The Quatro Sentido restaurant has gone through a number of incarnations. A long time ago it was known as the Hole-In-One, a 19th hole bar refreshing the thirsty golfers coming in the course across the Carretera Highway. Then it was the Avocado club, a restaurant and dance music venue that gave patrons good food and a variety of music acts, however it closed in 2018.
But an ideal music space does not stay vacant for long. The Quatro Sentido is on the top floor of the Rose Bowl Mall, a good-sized strip mall whose roof is actually a amphitheater-shaped metal frame that towers over a vast rooftop space that can accommodate 200 or more people at tables with a stunning view of the lake and the mountains. It was taken over by a father an son team in 2020 and rapidly became celebrated for its fine food. Now it is about to celebrated as the go-to-place for big bands, big acts, and big fun.
This is where I found myself on Wednesday afternoon – yes Wednesday afternoon at 3:00 pm, not weekend night – watching the 20-piece Los Amigos big band set up on the north end of the vast open space of Quatro Sentido’s rooftop. Behind them was a stunning view of the Lake and the mountains rising from the opposite shore; in front of them were tables for 100 people, all sold out. They were flanked by PA speakers and a full mixing board tended by an I-pad-toting sound engineer.
The “Welcome Spring” concert Wednesday afternoon was a celebration not just of spring, but of the return of large scale music to Lakeside. Earlier Concerts on the Lawn at the Lake Chapala Society (see XXXX) had whetted people’s appetite for a full -scale musical blowout, but the lack of dancing at the lawn concerts and the fact that most of the audience had now been vaccinated kind of loosened things up. Full Covid protocols were in place, but with an outdoor space that could seat over two times as many people as were in attendance, there was plenty of room for social distance separation, and dancing a safe distance from the tables but still in full view of the band.
The band itself blew me away. While many of Los Amigos’ songs were jazz and swing standards, conductor Paul Silverman and every musician was a first class musical talent, and the drum, trumpet, bass, and guitar solos elevated them beyond just swing dance music and horn-led jazz. They rocked, literally!!
Los Amigos was assembled by saxophone player and music entrepreneur Christy Philipson, – the third big band she has assembled in her career – who also produced the concert. Philipson recruited four vocalists – Christy Carter Caldwell, Andrea Pérez Romero, Wanda White, and Lorenzo Elmo Adam – who took us through operatic pop standards, belted-out jazz, Mexican classics and crooner love songs. Like the band, the vocalists were outstanding talents.
Now that Philipson has demonstrated that the vast space of Quatro Sentido can not only attract sold-out crowds but handle bands of any size and type with Covid social distancing and full safety protocols, she is thinking of bringing in more local talent from Lakeside and the nearby music metropolis of Guadalajara and maybe an LA-based R&B and blues touring Act. I am definitely looking forward to that!!
Patrick O’Heffernan, Host Music Sin Fronteras radio
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