Review: New album showcases Latin jazz

By Shannon Sweet


Latin and jazz have always local favorites in the hearts of San Antonians, and when the two cultures collide, what emerges is a fusion of two unique genres.

A mixture of spice and zest, Latin jazz is just as infectious as is it is danceable.  Henry Brun & the Latin Playerz take over the genre and make it their own, adding their own twist in their album and during a recent concert at the Alamo City’s Hard Rock Café.

The leading force of The Latin Playerz is Brun, a Grammy Award-winning percussionist. He breathes life and soul into everything he does for the band, whether it is playing the bongos or songwriting.

Growing up in the Bronx, his Puerto Rican heritage is apparent in his music, along with other cultural influences, such as rhythm and blues and Afro Caribbean rhythms. Brun and his wife, singer Judi Deleón, are a creative force to be reckoned with not only in the San Antonio music scene, but throughout the country. Brun even coined a new name for his melting pot of sounds and flavors, “Brown Soul,” which is a mixture of hardcore Chicano,  jazz, funk, R&B, rock and Latin.

To promote their new album, “Soul Tren Latino,” The Latin Playerz took to the Hard Rock Café for a private concert. The café was ignited with Brun’s signature sounds and dancers from a local dance studio shaking their rumpus to the samba. The passionate, yet upbeat music made just about anyone want to burn up the dance floor, no matter if they could really dance or not.

A common theme of the night was unity through music. It was no secret that all the members of The Latin Playerz absolutely love what they do. Judging from the outward appearance of the concertgoers that left the intimate performance, there was an apparent fire in their heart and an even stronger lust for The Latin Playerz’ brand of Latin jazz.

The new album being promoted is produced by Brun and his wife, and features bassist Pete Ojeda, accordionist Michael Guerra, pianist Anthony Hernandez and Travis Davis, guitarist Burt Ybarra, and singers Deleón, John B. Williams III and Carlos “Karloz” Taboada.


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