SMC Spring Jazz Series Continues with Style

Dressed in pressed and tailored suits, the Gilbert Castellanos Quintet had an excellent performance the evening of Friday, March 11, at Santa Monica College's Concert Hall. From the moment the band began to play, the audience became enchanted and hung on to every note.

The first song that they played was a sweet melody entitled "Song in My Heart," and it was the perfect beginning for a night full of fabulous music. The music spoke for itself. Castellanos, the trumpeter, puffed his cheeks and his song plunged from every pore.

All of the musicians played a major role in the success of the night. Harish Raghavan, the bass player, shined with every note played on the large instrument. Mikah Zlatkovich's talent on the piano helped the music flow into every solo.

Baritone-sax player Adam Schroeder stood out from the rest because of his height, standing over six feet tall, and his playing only made his appearance a bit more exotic. Drummer Kevin Kanner pounded out an incredible solo for almost every song played.

All of the musicians where outstanding and artistically perfect in their own right. The night was smooth and the environment lacked absolutely nothing.

Another song played was entitled "Portrait of Jenny." It started slow and beautiful, eventually giving way to an awesome melody. The only thing missing seemed to be a poet and a cup of tea. The scene definitely encouraged a new wave of jazz. Also, giving homage to past jazz artists, the quintet put forth a sense of the jazz gods Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis.

Castellanos stood out from the rest, simply due to his background. There was really nothing known about him at first, then with the opportunity to engage in a conversation backstage, there was much more discovered. Castellanos has an immense background in music, and it shows through his life's calling.

His father, Gilbert Castellanos Sr. started a band in Mexico, and had some popular records in the late 1960's. Castellanos Jr. then followed his footsteps and began playing at a young age. He has recorded with major studios, such as Columbia and Impulse.

Castellanos put out two albums with the Black/Note Quintet named, "Jungle Fever," and "Nothing but the Swing." You can also find his horn playing on numerous collaborations, from hip-hop to fusion rock, the newest jazz.

His resume is full of excellent references and his career is an amazing feat. Anyone interested in jazz should have his name stored in his or her memory bank, never to be forgotten, and always to be seen when he comes to town.