The Makings of a Great Summer Memory in the Land of 1000 Dances

The Anthony Prieto Band help the Marines rock Reseda, California

By Frankie Firme ~ Contributing Editor
Published on LatinoLA: July 19, 2009

The Makings of a Great Summer Memory in the Land of 1000 Dances

The Land of 1000 Dances remains alive and cool, with some great entertainment venues and talent doing their thing despite triple digit heat even after dark and a killer economy that has many of us arising with some not so good words on our minds...

Luckily for so many of us, there's music & dancing in the City of Angels that helps take our mind off the economy and heat , and this piece is about such an occasion that I just gotta share with you, mi Gente, because it was, as they say in L.A., "off the chain"

Last Friday, as heavy hitters like TIERRA, EL CHICANO, SUSIE HANSEN, SOTO, The COMPANY BAND, LOUIE PARRA & THE MAD LATINS, GILBERT ESQUIVEL, and many other popular & hard hitting dance/party bands plied their trade for the Gente throughout the southland, a lucky few were fortunate to hang out with the San Fernando Valley Marine Corps League as they welcomed Santa Barbara's ANTHONY PRIETO Band to Reseda.

Relative newcomers to the Land of 1000 Dances, despite recording 2 successful albums and a popular following in Santa Barbara and the central coast for many years, the Anthony Prieto Band came to L.A. loaded for bear and ready to play, 11 strong, armed with a refreshing repetiore of cleanly re-arranged popular cover tunes, snappy original tunes, lively stage presence,and a fresh brass section that would make the "big boys" sit up and take notice.

I'm hoping that my friends in such powerful groups as TIERRA, TOWER OF POWER , TORTILLA FACTORY and BARELA are reading this, because I meant that last statement with all sincerity , and respect to you and the inspiration you've given these guys....ya should of been there!

After a butt kicking performance the week before in the Inland Empire of San Bernardino, the AP BAND came to ply their trade and work their magic in the San Fernando Valley...and I was fortunate to share a stage with them and enjoy their live music for a second week in a row.

... What can I say ? Some guys just live right when there's music & ritmo in your soul!...and it doesn't hurt that these guys show class & professional humility while inviting me and many others to call them friends.

Dedicating the night and their performance to our brave men & women serving overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Anthony Prieto Band made friends from the start, and it only got better as the night evolved.

Along with dynamic lead vocalist & band leader Anthony Prieto, the band is also comprised of some of Santa Barbara's best talent including singer-song writer-guitarist Carlos Guillen , vocalist Denise Herrera, suave bass man Jose Gaurdiola, drummer Manny Raygoza, keyboard player Dorrien Schuyler, renowned L.A. percussionist "Conga Ray " Ybarra , and a killer 4 piece brass section led by trombonist Eric Heidner, that includes David Lopez on trumpet, Jake Bonneau on baritone saxophone, and a dazzling newcomer that stole the show at one point, 19 year old Jared Yee on saxophone.

What these guys and a gal can do to cover tunes by WAR, EARTH, WIND, & FIRE, KOOL & THE GANG, MALO, and SELENA while struttin' their stuff on stage is nothing but "wow" , but the real story here is their refreshing original tunes that opened eyes and got attention on this warm summer night.

Most of them, if not all of them, written by talented & blessed lead guitarist Carlos Guilen, with masterful horn arrangements by Sir Eric Heidner, the cool, west coast Chicano sound is epitomized in such tunes as " Cruisin' ", "Hot summer nights" , " Ven y baila en Santa Barbara", and "Do you right".

While the combined vocal harmonies of Anthony , Denise, Carlos, and Jose dazzled the Gente most of the night, one of the high points came when the band went into nuclear mode and gave up a heart rendering version of their original tune "When I get home to you".

A beautiful and touching ballad written by Carlos Guillen & Javier Gutierrez, all talking & dancing in the house ceased, and all eyes & ears focused on the stage, as Jared Yee poured his heart out in one of the best romantic saxophone solos I've ever heard (and I've heard some of the "greats") , as the band sensually swayed in unison on stage with harmonious background vocals that earned them a standing ovation when the song ended...a truly magical moment as the band absorbed the love of the house that prompted Marine Corps League Commandant Bennie Najar Jr. to come up on stage and present the band with a certificate of appreciation earlier than planned.

"Man! I haven't heard music that sweet & powerful in a long time", Commandant Najar extolled on stage. " I couldn't let the magic of the moment get away ".

Like all good rides and all good songs, the moment came where the night had to end, and we all left with a memorable music experience.

I've been fortunate to have played Anthony Prieto Band music on my radio shows and catch these guys live for the past 6 years, but tonight was different...tonight was magic...tonight was a memory!

Thanks, guys! The MARINES salute you !...Santa Barbara is one lucky town!

Note: Contact info for the Anthony Prieto Band : lacimamusic@hotmail.com

About Frankie Firme ~ Contributing Editor:
Frankie Firme is the Al Capone of the microphone & the Hitman of West Coast Chicano Soul. Radio personality, author, and regular contributor to this popular web magazine.
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