Contact Napa Register for the original article ©2005 Napa Valley Register
"It wasn't clear on Thursday night if the crowd at Copia was happier because Jorge Santana had brought his seven-member Latin combo to town or that a talented young local trumpeter had been invited to display his ample talents with these big city pros.
At times, the extended applause and cheers seemed to be longer and louder for the young man with the horn - St. Helena's Roberto Gastelum - than for the veteran musicians headlining the show.
The occasion was another feather in the cap of Copia concert producer Richard Miami - getting exceptional guitarist Santana (who just happens to be the brother of the better known Latin rocker Carlos Santana) and a van full of crack urban musicians to appear as part of this summer's alfresco concert series in the grassy amphitheater.
A self-effacing musician who can really make a guitar talk, Jorge Santana never achieved the fame of his older brother - although his is as talented.
The youngest of three brothers, Jorge Santana had his greatest musical success as the leader of an early '70s Latin rock band, Malo. Their self-titled debut album, released in 1972, included the Top 20 hit, "Suavecito."
Jorge Santana played with Malo for a little over three years. Since then he's had his own bands and has performed often with his brother, Carlos. He's also recorded several albums, including 1978's "Jorge Santana" and 1979's "It's All About Love," both on Tomato Records.
In 1994, Jorge was on an album with Carlos and their nephew, Carlos Hernandez, entitled "The Santana Brothers" on Island Records. He still plays often with Malo, the enduring Latin rock band led by founder Arcelio Garia.
Serving up some tasty Latin rock and jazz, Jorge Santan's septet includes superb jazz saxophonist John Marin, swinging keyboardist Victor Bejarano, Marcus Lopez driving the bass line, exciting percussionist Silvestre Martinez, dynamic drummer Pepe Jacobo and vocalist Rene Peraza. The addition of Gastelum on a number of the songs the other night, gave the music added texture and exciting accents.
If I had to pick a hit, it would be with the vocalist who often tried to rest control from the bandleader. And the choice of songs seemed to rest at times with him, with Pereza inserting an original now and again. It turned out those were the weakest parts of the program - especially a tired song titled "Latin Woman," that might have well been left in the '70s or '80s, or whatever era it came from.
We did get to hear "Suavecito" three times - first when Gastelum made his initial entry; then with a reggae tempo (which is where the young St. Helena trumpeter really got to shine his jazz licks complementing Santana's fiery guitar solos); and finally as a departing encore.
The evening go off to a blistering start, with a couple of tunes that hopefully will be included on Jorge Santana's new recording. "El Fin" set the pace, and then the guitarist's "Intoxication" did as the title suggests - more than 400 of us got high on Santana's heady sound.
Copia welcomes a pair of favorites Thursday night, the Brian Cline Band and the Moonlight Dance Band, fronted by guitarist Leigh Wyckoff. Tickets are $20, and can be reserved at 259-1600 or by logging onto www.copia.org."