Hot spot for cool nights - Albuquerque Journal

Hot spot for cool nights

Inside the Albuquerque Museum, the galleries, as you can imagine, are fairly quiet and air-conditioned. But just outside in the museum’s amphitheater, the place is starting to heat up.

That’s because there’s live music in the space on Friday and Saturday evenings during the summer. And patrons will sometimes fill the dance floor between the seats and the stage.

The live music comes courtesy of the New Mexico Jazz Workshop’s twin programs — Salsa Under the Stars and Jazz & Blues Under the Stars. The salsa series begins today and runs on most Fridays through Aug. 10. The jazz/blues series starts Saturday, June 2, and continues on most Saturdays through Aug. 11.

This is the 36th year of the summer series, the last 20 at the museum, said Maud Beenhouwer, the Jazz Workshop’s director.

“We have some new faces and some new groups this year in addition to some longtime favorites,” Beenhouwer said.

One new face is Matt Catingub, who will conduct and perform with the 17-member Albuquerque Jazz Orchestra in a Big Band Extravaganza on Saturday, June 2.

“I’m singing, playing alto sax and piano,” Catingub said in a phone interview from his home in Las Vegas, Nev. “We’ll be playing some stuff I wrote 30 years ago. So it will be nostalgic for me.”

Among those oldies are “Blues and the Abcessed Tooth” and “Bopularity.”

Glenn Kostur, the orchestra’s musical director, said he’s been rehearsing the ensemble using Catingub’s charts.

The orchestra also will do Catingub arrangements of standards “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing),” “Stompin’ at the Savoy” and “Don’t Be That Way,” said Kostur, who is playing lead alto sax.

Catingub may be remembered as the Pops conductor of the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra before it folded.

Another new face in the series is Albuquerque jazz trumpeter Ryan Montaño, who leads a small band on his half of a June 9 concert it shares with Certified Organic.

“I’ll start with a James Brown cut, then segue into a Brian Culbertson tune … and segue into my own compositions, which is jazz-meets-folk-meets-pop. I want it to be palatable to a wide audience with the same jazz integrity,” Montaño said.

Much of his trumpet instruction came from listening to Chet Baker albums.

“He’s the trumpet player after whom I model most of my playing. He didn’t have to show off his high notes and his range. He essentially whispers in your ear through the trumpet, which is what I try to do,” Montaño said.

The Albuquerque band En-Joy kicks off the Salsa Under the Stars series tonight.

“Basically, we play modern Cuban music called timba and some traditional Cuban stuff like the son,” said conga player Brian de la Fe.

“Timba is part of the evolution of music from son and salsa. The music is constantly progressing, just like jazz, just like rock. Timba implies that there are elements maybe of jazz, Latin jazz and maybe funk.

“It’s more aggressive music,” de la Fe said, but it keeps the flavor of traditional Cuban popular music.

The other members of En-Joy are timbale player Miguel Escuriola, trumpeter Josiel Perez, bassist Josmel Montejo and Mariano Morales, who plays piano and violin and composes and arranges.

The members of En-Joy also are the members of Morales’ band Pikante.

“We’re all friends. We’re living for music full time,” de la Fe said.

Here is a list of the other Salsa Under the Stars concerts:

June 8, Team Havana

June 15, Calle 66

June 22, Havana Son

June 29, Son Como Son

July 13, Charanga del Valle

July 20, Nosotros.

July 27, Lucky 7 Mambo.

Aug. 3, Ivon Ulibarri y Cafe Mocha

Aug. 10, Son Como Son.

These are the other Jazz & Blues Under the Stars concerts:

June 9, Ryan Montaño/Certified Organic

June 23, Rudy Boy Experiment/Combo Special

June 30, Transit Latin Jazz Ensemble/Bert Dalton Brazil Project

July 28, Soul Man Sam/Albuquerque Blues Connection

Aug. 4, Swing Dance Night with the Albuquerque Jazz Orchestra

Aug. 11, Super Sax/Charlie Christian Project.

In addition, the Jazz Workshop is presenting two Women’s Voices concerts at the Albuquerque Museum. The first one, on June 16, is called “Sings the Great American Songbook.” The vocalists are Hillary Smith, Patty Stephens, Jackie Zamora and Sarah Rebello Amaral.

The other one is on July 14, “Ladies Sing the Blues — At Last: Tribute to Etta James.” Performers include Smith, Joan Cere, Zenobia and Victoria Panana.

All concerts, whether in the twin series or the Women’s Voices, start at 7 p.m. Tickets for individual Jazz & Blues series and Women’s Voices concerts are $15 general public, $13 seniors and students with ID, and $12 Jazz Workshop and Albuquerque Museum members and children 12 and under free. Tickets are available at, by calling 255-9798 or at the door. Festival passes available by calling 255-9798.

Tickets for most Salsa Under the Stars concerts are $13 general public, $11 seniors and students with ID, $10 Jazz Workshop and Albuquerque Museum members and free for children 12 and under. For festival passes call 255-9798. Tickets for the Team Havana and Lucky 7 Mambo concerts are $15/$13/$12. Tickets available at, by calling 255-9798 or at the door.

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