2015 has been a big year for Alex Torres & His Latin Orchestra. Not only is the spicy salsa band celebrating its 35th anniversary this year, but they also toured China for the first time, and their music was picked up for a number of television and film projects, including the Netflix series “Bloodlines,” USA Network’s “Complications” and the feature comedy “Drunk Wedding.”
Bu the Amsterdam-based band led by bassist Alex Torres haven’t forgotten about their loyal Nippertown fans. In addition to their regular gigs at Saratoga Springs’ Newberry Music Hall, the Latin Orchestra also fired it up Skidmore College’s Tang Museum, turning the rooftop into a dance floor at a recent installment of the museum’s free UpBeat On the Roof concert series.
Even the Halloween ghosts and goblins can’t keep the weekly Saturday night CD release party parade from marching through the concert calendar.
Here’s info on some of the CD celebrations going on around Nippertown on Saturday night:
Chris and Lolly Swicegood at Club Helsinki Hudson in Hudson: Texas singer-songwriter-multi-instrumentalist Chris Swicegood relocated to Hudson earlier this year, and along with his wife Lolly, he recently recorded his new album “Lila,” with producer Henry Hirsch (longtime Lenny Kravitz co-hort, who has also worked with everyone from Mick Jagger and Madonna to Karl Denson and Greg Laswell). 9pm Saturday. $15.
In addition to fronting his fabulous band, Alex Torres & His Latin Orchestra, Alex Torres has also been operating a music store, El Palacio Musical at 241 East Main Street in Amsterdam, for more than two decades.
And although the band is thriving, the same can’t be said of the recorded music business, so Torres is planning to close his store next month.
Since opening on April 15, 1988, El Palacio Musical has seen multiple shifts in the record business – from vinyl to cassettes to CDs – but Torres can no longer compete in the age of digital downloads and file sharing.
Meanwhile, Alex Torres & His Latin Orchestra are gearing up for a dual celebration at The Linda in Albany on Saturday, October 30. The performance will not only celebrate the release of the Latin Orchestra’s new CD, “Anejo,” but will also mark the band’s 30th anniversary
“Crossroads,” the second collection of poems and antipoems by Amsterdam poet (and antipoet?) Todd Fabozzi is now available. It is the follow-up to his debut book of poetry, “Umbrageous Embers.”
Fabozzi describes himself as “an urbanist, ecologist, writer, teacher and drummer.” He’s a longtime advocate of sustainable design and has lectured extensively on the consequences of suburban sprawl. He’s written numerous urban planning and watershed protection studies. He’s taught in classrooms – from elementary to graduate school. And, yes, he’s also the conga drummer with Nippertown salsa superstars Alex Torres & His Latin Orchestra.
If you’re headed to the movies this holiday season, keep an ear out for Nippertown’s favorite Latin big band.
That’s right – you’ll be hearing the percolating, seductive salsa sounds of Amsterdam’s own Alex Torres and His Latin Orchestra in two – that’s right, two – Hollywood movies this holiday season.
The Walt Disney family comedy film “Old Dogs” – featuring such big-name stars as John Travolta, Robin Williams and Bernie Mac – opens in theaters nationwide on Wednesday (November 25), and the movie includes the song “Con Mi Ritmo,” originally found on the 12-piece Orchestra’s 2002 album, “Punto de Vista” on WEPA Records.
Meanwhile, actor-writer Kevin Heffernan – aka Broken Lizard (“Super Troopers,” “Beerfest”) – directs the comedy “The Slammin’ Salmon,” starring Michael Clarke Duncan (of “The Green Mile”). The film is slated for release on Friday, December 11. The movie will feature the song “La Ropa Esta En El Baul” from the Orchestra’s latest release, “25 to Life” on WEPA Rcords.
While all of that big time Hollywood buzz might seem like a lot of action for a Latin band from the Capital Region, the Orchestra certainly isn’t resting on its laurels. Alex Torres and His Latin Orchestra are currently busy in the studio recording their next album, “Anejo,” which is slated for release in March.
NAME: Brian Patneaude
BAND AFFILIATION: Brian Patneaude Quartet; Alex Torres & His Latin Orchestra; Empire Jazz Orchestra; Keith Pray’s Big Soul Ensemble; and anyone else that calls.
1. THE FIRST ALBUM I EVER BOUGHT WAS … The first album I can recall searching out on my own was a cassette copy of Paul McCartney’s “Tug of War” for the song “Ebony & Ivory.”
2. THE FIRST CONCERT THAT I EVER SAW WAS … Metallica and Queensryche at the RPI Fieldhouse in 1989.
3. THE FIRST MUSICAL INSTRUMENT I EVER OWNED OR PLAYED WAS … I picked up the saxophone in the 5th grade – it’s been a love/hate affair ever since.
4. THE FIRST SONG THAT I EVER PERFORMED IN PUBLIC WAS … I remember putting on an impromptu solo dance routine to the theme of “Star Wars” in front of my kindergarten classmates – does that count?
5. THE FIRST BAND I WAS EVER IN WAS … I played drums in a trio with friends from high school ironically named Fusion. For the longest time our repertoire consisted of “In A Gadda Da Vida” and a few original songs that sounded oddly similar to “In A Gadda Da Vida.”
The Brian Patneaude Quartet takes the stage at the Van Dyck in Schenectady on Thursday, September 24.
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