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Jazz Caliente celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month

Pianist and bandleader Arturo O'Farrill
Matthew Septimus
courtesy of the artist
Pianist and bandleader Arturo O’Farrill

Hispanic Heritage Month starts mid-September in honor of the anniversaries of national independence for a number of Latin American countries. Sept. 15 is Independence Day for Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Mexico's independence is celebrated Sept. 16 and Chile’s on Sept. 18.

Pianist and composer Arturo O’Farrill was born in Mexico City. His heritage comes from his Cuban-born German/Irish father, the legendary composer and arranger Chico O’Farrill. Arturo leads the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, and his HBO documentary from 2020, “Fandango at the Wall,” is a testament to the music that connects us all.

Jazz Caliente favorite Poncho Sanchez is Mexican-American, born in Laredo, Texas, and raised outside of Los Angeles. His special mix of Latin jazz and American soul music have brought him multiple Grammy nominations and many other awards.

TouchMix Sessions - Poncho Sanchez - Yesterdays

Trombonist Steve Turre took his Mexican-American heritage deeper by taking up the conch shell, an instrument used by the Mayan, Aztec and Caribbean cultures for centuries.

Jazz Caliente airs Saturdays at 5 p.m. The show is hosted by Robin Lloyd and produced by KNKX Public Radio.

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Originally from Detroit, Robin Lloyd has been presenting jazz, blues and Latin jazz on public radio for nearly 40 years. She's a member of the Jazz Education Network and the Jazz Journalists Association.