When Jerry Lopez tries to sum up his band’s genre, it goes something like this: “It’s kind of like Maynard Ferguson, Tito Puente and Earth Wind & Fire thrown into a pot,” he says. “It’s kind of hard to say what we are.”
The band, Santa Fe and the Fat City Horns, a 15-piece group based in Las Vegas, Nev., entertains crowds every Monday night at the Palms Casino with a mix of jazz, funk and Latin music. The rest of the week, the group splits up for various musical ventures, some traveling with Celine Dion and a few others with Donny and Marie Osmond. Everyone in the band writes, arranges and performs professionally and Santa Fe and the Fat City Horns is where they all come together to relax and have fun.
Originally, a different version of Santa Fe and the Fat City Horns was called Santa Fe, and was made up of Lopez’s brothers, father and cousins. When Lopez was about 17 years old, the group started traveling all over the United States and eventually made its home base in Vegas. The group eventually split up and Lopez went on to play with Ricky Martin and Mark Anthony. He currently writes music for television, and is the musical director and band leader for “Vegas the Show,” an old-time production that plays at Planet Hollywood with showgirls and a big band.
|Santa Fe and the Fat City Horns
WHEN: 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 7
WHERE: KiMo Theatre, 423 W. Central
HOW MUCH: $15-$30, tickets can be purchased at www.kimotickets.com
Santa Fe and the Fat City Horns, made up of a six-piece rhythm section, six-piece horn section and five vocalists, came to be about 10 or 11 years ago, Lopez says, while a bunch of the members were on a road trip.
“We were all in a van and listening to the stuff we love to listen to – Earth Wind & Fire and Tower of Power and Chicago and great horn bands, you know, and a couple of the guys got this idea and said, ‘Why don’t we put a band together to do that?’”
At first, Lopez had his objections. The band would be too big, no one would hire them, and the days of that kind of horn band were gone.
“Then we kept talking about it and I said, ‘You know what? Let’s do this anyway in spite of all of that, and let’s not do it to get a gig or to make money. Let’s do this because we need to do it – we want to do it,’” says Lopez, who plays the guitar and sings for the band.