Upcoming Events

Winter Concert with guest Trombonist Francisco Torres

    Wednesday, February 26, 7:30 PM
    Dinkelspiel Auditorium, Stanford Campus
    Advance Tickets: $18 general/$13 seniors & students - Free with SUID!
    At The Door: $23 general/$18 seniors and students - Free with SUID!
    Tickets: Stanford Ticket Office Website or call (650)725-2787

The ensemble is excited to present guest trombonist Francisco Torres for a very special evening of music! Mr. Torres is perhaps best known as the long-time musical director, arranger and trombonist for the Grammy-winning Poncho Sanchez Latin Jazz Band. Through his work with Poncho and others, he helped to pioneer the unique and instantly identifiable 'West Coast Latin Jazz' sound.

Don't miss this special collaboration! The music is guaranteed to make you want to jump out of your seat. The group will be performing several of his compositions and arrangements, all with Mr. Torres at the helm! The selected repertoire will showcase the full range of his prowess in the Jazz and Latin musical idioms. We'll be playing a few classics too, for those who have heard Mr. Torres before.

Mr. Torres has countless recordings, composing and arranging credits, not only Latin Jazz, but traditional Jazz and classical music as well. He has recorded or performed with jazz legends Arturo Sandoval, Joey Defrancesco, Natalie Cole, Doc Severinsen, Terence Blanchard, as well as Santana, Aretha Franklin, Jennifer Lopez, Johnny Mathis and many others. In the commercial world, he has appeared with different artists on the Tonight Show, Saturday Night Live, the Late Late Show, and Jimmy Kimmel.

Notable Past Performances

"History of the Latin Tinge"
Winter 2019 Guest Artist Concert with Ray Vega


Join us for a special evening of Latin Jazz featuring virtuoso trumpeter Ray Vega as he makes a rare West Coast appearance with the Stanford Afro-Latin Jazz Ensemble. Mr. Vega is an iconic figure in the idiom, having served long stints in the bands of Tito Puente, Mongo Santamaria, Ray Baretto, and Mario Bauza. Equally adept in both traditional Latin music and jazz, Mr. Vega is internationally recognized as a key innovator and pioneer in his own right, having released four critically-acclaimed records as a bandleader combining the best of both worlds. The evening’s program, entitled “History of Latin Tinge”, will include Vega’s unique arrangements of several seminal works by famous Jazz artists such as Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker and John Coltrane recast with a Latin flavor. Throughout the program, listeners will be able to hear the key connections between the music of Latin and North America. The repertoire should appeal to listeners and dancers alike, and we guarantee you’ll be moving in your seat!

"Latin Jazz, Jazz Latin"
Winter 2018 Guest Artist Concert with John Santos


Join us for a very special concert collaboration featuring master percussionist John Santos. A seven-time Grammy nominee, John Santos is widely regarded as one of the foremost exponents of Afro-Latin music in the world today. The evening features repertoire specifically prepared by Mr. Santos designed to showcase the deep syncretization of Latin American and North American musical idioms. The program largely consists of rarely-performed original music designed to both perk up your ears and tempt you to get up of your seat! Mr. Santos' mastery of all Afro-Latin percussion instruments will be on full display in this rare performance.

Mr. Santos is known for his innovative use of traditional forms and instruments in combination with contemporary music, and has earned international recognition as a performer, composer, writer and educator. The ensemble is excited to present this Bay Area treasure to the Stanford community.

"Talking Drums"
Spring 2017 Guest Artist Concert with Michael Spiro and Jesus Diaz


Our 2017 guest artist concert featured a rare collaboration between two of the world’s greatest percussionists, Jesus Diaz and Michael Spiro. Together, they showcased the role of percussion throughout the history of Afro-Latin jazz - from its African folkloric roots, through the Rumba traditions of Latin America, and finally to the ultra-modern Cuban Timba and Rumba Jazz sound. The repertoire consisted of Mr. Diaz’s original funky salsa timba compositions and pure percussion/vocal pieces out of the Afro-Latin tradition, making for a truly unique evening. Michael Spiro is an internationally recognized percussionist, educator and recording artist. He is a ten-time Grammy nominee and has produced and performed on several seminal recordings in the Latin music genre, including the CD “Canto América” which was recently nominated for a 2017 Grammy in the Latin Jazz category. Multi-instrumentalist, arranger, and vocalist Jesus Díaz has established himself as one of the most in-demand performers, educators and studio musicians worldwide. Mr. Diaz has performed, toured or recorded with such artists as Stevie Wonder, The Dave Mathews Band (DMB), Carlos Santana, Andy Narrell, Dizzy Gillespie, Steve Coleman, José Luis Quintana (“Changuito”), and Giovanni Hidalgo.

