Wednesday, 16 September 2009 10:18

Roger Velasquez: 'where am I headed?', plus new gigs

Singer/ songwriter/ guitarist Roger Velasquez leads one of the most talent groups in Central Texas - the Latin Legends - when it comes to fusing smooth R&B, blistering funk, flaming soul, and spicy Tex-Mex.

From funk's street corner heat and disco's party grooves to R&B's smoldering hypnotics,

Velasquez & the Legends usually deliver what good art always promises - intrigue, captivation, reflection, inspiration, elevation.

In other words, a powerful emotional charge.

When the band is on and in synch, the musicianship is tight, the soaring and inspiring.

Velasquez is working on a new CD but in a recent interview he talked about the sacrifice and ultimate purpose in creating art.

"The hardest part of doing this album is the sacrifice. Putting away your immediate needs and thinking on the long term - 'What do I want to do with my life. Where am I headed? Do I want to be a nightclub musician all my life, or just filling in here, singing a song there? Or do I want to take my own music, because I am a songwriter. Do I want to take my music, which I’ve always wanted, and give it to the people, and have them make it their own?'

"That was a tough thing to do, and it’s still tough now, because there’s a lot of sacrifice involved. There’s a lot of work involved, pushing this stuff, doing the radio tours, organizing the groups. It’s a lot of work. The sweetest thing is to stand there and listen to the people singing the words to the songs, that to me were only feelings that I had at one moment, and the next moment, I put them on paper, and I can see them read them back.

"And now, I’m performing them in these wonderful song forms and listening to the people, I’m getting that immediate response from them. Their immediate approval or disapproval. To me, that’s the best thing."

The Legends are accordionist Jose Macias. bassist Pete Garza, drummer Val Guardiana, keyboardist Mark Anthony Hernandez and horn players Al Gomez, Frank Perez, Gilbert Escobedo.

That young Macias is a solid versatile talent who can captivate when he gets inspired to go beyond the norm. One of the best guitarists in town, Velasquez is creative, technically skilled and injects a lot of feeling in his runs. The horn players are legendary but fans should always call ahead as Roger only brings the horns on certain gigs.

Like other groups, sometimes the band can get lazy, loud and unfocused, a result of routine sets. But more often than not you get your money's worth.

Roger Velasquez & Latin Legends upcoming schedule:

Thursdays in Sept at George’s Place, 5214 Blanco Rd. 9/18, Cadillac Bar 212 S Flores St.  9/19 at Club Cheater’s, 3015 Roosevelt Ave. 9/26 West Avenue Panchito’s, 12403 West Ave. 10/3 with Jimmy Edward at Arcadia Events Center, San Benito, TX. 10/4 St. Anthony de Padua Church Fall Festival, 102 Lorenz with 12 p.m. Mariachi; 1 p.m.  Frank Gomez Band; 4 p.m. Roger Velasquez & Latin Legends. 10/16 w/ Jimmy Edward, Fountain Bleu Banquet Facility, 8353 Culebra Rd. 10/17 Fox Tech Class of ’59 Reunion, La Villita Assembly Hall. 11/14 West Avenue Panchito’s, 12403 West Ave.