Los Hombres Calientes
Los Hombres Calientes
The “Hot Men” of jazz, Los Hombres Calientes persist in delighting audiences with innovative multicultural entertainment, even tossing instruments to their audiences to encourage participation with the fun-loving and spirited band. This sensational New Orleans-based group hit the top 20 echelon of popular recording charts with their first album release, even prior to its distribution outside the state of Louisiana. The group performed initially as a one-night stand in 1998 and elicited such positive response, that it booked subsequent engagements. Barely two years later it had performed in France, England, and Mexico, with a United States tour scheduled for the spring of 2000. With its high-energy, New Orleans style dance-party format, Los Hombres Calientes consistently attracts a non-jazz crowd along with jazz purists.
The serendipitous six-member ensemble is a combination of some of the finest talent in the world of modern jazz, with trumpeter and founder Irvin Mayfield reverberating his horn against the rhythms of drummer Jason Marsalis and percussionist Bill Summers. Yvette Bostic-Summers enhances the percussion and adds vocals, with Victor “Red” Atkins on piano and Edwin Livingston on bass.
Mayfield, the driving force behind the band, was born in New Orleans in the late 1970s. He received a classical music education initially on the piano, and then on the trumpet, which he embraced at age seven. He attended high school at the distinguished New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts (NOCCA) and took part in the University of New Orleans Jazz Program along the way. He was a veteran performer before he was out of his teens, having jammed with Algiers Brass Band and Kermit Ruffins; Mayfield honed his horn sounds by performing at Donna’s and at Snug Harbor in New Orleans, Louisiana. In addition to his affiliation with Los Hombres, Mayfield performs with his own quintet and has appeared with the multi-talented Marsalis, including the Jason Marsalis Quintet, with Wessell Anderson, Nicholas Payton, Ruffins, and others. In 1999 Mayfield received New Orleans magazine’s honor as a Jazz All-star for contemporary and traditional jazz, and in 1999 he was filmed behind the scenes and during performances with Los Hombres for the Jazz Dreams documentary. Mayfield has recorded for Basin Street Records, Half Note, and for STR. He is a perennial performer in New Orleans—at Snug Harbor and the Funky Butt, in the French Quarter at Tipitina’s, in the Storytown district, and elsewhere around the area. Mayfield acknowledges Wynton Marsalis and Terence Blanchard as his mentors.
Drummer Jason Marsalis, born on March 4, 1977, is the youngest member of Los Hombres Calientes. He along with Mayfield and Summers, receives credit as one of the three core members of the band. Marsalis, who makes a lasting impression for his rhythmic rapport with percussionist Bill Summers, was highly influenced by Jeff “Tain” Watts. Additionally, Marsalis is the youngest of the talented Marsalis siblings, the sons of jazz master Ellis Marsalis. Barely into his twenties, Jason Marsalis during his early career performed with the Casa Samba percussion group and contributed to the Celtic styles of the Poor Clares. Marsalis, who released his first two solo albums on Basin Street Records, also performs regularly as a member of pianist Marcus Roberts’s band. Additionally Marsalis contributed to recordings with father and brother Bran-ford, and with Harolde Battiste among others. In 1997 Jason Marsalis was listed among New Orleans magazine All-Stars.
Percussionist Bill Summers contributes bongo, conga, and timbale to the unique sound of Los Hombres Calientes. Summers, another core member of the ensemble, was born in the late 1940s in Detroit, Michigan, and studied piano at the Detroit Observatory for ten years. As a young man he moved to San Francisco and signed with Prestige Records in 1977, and with MCA in 1981. His 1981 MCA hit song, “Call It What You Want,” reached number 16 on the top 20 jazz chart. He is best known for his Afro funk fusion style. In addition to his own funk band, Summers’ Heat, he is well remembered for his membership in Herbie Hancock’s Headhunters band and was heard on Chameleon, the Headhunters’ classic electro-fusion album released in the mid-1970s. Additionally, Summers worked with Johnny Hammond, Patrice Rushen, and Carl Anderson. Summers contributed to the soundtrack of the television miniseries Roots under the direction of Quincy Jones.
For The Record…
Members include Victor “Red” Atkins, piano; Yvette Bostic-Summers, vocals, percussion; Edwin Livingston (born in 1970 in Texarkana, TX; Education: Studied with Roger Fratena and Mark Foley; graduated Wichita State University; attended Southwest Texas State University), bass; Jason Marsalis (born on March 4, 1977; son of Ellis Marsalis; one of four siblings), drums; Irvin Mayfield (born in New Orleans, LA; Education: New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts; University of New Orleans), trumpet; Bill Summers (born in the late 1940s in Detroit, MI; Education: Detroit Observatory), bongos, conga, timbale.
Debuted at Snug Harbor in New Orleans, Louisiana, on February 7, 1998; signed with Basin Street Records, 1998; notable appearances at New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, 1998, 1999; Nantes, France, 1999; London, England, 1999; Jazz Aspen, 1999; Dominican Republic Jazz Festival, 1999.
