The Last Frontier

Juan Carlos Quintero celebrates music, family and business

By Julie Baez
Published on LatinoLA: August 15, 2002

The Last Frontier

"So, do you know which advertising agency you want to work for after graduation?"

This is the million-dollar question my college counselor would ask every week, as if everyone in the Advertising Department was limited to working only for ad agencies.

"Well, I don't really want to work for an ad agency..." and before I could explain why, I would usually get a confused face interrupting me with the next question, "No? Well, do you think you're in the right field?" "Well, yes," I'd continue, always feeling as if I was shrinking, "I want to use the skills I've learned here at the University to help my family start their own music business."

There, I'd said it.

"I want to help my Tio, Juan Carlos Quintero, run his own label, Moondo Records!" I'd say it again and again, always with more confidence each time.

And now, almost three years later, I'm in Los Angeles doing what feels right --marketing Moondo Records and Juan Carlos Quintero.

Representing a unique genre of music most often overlooked by the traditional Spanish-language radio stations while not necessarily adapting to the instrumental smooth jazz programming, demands creative strategies. So the challenge becomes how to market this style of South American sounds fused together with contemporary elements of jazz.

The avenues I've found to work best have been college and non-commercial radio (Latino USA/National Public Radio). At the same time, I'm constantly discovering innovate ways to create synergy from TV and press. Do you see the irony? An advertising graduate once groomed to embrace the corporate marketing culture is now on a mission to broaden the parameters to include a rich Latin heritage--via music.

Artists such as Juan Carlos have successfully overcome barriers once imposed by effectively blending Latin and American cultures. It is a mix which a vast audience supports and welcomes each time Juan Carlos performs the music.

Juan Carlos has climbed over, swam through and finally broken free from the corporate music machine, and this Colombian native has sought independence through what seems to be the last frontier--creating an independent record label. In 1998, Juan Carlos -- who's been in the industry for over ten years -- scraped together all he had and created his baby, Moondo Records (spelled phonetically to avoid the constant mispronunciation of "Mundo"). To distribute the label, Juan Carlos avoided the usual suspects in the jazz industry and sought a different route.

"I decided not to limit myself to strictly jazz labels, and thought it would be smart to make a story where there typically wasn't one, by taking Moondo beyond the jazz industry," reflects Juan Carlos.

Instead, he linked up with Discipline Global Mobile (DGM) -- the label founded by Robert Fripp of King Crimson.

"My primary reason for seeking DGM was simple: Their philosophy allowed us to maintain our independence as a separate label while sharing marketing efforts and distribution with Ryko Distribution," says Juan Carlos.

Four recordings and a couple of labels later, Juan Carlos continues to do what he does best: combining his native South American sounds and blending them with jazz traditions. The end result is a style of music that reflects the influence of Latin icons such as Eddie Plameri and Tito Puente, alongside jazz players like Pat Methany, Wes Montgomery and Chick Corea.

It's easy to understand who Juan Carlos' music is meant for his motto: "Music for the World," says it all.

You can see Juan Carlos Quinerto live in concert @ The Key Club on Aug. 24, 2002. Please visit the website for upcoming concerts, music samples & concert photos:

About Julie Baez:
Advertising graduate from the University of Texas @ Austin. I now work for Moondo Records as the Marketing & Promotions person for my Tio, Juan Carlos Quintero.

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