Exciting trombonist and bandleader Jimmy Bosch keeps mesmerizing his fans with his high energy style of salsa music. The New York-based artist is rapidly becoming a most serious force to be reckoned with, as the appeal and popularity of his style of salsa music is strongly increasing among people of all backgrounds and ages.
I caught up with this ?Ambassador of Salsa?, while he was juggling his increasingly busy performance schedule, writing music, and working towards his next CD release. He also reveals his vision for what's ahead for his many fans on the West Coast and Los Angeles.
Les Rivera: Jimmy, it is great speaking with you again.
Jimmy Bosch: Hello Les, the pleasure is mine.
LR: Your live performances schedule has increased lately. Is the Jimmy Bosch salsa dura style signaling a new great era of salsa music?
JB: Les, I believe that audiences all over the world are ready for this expressive, musical and free style. Audiences have been and remain hungry, starving for more passion, more punch and more intensity to lift the spirits and ignite a frenzy of energy to the dance floors. The time has come. Salsa Dura is a style now being imitated by many groups. This new era you mention has already begun. I am simply, as some would say, carrying the torch in front of the pack.
LR: How does your music differ from other styles of salsa and Latin jazz?
JB: My music is all dance centered. Everything that I perform is done so with the dancer element in mind at all times. Additionally, everything that I perform has the freedom and passion focus in its delivery. This means simply that as a band, each and every artist in the group participates in doing what we do best, and that is, to make music. My main focus is and has always been to excite, to move people emotionally, to inspire, and to create moments of euphoric energy in the rooms and arenas in which my band performs. This concept is not by any means about me as a bandleader or merely about the lead singer in my band. It is truly about all of the artists on stage and everyone present. It becomes an experience where we engage the audience and vice versa.
LR: Some fans describe you as ?the father of salsa dura?. Should you take credit for inventing this most riveting salsa style?
JB: Absolutely not! I just take responsibility for waking the world up to remember that this is what it really is supposed to be about in the first place. Remember, that my journey is one filled with the greatest teachers of this aggressive and expressive style of executing salsa music. Some of those great teachers are, Manny Oquendo, Israel Cachao Lopez, Ray Barretto, Oscar DeLeon, Machito, Louis Perico Ortiz, Bobby Rodriguez y la Compania, Grupo Folklorico, El Gran Combo, Tipica 73 and on and on. My frustration with the Salsa Romantica inspired me to launch my solo career in 1996 with the format of yesteryear. Immediately, musicians and fans alike acknowledged the sound that some thought had disappeared forever. Well, it is back and stronger than ever! More and more people are waking up from ?lala land? and are now enjoying this wonderful movement that I call the Salsa Dura Movement!
LR: When did the Jimmy Bosch artist journey begin?
JB: Les, the journey for me began as early as age 13 when I was paid $75 to play my horn for the first time. Though I did not know it then, this became my focus while the other kids focused on sports and other things. I realized early on the amount of satisfaction and pleasure that I was experiencing by playing the horn and making music. I found it so fascinating that I could make money doing this and so the journey began.
LR: You performed as a sidekick to many famous salsa artists for years. What made you decide to form your own band, and when did that happen?
JB: After several years of my fellow musicians and fans suggesting that I start my own band, I decided in 1996 to embrace this challenge. I was starving to have more control over the style of music that I performed. I clearly wanted to create more space, for me and all the artists in the band, to be featured as soloists each and every time that we got on stage. My vision became quite clear and I began to enroll people in having my vision be a reality. My first show was on March 21st 1996 at S.O.B.'s. I persuaded Ana Araiz to offer me a date for my band, which did not exist, to play music, that I did not have. Because Ana Araiz was a risk taker, and because she saw the fire in my eyes and the determination in my heart, she said, "Okay, how about March 21st." I then asked her for a pad and pen and prepared a wish list of artists to participate in what was to become my band debut performance. Between that day and the date of the show I prepared enough music to perform two sets for the show. It was this show and my relationship with Ana Araiz that led to more work for the band both in the U.S. and in Europe. This show also led to a record deal with Ryko Latino Music.