"An Evening with Oscar Hernández"
Winter 2016 Guest Artist Concert with leader of the Spanish Harlem Orchestra


Our yearly guest artist concert features a gentleman who has long been considered one of the most prominent composers and performers on the Latin Jazz and Salsa music scene. His contributions to the genre span five decades including collaborations with Ruben Blades, Tito Puente, Celia Cruz, Ray Baretto, and Gloria Estefan. Since its inception in the early 1980's, Oscar has also been responsible for charting the musical course of the Rubén Blades Band. He is also an in-demand session player, arranger and producer for projects such as Broadway musicals, hit shows, and film documentaries. The evening's program program included several pieces that Mr. Hernández has specifically written and arranged for the Ensemble.

"Afro-Cuban Flute Summit"
Spring 2015 Guest Artist Concert with Andrea Brachfeld and John Calloway


Our yearly guest artist concert featured not one but two masters of Latin Jazz flute, Andrea Brachfeld and John Calloway, in a rare collaboration! Both world-class artists are considered to be pioneers of their craft. The concert featured several of their original compositions and arrangments, and it ended with a fantastic flute duel in which Andrea and John traded ever-greater dazzling solo phrases.

Winter 2014 Guest Artist Concert with Karl Perazzo

Our yearly guest artist concert with percussionist Karl Perazzo was quite amazing! Mr. Perazzo was able to fully showcase his artistry well beyond what he displays on a nightly basis as the timbalero for guitarist Carlos Santana. Showing his full range on bongo, timbales, congas and vocals, Mr. Perazzo's multiple talents were on full display with the group!

"Left Coast/Right Coast"
Spring 2013 Concert with Ray Vega


Our recently completed spring concert with trumpeter Ray Vega was a huge success -- he rocked the house! In addition to displaying his virtuoso talents on trumpet and flugelhorn, he proved to be quite an entertainer! At once humorous and serious, Mr. Vega's also gave the audience a mini-education in the history of Latin jazz, drawing from his first-experiences with bands such as the Tito Puente, Ray Baretto, Mario Bauza and Mongo Santamaria orchestras. The ensemble also turned in a stellar performance, both individually and collectively.

"El Titan de Trombon"
Spring 2012 Concert with Doug Beavers


Master trombonist/arranger Doug Beavers is be the featured guest artist for our Spring Concert. Originally from the Bay Area, Mr. Beavers is internationally recognized as one of the top trombonists in the Latin Jazz genre. The concert showcases Doug both as a performer and arranger - the repertoire for the evening includes several pieces that he has specifically orchestrated for the Stanford group. Join us for an special, exciting evening of cutting edge Salsa and Latin Jazz! Dancing in the aisles is not only allowed, it's encouraged!

Mr. Beavers is the driving force behind 9-time Grammy winner Eddie Palmieri's La Perfecta II band, inspiring the latter to reform the band through Doug's transcriptions and arrangements of the original group's repertoire. Doug went onto to tour extensively with the group, winning a Grammy with Palmieri for his work on his 2005 release, Listen Here.

Beavers has since established his own solo career, becoming universally recognized as a cutting-edge trombonist and "an arranger of the first-class" (Harvey Siders, JazzTimes). He has performed and arranged for the likes of Rosemary Clooney, Gilberto Santa Rosa, Don Omar, Sheila E., Mingus Big Band,and Spanish Harlem Orchestra. In addition to receiving several orchestral commissions for arranging and composition, he has released three solo projects. Finally, Mr. Beavers has maintained his west coast roots as he leads Conjunto Rovira, a Bay Area based band that plays cutting-edge salsa.

Currently based in New York City, Doug Beavers has established the Harlem School of Urban Music and Recording Arts, enabling urban students of Harlem and the South Bronx to study their own specific brand of urban jazz, salsa, hip-hop, and rock, through a program of formal music and production training.

"Latin Jazz: Beyond the Americas"
Winter Concert with Marc and Paul Van Wageningen - Winter 2011


We are excited to announce our winter concert guest artists -- the fantastic "VW Brothers". We will be performing several of their challenging original compositions that go beyond the traditional boundaries of Latin Jazz in the Americas, drawing from musical influences from all ports of the world.

