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Grammy Nominated


Mongorama honors the early 1960's charanga/jazz explorations of legendary conguero, Mongo Santamaria. Mongo arrived in New York City in 1950 and became Tito Puente's conguero.            In 1957, Mongo joined Cal Tjader's band and quickly became well-known in the Jazz world. In 1960, with his new Jazz fame, Mongo began a new group integrating Cuban-charanga rhythms with Jazz. The stand- out stars in this group were tenor saxophonist Chombo Silva, flautist Rolando Lozano, and violinist PupiLegaretta. We have our three with tenor saxophonist Justo Almario, flautist Danilo Lozano (Rolando's son), violinist Dayren Santamaria(not related to Mongo) and formidable musicians Ramon Banda (timbales), Joey De Leon (congas), Joe Rotondi (piano), Alfredo Ortiz (guiro/bongo/vocals), James Zavaleta (lead vocals), George Ortiz (timbales), and Ross Schodek (bass). By modernizing and modifying these elements we created Mongorama, attempting to preserve that classic Mongo sound of the 1960's, but yet creating something new.      


For detail information of our latest CD........                               



Jose Rizo’s “Jazz on the Latin Side All Stars” is a 15-piece all-star ensemble made up of legendary figures, world-class studio musicians, great jazz artists, and popular bandleaders.  This tight ensemble was formed a few months after a big jam session at B. B. Kings on the Universal City Walk in the Los Angeles area.

Bandleader/jazz radio announcer Jose Rizo named the band after his latin jazz radio program “Jazz on the Latin Side” on KKJZ 88.1 FM (KJazz) in Long Beach, California.  The “Jazz on the Latin Side All Stars” proudly represent KJazz where ever they perform.  This versatile ensemble feels as comfortable playing progressive latin jazz as it does playing tremendous salsa dura.


Ensemble members and rotating members include Justo Almario (tenor sax), Marvin “Smitty” Smith (drums), Danilo Lozano (flute / musical director), Poncho Sanchez (congas), Alex Acuna (drums), James Zavaleta (lead vocals / timbales), Francisco Torres (trombone / prime arranger), Rene Camacho (bass), Sal Cracchiolo (trumpet), Kamasi Washington (alto sax), Scott Martin (baritone sax), Gilbert Castellanos (trumpet), Eric Jorgensen (trombone), Joey De Leon (congas), Alfredo Ortiz (bongo / vocals), Andy Martin (trombone), Jimmy Branly (timbales), Joe Rotondi (piano), Mahesh Balasooriya (piano), and Luis Eric Gonzalez (trumpet).


“The Last Bullfighter”, their first recording as an ensemble, reached #10 on the national jazz charts (Jazz Week). This CD included popular originals like “The Last Bullfighter”, “Sun God”, “Cozumel”, “Justo’s Trane Ride”, “Mr. Drop”, “Ironman James”,  and  “Chupacabras”, as well as recording exciting versions of Dizzy’s “Bebop”, Lee Morgan’s “Caramba”, Machito’s “Yo Soy la Rumba” and “Saoco”.


The “Jazz on the Latin Side All Stars” have recently performed at “The Playboy Jazz Festival” at the Hollywood Bowl, Central Avenue Jazz Festival, Jazz at Drew, Yoshi’s in Oakland, John Anson Ford Amphitheatre, The Jazz Bakery, Catalina Jazz Club, Steamer’s Jazz Club, The Brownsville Latin Jazz Festival,  Greek Theatre, Jazz A’Live Festival, San Antonio- TX, and Lionel Hampton Jazz Fest (Idaho).


The new CD “Tambolero” remained for weeks on the national top-50 jazz charts (Jazz Week), debuting at #29 and reaching #11.  “Tambolero” includes a new set of originals like “Granizo”, “Amanecer”, “Danilo en la Flauta”, “Senor Olmos” (dedicated to actor Edward James Olmos), and the rumba “Buscando al Curandero” (featuring Francisco Aguabella). “Tambolero” also includes exciting versions of Wayne Shorter’s “Yes or No”, Charlie Parker’s “Ah Leu Cha”, Poncho Sanchez’s “Baila Mi Gente” (with Ponch Sanchez), and little-recorded salsa classics like “El Eco del Tambo” and “Mama Vieja”.  Many consider the “Tambolero” CD as the best-to-date from this historically significant jazz ensemble.  Both CD’s were recorded under Jose and Leticia Rizo’s own label, ‘Saungu Records”.  

Bandleader/jazz radio announcer Jose Rizo naked the band after his latin 

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