LR: You were Marc Anthony?s Music Director for years. Do you still perform any work for him?
JB: I worked with Marc Anthony for approximately four years. I was musical director for one year only. Angel Fernandez was the MD before me and after me for the Salsa Band. Given my commitment to my solo career I was not able to fulfill all of the responsibilities with such a high visibility production such as Marc's. At this time I am not doing any work for that office.
LR: So far you have come out with two CD?s, which are still selling big. Is there anything in the works for a third CD release?
JB: Absolutely, I have recorded two tracks thus far towards the next production. Those tracks are titled "El Avion de la Salsa" and "Mi Cuerpo Tiembla." As my relationship with Ryko Latino has dissolved, I am in search of record deal in hopes of putting out a new production by middle of 2003.
LR: Do you care to reveal what your fans can expect when the third CD has been released?
JB: Well, let me tell you this Les. Having traveled all over the country and throughout Europe, I have witnessed the enthusiasm for this aggressive format that I use. The dancers all over the world love the excitement, the passion and the spirit of the band. I have received much acknowledgment for having written songs of content, which reflect real life experiences. I am committed to continue my effort to make a difference in the world through my songs. I am committed to continue waking up the spirits and educating audiences around the world. Most importantly, I am committed to representing this music that I love so much with honor, authenticity, freedom and passion.
LR: You invite your fans to experience the experience. How do you define that term?
JB: For me Les, it's all about given yourself permission to feel it anywhere your body, mind, spirit and soul to tell you to. It's all about feeling, moving, crying, laughing, dancing, clapping, screaming, jumping for joy, whatever the impulse is. Just letting the experience happen is what I invite people to do.
LR: What is your most memorable performance ever as an artist?
JB: Les, I have been blessed in that there are so many performances that I can identify as having been extreme spiritual moments. One is the show at the James L Knight Center in Miami on July 31st 1992 with Israel Cachao Lopez. This is the show that was filmed as part of the documentary Como Su Ritmo No Hay Dos. There are other shows with Cachao, Manny Oquendo y Libre, Ray Barretto, Ruben Blades and Fania Allstars that carry as much weight in this area of most memorable shows and then of course so many with my own band. One in particular, is the show I did in Vic de Fezensac in Southern France in the year 2000.
LR: Describe the ?in-your-face approach? to performing.
JB: It is just that. If you wear a wig and you are too close to the band it will be blown off. I often request that people in the audience at theaters strap themselves in for they are about to experience the ride of their lives. (Hearty laughter). This in your face expression merely suggests that it is music with an attitude, a NY attitude. At first, it almost scares the pants off of people with its intensity. But, almost immediately, this energy turns into a driving force of happy impulses that drive through the hearts, souls and bodies of everyone present. By now, there is an incredible amount of reciprocal love energy happening in every venue that I perform in with my band.
LR: Some fans refer to your popular ?chicken walk on stage?, with great enthusiasm. Can you describe this show specialty?
JB: (Laughing). You are cracking me up. (Laughing even harder). This is one of those spontaneous combustion types of things that happens usually coming out of trombone solo that has captured the enthusiasm of the audience. The room explodes and the moment is so pure that my horn goes down and, Voila, the chicken walk starts to happen out of pure happy energy.
LR: In the 1990?s, in the famous music documentary about Cachao, directed by Andy Garcia, one can witness a spectacular trombone performance by a young Jimmy Bosch. Did you learn anything from that experience, which helped shape today?s band leader Jimmy Bosch?
JB: That was in fact one of those moments that I talk about; a moment when you just know that the audience and I have connected on a spiritual level to the point of orgasmic proportions. Moments like these motivated me to launch my own band such that I could create more and more of these moments on a more regular basis.