Originally born in the Netherlands, Marc and Paul VW have been instrumental in shaping the Bay Area Latin Jazz sound since their arrival in the US in the 1980's. They have been key ingredients for recordings and performances with such several internationally known musicians such as Pete Escovedo, John Santos, Mark Levine, Paquito D'Rivera, Carribean Jazz Project, Nestor Torres, Dori Caymmi, Francisco Aguabella and Jovino Santos Neto. Beyond Latin Jazz, they have shaped the sound of jazz, funk and fusion artists such as Tower of Power, George Duke, Sheila E, Stan Getz, Andy Narell, Sheila E., Diane Reeves, and Tom Coster. Their unique, identifiable approach has been the backbone of the Bay Area Latin & Jazz scene for the past 25 years.

Recently, Marc and Paul has stepped out as co-bandleaders, with the release of their critically-acclaimed debut-CD, 'Muziek'. The recording showcases their versatility, virtuosity and composition talents in a very multi-faceted project that cannot be easily classified. In this rare collaborative concert Marc and Paul share their talent with the Stanford Afro-Latin Jazz Ensemble!

Stanford Afro-Latin Jazz Ensemble Spring Concert with Guest Percussionist John Santos - Spring 2010

Join 4-time Grammy nominated master percussionist John Santos as he collaborates with Stanford Afro-Latin Jazz Ensemble for a special performance. Mr. Santos is regarded as one of the most influential figures in Latin Jazz on the West Coast through his leadership of groundbreaking groups such as Machete Ensemble. The program will include several compositions by Mr. Santos. He will be performing on a variety of instruments and will be playing a diverse range of music styles spanning multiple eras of Afro-Cuban music and its fusion with jazz.

Artist Bios:
Four-time Grammy-nominated percussionist and US Artists Fontanals Fellow, John Santos is a major exponent of Afro-Latin music. He's been a prolific performer, composer, teacher, writer, radio programmer, and record/event producer in the San Francisco Bay Area for over 30 years, having worked with acknowledged masters such as Cachao, Dizzy Gillespie, Tito Puente, Bebo Valdés, Max Roach, Eddie Palmieri, Patato Valdés, Francisco Aguabella, Steve Turre, McCoy Tyner, Batacumbele, Omar Sosa, and Carlos Santana. John was a member of the Latin Jazz Advisory Committee of the Smithsonian Institution. He has conducted countless workshops, lectures and clinics in the US, Latin America and Europe since 1972, and was the founder and director of the internationally renowned, Grammy-nominated Machete Ensemble (1985-2006).

The Stanford Latin Jazz Ensemble, formed in 2008 by director Murray Low, has rapidly progressed into being one of the finest academic performing groups of its kind. The group was awarded a prestigious SiCa grant for the current academic year, which has allowed its members to receive instruction from master clinicians.

"Masters of Latin Jazz Concert" - Ray Vega, John Calloway, and Jesus Diaz performing with the Stanford Afro-Latin Jazz Ensemble - Winter 2010

Artist Bios:
Trumpeter Ray Vega is perhaps best known for his lead trumpet work with Tito Puente and stints with Mongo Santamaria and Mario Bauza. He is a master of both latin and jazz styles and a bandleader in his own right with four albums to his credit. He is also serves as a full time senior lecturer at UVM, where he teaches Jazz History, directs all small Jazz Combos as well as The Jazz/Classical Trumpet Studio.

Flautist and multi-instrumentalist John Calloway is a seminal figure in the West Coast Latin Jazz scene, having made major performance and compositional contributions to such bands as Machete Ensemble. He also has two critically acclaimed albums to his credit as a leader, and currently serves as an arts commissioner for the city of San Francisco.

Cuban-born percussionist Jesus Diaz is world-renown for his innovative work bringing a contemporary Cuban sound into US salsa, funk, jazz and latin jazz. His band QBA is generally regarded as one of the finest Timba bands in the United States, and he is the publisher of several percussion books and other instructional materials.

The Stanford Latin Jazz Ensemble, formed in 2008 by director Murray Low, has rapidly progressed into being one of the finest academic performing groups of its kind. The group was awarded a prestigious SiCa grant for the current academic year, which has allowed its members to receive instruction from master clinicians.

"The Anatomy of Latin Jazz" presented by John Santos - Spring 2010

Join John Santos as he illuminates the great tradition of Latin Jazz from his special perspective as a respected practitioner, producer, composer and educator. Rare and current recordings will be used to examine the Cuban and other roots of this prolific pan-American art form. John will outline many of the social and economic conditions that spawned Latin Jazz and its contemporary evolution, revealing the symbiotic relationship of Caribbean music and jazz. Participants will see how Jazz and Latin American music have significantly influenced one another since the late 19th century.

