photo RSMAtnWebAdRed13.jpg

Here Comes an Explosion of Jazz and Blues

By Jesús Aguado

The 22nd International Jazz and Blues Festival will pay two tributes in a new venue this year, holding five concerts, one of them free. The festival will take place from Wednesday, November 16, through Sunday, November 20.

Antonio Lozoya, artistic director for 12 years and participant in the festival for the last 20 years, told Atención that the Jazz and Blues Festival is celebrating because reaching a 22-year anniversary is an accomplishment, and so is the event’s trajectory that has placed it as the most important jazz festival in Latin America.

Lozoya noted that the festival is prepared with love but also with professionalism. He said that he, for example, studied music in the School of Superior Music of the National Institute of Arts. However, he criticized the lack of support from the governmental system for these musical events. “There should be more support because music is universal,” he noted.

The director also stated that the private sector as well is not interested to invest in a festival like this. “Most of the people who organize these events are musicians, but there is no initiative from the private sector to support them.”

The Tributes

Annually, the Festival organizes a jazz and blues workshop during which the audience learns everything from the names of the musical instruments to the sounds that they can make and the mixes that all of them can put together. This year, the dynamic will be different. The Festival will offer a free concert, homage to a former member of the San Miguel Jazz Cats, Ken Basman. Lozoya noted that the band will play the music that Basman, who passed away this year, created in San Miguel de Allende for 25 years.

After his death, natives, residents, and visitors, local, national, and international wrote about him. Singer Magos Herrera wrote, “Twenty years ago as I was walking down the streets in San Miguel de Allende, I heard an incredible, clear, melodic, beautiful sound coming out from a bar. Curious, I followed the strains to meet Ken Basman, who right away became one of my beloved friends, my collaborator, and one of my favorite guitar players ever. He brought so much joy to my heart with his sound. Probably he will keep singing through his strings in his new journey. Maybe if we look up, we will see the clouds dancing along … but still, I will miss him immensely.”

Lila Downs and Paul Cohen wrote, “The world has lost a brilliant guitarist, composer, and musician, and I, a dear friend. Ken was the most incredible guitarist, and to play next to him night after night was such an honor! I always applauded his solos. He was so inventive, so virtuosic, so imaginative, swung so hard and so deep. He was an improviser, a jazz and blues guitarist of the highest level, and you knew it was Ken from the first note he played. Ken was such a wonderful friend, and I have only great memories of the times he and I spent. In the studio or on stage, Ken was so patient, kind, and supportive.”

The concert will take place at Bellas Artes in the Miguel Malo Auditorium on Friday, November 18, at 12pm.

The Festival will close on Sunday, November 20, at 6pm with homage to New York singer and musician Billy Joel. Lozoya told this newspaper that paying a tribute to a musician and singer who has nothing to do with jazz and blues is a way to attract new audiences, people who are interested in listening to what they already know with a different sound, always expecting the unexpected. The base band will be the San Miguel Jazz Cats and special guests—singers and musicians. The set list will be made up of ten songs. “New York State of Mindand “Just the Way You Arewill be included. Tickets are 500 pesos.

The program

Now that the Ángela Peralta Theater is undergoing restoration, all the concerts will be held at the Miguel Malo Auditorium at Bellas Artes. The Alex Mercado Jazz Trio will open the Festival. Lozoya said, “Mexico’s best pianist is participating in this festival.” Alex Mercado’s official web page states that his career highlights include being commissioned in 2010 to arrange and perform as the featured soloist in the orchestral opening of Elton John’s concert at Chichén Itzá with the Yucatán Symphony Orchestra. In 2011 he participated as an arranger and composer on singer Magos Herrera’s México Azul album, recorded in New York. In 2012 he was chosen by the federal government to inaugurate the monument “The City of Books” with a solo piano concert. This trio will perform on Wednesday, November 16, at 7:30pm. Tickets are 350 pesos.

Whitney Shay will continue the concert series on Thursday, November 17, at 7:30pm. “Musically, she is an explosion of talent; she is an amazing and multifaceted performer,” commented Lozoya, who noted that the singer is very much in demand. Annually, she performs in more than 200 concerts. She is flying directly from a tour in Brazil just to perform in this festival celebration. She will be accompanied by the guitar of Jaime Valle, the piano of Dulce Resillas, the drums of Rick Shlosser, and the bass of Antonio Lozoya. Tickets are 450 pesos.

The program will continue on Friday, November 18, with the performance of People vs Larsen. Tickets are 450 pesos. On Saturday, November 19, Geoffrey Keezer, a pianist from California, and Gillian Margot, a Canadian singer, will appear onstage. According to Lozoya, Keezer was a child prodigy who recorded his first album at the age of 13 years. Tickets are 450 pesos, 8pm.

San Miguel of the Musicians

Rick Shlosser is a member of the San Miguel Jazz Cats. He came to San Miguel just for vacations and then stayed. That was, said Shlosser, because he found friends in music and also because of the musical charm the city has.

He also remembers that he arrived in San Miguel after not playing for a year and a half due to health issues. It was an age, he said, when the music studios were closing in California due to the appearance of new technology that did not need the musicians in the studio. He had performed in the age when music was easier. All the musicians and singers gathered in studios, bars, and clubs, where it was easy to meet the greatest of the musicians and singers. He did it, and after collaborations with Rod Stewart in Tonight’s the Night, Dolly Parton for her 9 to 5, Diana Ross and Lionel Ritchie with their Endless Love, the drummer decided to make San Miguel his base. Now he plays for international audiences in San Miguel.


For sale at the Tienda of the Biblioteca at Insurgentes 25, La Conexión at calle Aldama 3, and also on the webpage


Comments are closed

 photo RSMAtnWebAdRed13.jpg
 photo RSMAtnWebAdRed13.jpg

Photo Gallery

 photo RSMAtnWebAdRed13.jpg
Log in | Designed by Gabfire themes All original content on these pages is fingerprinted and certified by Digiprove