At a club packed to the rafters Thursday night, Quetzal celebrated the release of its new album with a joyful and passionate performance that cemented its place as the premiere L.A. Chicano band of its generation.
Don't think Santana or Los Lobos. This polished, nine-piece outfit plays what you might call jarocho hip, an original blend of Mexican folklorico, Caribbean rhythms and American rock, all grounded in the Zapatista politics of its intense founder, guitarist Quetzal Flores.
Revolution hasn't been this much fun since the '60s.
Quetzal is a cool and classy band. On stage Thursday at Cafe Club Fais Do Do, they demonstrated the qualities that make them so appealing: Rich songwriting, enchanting arrangements and serious musicianship.
It's all strings and percussion, with Flores on jarana, a small Mexican guitar, the smooth Ray Sandoval on electric guitar and the skillful Kiko Cornejo Jr. on a drums-timbal combination in the style of modern Cuban timba bands. Dante Pascuzzo played the unusual six-string bass, picking it like a classical guitar during a show-stopping solo.