and Shiela Easton. I'm sure there's more.

Now for the personal stuff: he's engaged and will be inheriting a 16 yr old daughter, he lives in the south east and is 43 years young. What a catch!!

He's recorded a lot of independent projects with the family and Sante Fe. Gabe said it was a pleasure working with Bruce Conte from Tower of Power and Jeff Lorber, who he has backed up. He's got history to him.

In 2001, Jerry Lopez was looking for a percussionist and called Gabe. He auditioned at Storm at Mandalay Bay. Obviously, he got the gig.

He's got some hobbies like building car models, watching videos, and of course, he practices daily. I remarked about his body movement when he's playing and he said that it comes "naturally".He's got a 2003 Chevy Trail Blazer and likes to hit the road to check out Mesquite and California. There's nothing like the open road to clear your mind, if you can drive and find an "open road".

Did you realize he's the guy who does the set-up? He puts all of the instruments, amps, and cables together the morning of the show and tears everything down when it's over. Whata a job. This man cares a lot, and we care for him too!

-- MickiJay

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