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Latin Patterns

Dan Weinstein's Viva explores the rhythms of a core passion.

May 26, 2000|ZAN STEWART | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Add Dan Weinstein's name to the list of should-be-better-known musical treasures populating the Southern California landscape.

A man for any sonic season, Weinstein is always involved in myriad activities. His recent assignments have included playing lead trombone with pop singer Bobby Caldwell and pianist Larry Harlow's Latin Legends, writing the arrangements for vocalist Al Martino's new big band album, "Style," arranging and playing violin in ace jazz trumpeter Jerry Rusch's string-spotlighted group, Zing!, and touring with the pop-fusion band Mandrill.

"Music's been my life's blood since I was 5, when I heard a concert featuring my dad, who was a clarinetist and who taught music at Van Nuys High School," said Weinstein, 45. "The hair stood up on the back of my neck, and ever since then, I wanted to do music."

Weinstein was born in Granada Hills and raised in Chatsworth, where he lives now with his wife, Socorro, their two daughters and his father. He will investigate a core passion when he appears with his Latin/jazz group Viva on Tuesday at Jax in Glendale.

He's been enthralled with Latin sounds since he was a teenager. His uncle, trombonist-flutist Mark Weinstein, performed and recorded with such notables as pianist Eddie Palmieri and flutist Herbie Mann. Dan Weinstein started to play in salsa bands in the late '70s.

Viva, which includes pianist J.R. Crawford, bassist John Belzaguy and percussionists David Romero and Aaron Singer, gives Weinstein an opportunity to explore distinctive aspects of his musical personality.

When playing violin, which he began studying at 7, he both improvises and delivers patterns as part of the rhythm section.

"For me, the charge is when the violin is locked in with the percussion," said Weinstein, whose Latin prowess can be heard on the recent CD "Cuban Roots Revisited."

On trombone, which he picked up in high school, Weinstein likes to solo with a laid-back rhythmic attitude. "That loose feeling swings like crazy, and the players respond immediately," he said. Weinstein said Viva offers a blend of originals such as his "King Conga" and wear-well standards such as "I Hear a Rhapsody" and Clare Fischer's lovely "Morning."

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In Brief: Larry Koonse, one of our town's top guitarists, plays duets with John Pisano on Guitar Night on Monday from 8:30 to 11:30 p.m. at Rocco Ristorante in Bel-Air. (310) 475-9807). On Tuesday at 9:30 p.m., another splendid guitarist, Ron Eschete, leads his trio at Rocco with bassist Todd Johnson and drummer Kendall Kay.

BE THERE

Dan Weinstein and Viva appear Tuesday from 9 p.m.-1:30 a.m. at Jax, 339 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale. No cover, no minimum. Call (818) 500-1604.

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Zan Stewart writes about jazz for the Valley Edition. He can be reached at Zansky@AOL.com.

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