LR: Your current lead singer is Rey Bayona, by many fans predicted to become the new Hector Lavoe. His witty lyrics and suave moves add a strong complement to your band. How, when, and where did you discover this one of a kind Master of showmanship?
JB: Rey Bayona has studied many of the great soneros of salsa music. His unique personality and voice resembles that of the great Hector Lavoe, as well as other great soneros. However, I dare say that he has matured into his very own and unique identity as a lead singer. Clearly the response of the fans around the world is such that he is acknowledged as a sonero del pueblo. I met Rey in NYC as he was performing with a few local bands. He has an amazing future ahead of him. I am blessed to have him with my band at this time.
LR: Your salsa dura style is becoming very popular among people from all backgrounds and nationalities. I recently spoke with a California medical doctor, who described your music as currently ?infecting? many of his colleagues, as well as himself. What is it about your style, which is so appealing and diverse to all kinds of people?
JB: My music, my approach, my delivery is all from the heart. It is sincere. It is pure in that I want to make a difference in people?s lives through my music. I think this is what is happening. People who listen to the CD's, come to my shows or hear my music on the radio or the web, can't help but to notice and experience the experience. They feel the passion in the depths of their own existence. This is what brings us together.
LR: Your fan base is rapidly growing on the West Coast. What are your hopes and plans there?
JB: Clearly, my hopes and plans are to visit the West Coast as often as possible this year. It is my vision that the West Coast is becoming an integral part of what makes my name and my music a household item worldwide. The West Coast is already a major part of my journey as an artist. The ground level being generated there is of great importance to me.
LR: What?s next for your home town of New York City?
JB: As evidenced on my website. We have created quite a stir here in the East Coast with various performances in NYC over the last few months. The dancers, the old timers, the younger audiences are all joining the salsa dura movement one way or the other. The level of excitement at all of my shows is high. There is a steady increase in the demand to see and hear my band live as everyone awaits the release of the next production.
LR: Are there any plans for a possible 2003 Tour of Europe again?
JB: I do expect to do a European tour in 2003. Talks have already begun with my agent in Italy to begin blocking out the dates. More information will be revealed soon on my website.
LR: Your intoxicating live music performances tend to make even the ?stiffest? of fans loosen up. It?s not unusual to see people who never in their lives danced before take on the dance floor. Is it necessary to know how to dance salsa to fully enjoy a Jimmy Bosch live event?
JB: Absolutely not!!!!!!!!!! I always invite the crowds throughout Europe for example to simply let the rhythms move them. Just let the passion take over. In fact, I challenge anyone to actually sit through a two hour concert. I frankly think that it is impossible. Give yourselves permission to Experience the Experience I always say.
LR: Is salsa dura music a good choice for the seasoned salsa dancer?
JB: Just ask the dancers around the world. More and more professional dancers from around the world send me emails and notes acknowledging me for recording such great music to dance to. The answer is a clear yes. This is totally music for the dancer, the listener and all others in between.
LR: You have a great website for your fans, which includes some video clips, as well as songs from your CD?s. Are you experiencing an increase in visitors to your site?
JB: Yes Les, as we continue to do all that we can to keep it interesting and informative for our fans. The word gets out more and more resulting in an increase of traffic to the site. We have just added hundreds of pictures to the site showing much of my journey over the years. It truly is a pleasure for me to share so much of my journey with the fan base.
LR: Jimmy, thank you for taking time out for this interview. You are always such a consummate Gentleman.
JB: Les, this was truly one of the more enjoyable interviews that I have done in a while. I hope that your readers are moved to visit my site, buy my CD's and ultimately come to my shows. Thank you for this opportunity to share with you some of my journey. Peace, love and respect.
More Jimmy Bosch at http://www.jimmybosch.com
Les Rivera is a freelance writer, covering New York-Puerto Rico-Cuba style salsa/mambo music, and the sport of boxing. He is also a Los Angeles salsa events promoter. You can reach him at:
firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.SalsaSexy.com