John's Bio:
Five-time Grammy-nominated percussionist and US Artists Fontanals Fellow, John Santos is a major exponent of Afro-Latin music. He's been a prolific performer, composer, teacher, writer, radio programmer, and record/event producer in the San Francisco Bay Area for over 30 years, having worked with acknowledged masters such as Cachao, Dizzy Gillespie, Tito Puente, Bebo Valdés, Max Roach, Eddie Palmieri, Patato Valdés, Francisco Aguabella, Steve Turre, McCoy Tyner, Batacumbele, Omar Sosa, and Carlos Santana. John was a member of the Latin Jazz Advisory Committee of the Smithsonian Institution. He has conducted countless workshops, lectures and clinics in the US, Latin America and Europe since 1972, and was the founder and director of the internationally renowned, Grammy-nominated Machete Ensemble (1985-2006).

"New York Roots of Latin Jazz" presented by Ray Vega - Winter 2010

Musician/Educator Ray Vega discusses the cultural and musical influences that combined together in New York City causing a new genre of music to be born: Latin Jazz. Born and raised in the Bronx, Mr. Vega possesses first-hand, extensive experience in how this music came to be and how it evolved, through his work as trumpeter for Tito Puente, Mongo Santamaria, Mario Bauza and the Duke Ellington Orchestra.

Mr. Vega traces the idiom's humble beginnings via artists such as James Reese Europe, Fletcher Henderson and Duke Ellington; explores its development through Machito, Mario Bauza, Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker; and finally illustrates its current evolution up to Jerry Gonzalez and The Fort Apache Band and beyond. Vega will address several key conceptual aspects that define Latin Jazz and talk about the masters of the idiom who have helped to pave the way for future generations to follow. Participants will get a chance to listen to several examples and will gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for the richness of Latin Jazz music.

Ray Vega's participation in this lecture is generously supported in part by The University of Vermont (UVM). Ray Vega serves as a full time senior lecturer at UVM, where he teaches Jazz History, directs all small Jazz Combos as well as The Jazz/Classical Trumpet Studio.

Ray's Bio:
A native of the South Bronx, Ray Vega is a veteran of the bands of Tito Puente, Ray Barretto, Mongo Santamaria, Mario Bauza, Luis "Perico" Ortiz, Hector LaVoe, and Johnny Pacheco. A multi-talented trumpeter, composer and arranger, Mr. Vega has now established himself as one of the innovators of the New York Jazz and Latin music scenes, presenting both from an original and contemporary perspective. His four CD releases as a leader have been well received by critics, musicians and audiences alike.

"The Origins and Role of the Flute in Afro-Cuban Music: 1900-Present" presented by Andrea Brachfeld - Winter 2010

Andrea Brachfeld, the first lady of the Cuban Flute, presents a workshop that examines the chronological development of the flute in Afro-Cuban Music. Ms. Brachfeld examines the integral role of the flute starting with the Cuban popular music scene in the nineteenth century, through the eras of the danzon, charanga, son, mambo, and finally to modern-day salsa and Latin Jazz. Significant musicians and composers, rare footage of authentic Cuban Charanga bands, and key historical written documents will be shared and discussed. Participants will listen to several examples of flute performances from several eras and gain a full appreciation of the importance of the flute to the Cuban musical genre, past and present.

Andrea's Bio:
Andrea Brachfeld is generally regarded as one of the most important flutists in the history of New York Latin Jazz scene. She is the recipient of the Chico O'Farell Lifetime Achievement Award for Latin Jazz, has twice received the Latin New York Music Award for flute, and is the recipient of the "Women in Salsa Award" from the Salsation organization in Washington DC. Her role in the famous latin band Charanga 76 catapulted her into salsa history as the first female flutist to play Cuban music in the US. She is the leader of the Latin Jazz group "Phoenix Rising", and has 4 CD's out as a bandleader.

Stanford/San Jose State Latin Jazz Ensemble Joint Concert - Spring 2009

We will be performing at San Jose State in a joint concert with their Afro-Latin Jazz Ensemble. Each group will be performing a set on their own, and then the concert will end with a blowout with both groups at once. SJS came to Stanford last year, and so they are returning the favor in a true battle of the Latin Jazz bands. The groups are very different in their approach and if you attend you will get a chance to compare and contrast.

COHO Sunday Afternoon Latin Jazz Series - Spring 2011

We are proud to be a part of a new Sunday afternoon latin jazz series sponsored by the Stanford Coffee House. There will be four performances during the spring quarter roughly every other week. Three of the concerts will be by us, and the fourth by the campus Brazilian jazz group. If you missed our sold-out Winter Concert, this series is a chance to see the band given an encore performance, completely free of charge! Feel free to stop by, order some food and drink, and listen to the band in the Coho's relaxed, informal atmostphere.