It started when I got invited to a small jazz concert on Saturday at the La Cochera Cultural. Those of you who read Spanish understand that it means the cultural garage, which is what it is, an art center and space for intimate or large concerts in what used to be a car repair garage. The talent was the Eleazar Soto Trio, made up of “Chuko” Soto on sax, Willy Zavala on keyboard and Arichie Salcedo on drums. The concert was in the intimate space, perfect even as “Chuko” wailed on his sax.
The next night was the birthday of Ray Domenech, owner of the jazz club/restaurant/music lover community Casa Domenech. It was BYOB with Ray supplying the music and the 15 or so guests supplying booze and food (mostly – turned out the bar was open). The music was a high powered pickup band that included Ray himself on electric guitar and Arichie Salcedo on drums backing Barbara Sagrey of the SAGREY band belting out the vocals.
But as the evening progressed, other artists showed up, including a great female jazz singer (whose name I missed) who stepped in for and then sang with Sagrey. Then the great Eleazar Soto walked in, downed a beer, pulled out his sax and the cool jazz night got hot. By the end of the evening, my wife and I had finished off a bottle of champaign and , everyone else in the house had empty bottles sitting on their tables, and hooting, hollering, and sing-alongs commenced. As Ray said to all present, that night was for his family of musicians and music lovers who have supported Casa Domenech through thick, thin and Covid for five years. It was a magic night.
But the magic was not over because the next afternoon was the big event of the three-day weekend (yes, even in Mexico July 4 merits a 3-day weekend for Expats), the 5th Anniversary celebration of Casa Domenech. Not only did Ray have a birthday, but so did his restaurant/music venue. And what party!
Originally scheduled for #9, an outdoor venue that holds 80 people, Ray had to move it to the Plaza of the Lake Chapala Society because #9 sold out and the waiting list was over 40 folks. Only the LCS could accommodate that size crowd and then only by putting tables in the adjacent gazebo (which many people loved). And of course, being a restauranter, Ray made sure there was superb food, in this case a fusion buffet of Argentinian and New Orleans flavors presented by Chef Tina Riggins-Jones, capped by Casa D’s signature drinks (and tequila and wine and beer and…and…and).
It was the band that blew us a away. Tenampa (at the top of the page), a youthful crackerjack 8-piece New Orleans/salsa/rock brass band that had so much energy it flowed off the stage and curled around the feet of the folks at the front tables (like me). The concert was sponsored by the local bi-lingual newspaper, Semanario Laguna, and they made news with non-stop New Orleans style standards, jazzy rock pieces and a conga line that circle the plaza, moved up onto the gazebo and wound back down through the tables, collecting about third of the party goers along the way.
Party goers included local fans and VIPs, plus Los Angeles radio personality Mark Torres who was visiting, and LA-based singing star Nancy Sanchez who took a break to attend the party before taping tracks with Luckas O and The Charros Semifinominales band in a studio in nearby Guadalajara.
But we were not done, Thursday we met Nancy Sanchez and Mark Torres and Luckas O at the fabulous Casa Luna in the Tlaquepaque area of Guadalajara for a Mexican lunch ( 2:30-3:30 pm) and the music of Alfonsina, Guadalajara’s hot all-female washboard and slide trombone-led jazz/rock/folk fusion fun band. They were so much fun! We stayed through the last song, shot selfies with the band, and coffeed up for the drive from Guadalajara to Ajijic.
As we left the Casa Luna and strolled down the pedestrian mall, we passed El Patio and got a glimpse of the famous Muher Latina all-female Mariachi band, and as we passed through Mariachi Plaza we heard the strains of other mariachis playing in the El Parán and the El Toro. We wanted to stay, but the traffic between Guadalajara and Ajijic can be insane (only one close call, with a bus) so we headed home to recuperate from 4 days of music. And plan for more., starting with tonight at Scallions to hear the Old Souls folk duo team up with rock and jazz guitarist Ron Huble f or another night of foot tapping and humming along.
Patrick O’Heffernan, Music Sin Fronteras
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