Last night, the Lovely Mona, along with Keith and Joyce Green, attended Jazz and Gospel show in honor of two of Panamá's best jazz musicians: Dino Nugent and Ricardo "Ricky" Staples. The program was put on by Martha Productions Entertainment, an entertainment company owned by two members of Parroquia San Cristóbal: Martha and Ronaldo Olton. They put on the Día Etnica Negra program in May each year. Many members of the parish were there because they love jazz and because Ricky is one of our own. Dino Nugent is an incredible pianist, arranger, composer and conductor. His mom is a good friend of Padre y the Lovely Mona, and she is a member of Iglesia San Juan, the first church at which we served in Panamá. Ricky Staples plays drums at San Cristóbal every Sunday (I can't believe he enjoys playing with me!).
The show started with some acapella gospel performed by Hijos de Rey, who were joined by my friend Macellino Marshall. They were followed by the Joshua Violins Trio who performed two numbers. Alfonso Lewis, who seems to perform at every gathering of the Afroantillano Community here, performed three numbers, and then was joined by Emily Niles, an incredible singer. Alfonso plays saxophones, but he also plays keyboards, bass, trumpet and almost anything else which can produce more than three notes. Martha was calling him "Panama's Kenny G" but he's a lot better than Kenny G. Plus, I like Alfonso Lewis and can't stand Kenny G.
After Dino and Ricky were given their awards and said a few words, they got down to the important business of jamming. They were joined by Hernan "Chispa" Lawson on electric bass (he works with Dino all the time) and Juan Carlos "Wichy" Lopez on trumpet and fluglehorn. Wichy is from Cuba and has played with everyone: Cheo Feliciano, Celia Cruz, Ruben Blades, Victor Manuell, and Gilberto Santa Rosa. The band was just amazing. Ricky is the only drummer I know who will suddenly place his sticks or brushes in the pocket of his jacket and just start slapping that drum kit with his bare hands!
It was a great show and I've got photos to prove it!
Martha Olton welcoming everyone
Sue Rensberger and the Lovely Mona
Joyce and Keith Green
Ricky Staples with Ronaldo and Martha Olton
Dino, Ricky, and Chispa getting down
Dino and Ricky
Dino, Ricky, Chispa and Wichy
The band with Martha Olton