Awards: Best of the Beat, Best New Latin Band, OffBeat, 1998; Best of the Beat, Best New Contemporary Jazz Band, OffBeat, 1998; Best of the Beat, Best Contemporary Jazz Album, OffBeat, 1998; Album of the Year, Jazzusa.com, 1998; Billboard Latin Music Award for Contemporary Latin Jazz Album of the Year, 1999; Best New Latin Band, OffBeat, 1999; Best New Contemporary Jazz Band, OffBeat, 1999; Talent Deserving Wider Recognition, Acoustic Jazz Group, Down Beat; Talent Deserving Wider Recognition, Beyond Group, Down Beat.
Addresses: Record company —Basin Street Records, 4151 Canal Street, Suite C, New Orleans, LA 70119, website: www.basinstreetrecords.com.
Sidemen and Ladies
Vocalist Yvette Bostic-Summers is a regular member of the lineup, despite the group’s “Hombres” name that implies all men. In complement to her vocals, she also displays her skill as a percussionist. Additionally, Bostic-Summers, along with her husband (Bill Summers) produced Los Hombres Calientes Volume 2.
Edwin Livingston ultimately settled into the bass player’s seat behind original member David Pulphus. Livingston, like Marsalis and Mayfield, is a child of the 1970s. He was born in Texarkana, Texas, and was raised in Garland, a suburb of Dallas. He played saxophone in the sixth grade, but soon discovered a discarded bass guitar around the house and started to take lessons. At Lakeview Centennial High School he switched to double bass at the urging of his music instructor. Livingston studied under Roger Fratena of the Dallas Symphony, a disciplined experience that excited Livingston’s interest in a career as a professional musician. After high school he attended Wichita State University where he studied under Mark Foley. After completing college, Livingston remained in Kansas where he served as artist-in-residence at Garden City Community College under the World Residency Act. He moved briefly to Colorado and then to Austin, Texas, where he performed in clubs while continuing his music education at Southwest Texas State University. In addition to Los Hombres, Livingston appears with alto saxophonist Wessell Anderson at assorted venues in Louisiana.
Also in Los Hombres’ lineup, pianist Atkins was the only non-core member to perform at the group’s exciting Snug Harbor debut in 1998; he was cited by New Orleans for his work on Los Hombres’ debut album, “a first class recording with classy keyboard work by Atkins.”
The group is a sum of parts that include of some of the finest entertainers in jazz, which makes for a special event whenever the entire sextet can see clear of their respectively busy individual schedules to perform together. Since the group’s February 7, 1998, debut at Snug Harbor, it has received warm welcomes at jazz clubs and rock clubs alike. Los Hombres Calientes effectively interprets samba, tango, bossa nova, blues, funk, reggae, and a new rhythm called songo, among other styles. Michael Point said in Down Beat that Los Hombres “tie together cultures with seamless sonic stitching.”
Yet even while the band members maintain the purity of Latin rhythms, they meld the dance songs with undertones of jazz, always to a gratifying effect. By March of 1998, Los Hombres Calientes was a headline act at the House of Blues and signed a contract with Basin Street Records. The band released a debut album not long afterward, which scaled the charts to settle in the top 25 on the Billboard jazz listing. In May of 1998 the group made a splash at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, and their album became the number one seller at the festival, not only that year, but for two years in succession, 1998-99. Additionally the group is well known at New Orleans’ Funky Butt on Congo Square.
November of 1999 brought the release of their second album, Los Hombres Calientes Volume 2, on which they introduced Livingston as bassist for the group. Also contributing to the mood on the 18-track follow-up album were the Louisiana Philharmonic String Quartet, Derwin Perkins on guitar, Cornell Williams on bass, Ronald Markham on keyboards, and Philip Manuel and Alain Fernandez on vocals.
Awards and Adulation
Within two years of the Los Hombres Snug Harbor debut, the group won an impressive collection of awards and nominations. In Down Beat, Los Hombres was cited in the critic’s poll as the Talent Deserving Wider Recognition in both the acoustic jazz and “beyond group” categories. The Times-Picayune of New Orleans cited the Los Hombres Calientes debut album as the Local CD of 1998, and the album was named Album of the Year by Jazzusa.com. Particularly impressive were the group’s five wins in the OffBeat Best of the Beat competition, as winner for Best New Latin band, Best New Contemporary Jazz Band, and Best Contemporary Jazz Album, along with runner-up citations for Best Contemporary Jazz Band and Best Latin Album. Additionally Los Hombres was nominated twice in 1999 for the Gambit Big Easy Entertainment Award. Los Hombres Calientes also received the award for Contemporary Latin Jazz Album of the Year at Billboard’s Latin Music Awards for 1999. The Summerses and Mayfield accepted the award on April 27, 2000.
Los Hombres Calientes, Basin Street Records, 1998.
Los Hombres Calientes Volume 2, Basin Street Records, 1999.
Billboard, November 27, 1999, p. 52; April 15, 2000, p. 42.
Down Beat, December 1998, p. 99; March 2000, p. 44-47, p. 67.
New Orleans, July 1998, p. 44; April 1999, p. 58.
All Music Guide, http://allmusic.com (May 19, 2000).
“Billboard’s Latin Jazz Album of the Year!” http://www.basinstreetrecords.com/loshombres.html (May 19, 2000).
“Congruent Angles,” Austin Chronicle, http://www.auschron.com/issues/vol18/issue07/music.Livingston.html (May 20,2000).
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