The Jazzcat

Louie Cruz Beltran with the USC Jazz Combo at the LAX Westin

by on Oct.14, 2004, under News


Additional Photos

The temperature is hot! Louie Cruz Beltran and his nine

piece Latin jazz ensemble are on fire here at the Los Angeles Airport Westin

Hotel tonight. The music and the musicians are spilling way out into the aisles

of the lobby. From note numero uno, the Westin is no longer a hotel, it has

transformed into a Latin jazz jam paradise.


This band is fueled on percussive rhythm and with a funky

horn section as well. Heads are groovin’ about four extra inches in radius than

normal. Tonight we have vibes, timbales, cowbells, tenor, trombone, congas,

bongos, piano, bass, drums, vocals and all of the ingredients for a fine super

caliente performance.


Not only does the band have a good sound, it looks like they

have a great time playing together as well. Louie likes to have fun with his

audience. A little humor brings about smiles and laughter to go along with a

great vibe and good music.


On the break were more students from the USC School

of jazz directed by David Arnay. This group of players certainly knows how to

select the right music. It is almost impossible to go wrong when you are

blowin’ Shorter and Monk tunes. It sounds like these students had time to

rehearse and the performance sounds pro!


Louie comes back playing with more Latin soul. Incorporating

the influence of Willie Bo Bo and doing pieces like Benny Golson’s “Killer

Joe”, Horace Silver’s “Song for My Father” and Kenny Dorham’s “Blue Bossa” made

the night a rhythmic success. There were moments where there was some intense

percussive energy emanating from the band. The played some pretty ballads as

well. Another fine night of music at the Westin!


The music at the Westin is from 6pm – 10pm and is absolutely

free and so is the parking. So, come on out and experience some fine jazz music.

I will see you there!


LeRoy Downs

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