Tuesday, February 6, 2018

The Return of Sonoran Sol

It was the summer of 2006 and I had made the decision to post an ad in the musician's wanted section on Craig's List in Tucson. It was about a month before I was going to move my family from the Los Angeles area to the Tucson desert and one thing I learned about working in that highly competitive Los Angeles music scene was that if anyone was not on top of things that they would be left behind. Being a teacher even back in those days meant that I had some time on my hands so I figured it would be in my best interest to start networking for gigs in what was soon to be my music scene.

It was at this time that I met an amazing guitarist named Dan Griffin as he was one of the first few people to respond to my ad. Right away we seemed to be on the same page musically so we decided to get together some time after I was somewhat settled both at home and at work. Thanks to Dan I was able to meet some great musicians as we put this new Jazz/ Fusion band together. I came up with the name Sonoran Sol as I was thinking both about the desert we lived in and the fact that we had so much sun around here!

Prior to my move I have investigated the Tucson music scene and had some idea of the best places to play for such a musical group. Of course being a native of the Tucson area Dan gave me an even greater insight on what I needed to know before both of us got in touch with those in charge of booking bands and before we knew it our group shot out of the gates. We performed at a lot of city events, at the 4th Ave Street Festival, at local cafes and even a few times on public access television. Every time we performed we got great reviews and I credit the fact that Dan and I always recruited great players to work with us who not only had great talent who also carried themselves like real professionals.

Once things slowed down a bit thanks to the economic crash of 2008 our gigs were off and on and the nice thing about the way the band had always operated was that we never believed in what I call musical monogamy. In other words, everyone was allowed to work with other groups so long as they committed to whatever gigs Sonoran Sol had already booked. There were even times when we didn't work together for a couple of years because the reality for instrumental groups is that performance opportunities could be thin and that leads such musicians to look for work elsewhere. That or the fact that one of us scored a really good working gig for a while so we gave that person room to earn some money. In other words, it was never personal because that's just the way the music business works.

Of course now that I've been living in the Tucson area for over ten years, like Dan, I have made a lot of musical contacts over the years. And, since Sonoran Sol was always known to be a solid band these contacts always seemed to remember us when they needed a band like ours for an event.

One thing that I believe helped our band stand out was that Dan and I never wanted a group that focused on straight ahead Jazz or standard Latin tunes. We always wanted to have an edge to our sound so we always made the point to create our own arrangement of a famous standard while also adding funkier instrumental tracks such as Jeff Golub's version of "Cold Duck Time," Billy Cobham's "Crosswinds" or "Cissy Strut" by The Meters. In other words, our group has great energy but it's not overwhelming as we are always conscious of dynamics.

So as 2018 arrived we were all in one of those extended breaks when an email showed up in my inbox from a good friend named Jonas Hunter, who is someone we had worked with in the past. He was already looking for bands for his Summer Concert Series at Main Gate Square on University Blvd and once again asked if we were available. All it took was a simple text message to Dan and away we go...again! It also took Dan about ten minutes to recruit the amazing Bobby Elias to join us on bass guitar with all us being very excited about performing together.

We are scheduled to begin performing this coming April with our first performance being on the Tucson Morning Blend television show. We will then perform at The Artful Space before our scheduled performance at Main Gate Square. You can follow our updates as well as see our current performance schedule at: https://www.facebook.com/sonoransoltucson/ 

We are looking forward to seeing you all at one of our shows real soon.

Carlos Solorzano

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