The 14th annual Albany Latin Festival kicked off with the Latin jazz sounds of master conguero Chembo Corniel and Grupo Chaworo. Corniel – who also helped launch Jazzlatino’s Ahora, Latin/Jazz concert series at Schenectady’s Unitarian Society Whisperdome two years ago – wove his percussive beats in tandem with Vince Cherico’s traps drumming and Andy Eulau’s basslines, building a solid foundation for the soaring solos of keyboardist Elio Villafranca and fiery saxophonist Justin Flynn.
Up next, the merengue band Doble Filo’s three frontmen sang and danced to their band’s infectious rhythms and beats complete with a wailing horn section. The audience followed suit with dancing and spontaneous cheers echoing throughout the festival’s rain-site location under the I-787 overpass in Albany’s Corning Preserve.
After an introduction by Mayor Jennings, Latin heartthrob Michael Stuart concluded the Latin Fest by bouncing around from one end of the stage to the other while conducting his band. He sang a mix of dynamic, high-energy rumba, salsa and pop songs – as well as a few ballads – to an enthusiastic audience of several thousand cheering people.
Review and photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk. You can see more of Andrzej’s photos from Latin Fest on Flickr.