Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Aguabella Latin Jazz Band at Saddleback College

Posted By CotoBlogzz

Rancho Santa Margarita, CA   – The  Jazz Studies at Saddleback College, as part of its guest artist series  will present the  Aguabella Latin Jazz Band  on Monday, October 1st at 7 pm in the McKinney Theatre.  

Francisco Aguabella,  the band’s founder is one of a handful of Cuban congueros - see video for best congueros - who made their way to the U.S. in the years after World War II and introduced authentic Afro-Cuban drumming stateside. During more than fifty years, Aguabella  played  salsa, jazz, pop and rock albums with virtually every well-known name in each genre.  Unlike contemporaries  such as Mongo Santamaria, Armando Peraza and Candido Camero , who were from Havana Aguabella was from  the Mantanzas Province, where  he received his first lessons on bata drums, the hourglass-shaped instruments used in the Afro-Cuban Santeria religion. He eventually became one of the few drummers celebrated by Santeria practitioners as a master of the intricate rhythms that make up ceremonial drumming.

Aguabella  died of cancer May 7 at his home in Los Angeles. After he  passed away, athe resto of the members decided to keep the Band working.  The Aguabella Band is composed of seven stellar musicians who are core members of The Francisco Aguabella Latin Jazz Band.

The Aguabella Band's CD, Nuestra Era, is enjoying international airplay and critical acclaim. Raul da Gama of Latin Jazz Network calls Nuestra Era "a masterpiece”.  Johnny Jazz (aka Johnny Gilbert) gives Nuestra Era"5 Stars. To quote Andy Harlow (89.1 FM Miami), "This Group smokes, sizzles and burns all at once! We know you will agree!”

Benn Clatworthy (Tenor, Soprano Saxes & Flute) now leads The Aguabella Band and has been a fixture on the Jazz scene since 1980 when he arrived from England. He has played with Cedar Walton, John Beasley, The LA Philharmonic Orchestra and countless others.
Ron Stout (Trumpet) has been a working member of the Musician's Union since the age of 15. He recorded and/or performed with Jose Feliciano, Arturo Sandoval, Poncho Sanchez and numerous Motown greats.

Joey Sellers (Trombone) hails from Arizona and is an accomplished musician, composer and arranger. He has written compositions for Doc Severinsen, The Lincoln Center Orchestra and is the recipient of The Gil Evans Fellowship in Jazz Composition and Tommy Nestico awards. He is Director of Jazz Studies at Saddleback College, Mission Viejo, CA. Sellers has performed with such notable artists as The Lew Tabackin Orchestra, Kim Richmond, Joe Labarbara and numerous others.

Bryan Velasco (Piano) began his career touring with Celia Cruz when just 16 years old. Bryan is known as a fearless player who often employs pizzicato technique to the piano strings, while remaining thoughtful of each note played; the perfect riff within the perfect time and place. Bryan's professional credits also include performing with Jose Feliciano, Sheila E, Airto Moreira, Los Lobos and others.

Brian J Wright (Bass) was privileged to play with Maestro Aguabella the last five years of his life. Brian has played with Lew Matthews (MD Nancy Wilson & pianist), Kotolan, Dry Martini, The Rat Pack Review and others. He has performed at The Dorothy Chandler, Museum of Latin American Art, Museum of Contemporary Art, and UCLA. He enjoys firs- call status with many Jazz/Latin and Salsa bands.
Christian Moraga (Congas) brings his spicy Chilean roots to The Aguabella Band; permeating perfectly with the Band's Afro Cuban Latin Jazz flavors. He has performed with The Banda Brothers, Oskar Cartaya, Jimmy Bosh and some others.

Jorge Carbonell (Drums) is a native of Havana, Cuba. He is a ten year veteran of The Aguabella Band; having toured and recorded with Maestro Aguabella. His solos always elicit loud bursts of applause from the audience. Jorge has performed with Joey De Leon, Tito Puente, Frank Cano and many others.

Tickets are $10 general and $7 students/seniors.  Call the ticket office at 949-582-4656, Wednesday through Saturday, noon to 4 pm or order your tickets online at

Saddleback College is located at 28000 Marguerite Pkwy in Mission Viejo, just east of Interstate 5 at the Avery Parkway exit.  Parking is available in Lot 12.  Take Avery Parkway to Marguerite Parkway turn left to the third traffic light, which is Saddleback’s Marguerite entrance. Turn right into the campus and take the second left to “Theatre Circle,” turning right into Lot 12.


Located in Mission Viejo, Saddleback College provides quality higher education and training to the greater south Orange County community.  Having served more than 500,000 students since 1968, Saddleback College offers over 300 degree and certificate programs to help students reach their personal, career, and educational goals.  For more information, please visit and for Fine Arts information, please visit  

No comments: