Artist Spotlight: De La Buena

Afro-Caribbean/Latin jazz orchestra De La Buena played at Company Brewing Friday night as part of a 53212 Presents fundraiser. The nonprofit organization aims to secure funding for artistic spaces and production support for Riverwest creatives. It had also been founder Ruth Weill’s birthday – happy birthday Ruth!

“Ruth has been wanting us to play for this particular birthday for probably like two years,” bandleader David Wake said. “It’s very anticipated.”

De La Buena currently has ten musicians total – vocalist/keyboardist/bandleader David Wake, congas/timbales/vocalist Cecilio Negron Jr, percussionist/bongo/vocalist Julio Pabon, bassist Joey Sanchez, drummer Kevin Christensen, guitarist/vocalist Bryan Rogers, baritone saxophonist Mike Pauers, trumpeter Eric Jacobson, flutist/tenor saxophonist Aaron Gardner, and trumpeter Greg Garcia. Beginning as a trio in 2003, the group’s name means “of the good” in Spanish.

“We started as myself, Cecilio, and one Andy Noble…a very brilliant musical mind,” Wake explained. “He was the original bass player. Then Mike Pauers and an amazing musician in town named Jamie Breiwick were the first horn section that came in…another guy that now lives in Oakland named Jesse Sheehan joined them, and then Julio Pabon came on, and then we added a drummer. It’s been sixteen years that this band has been around, and it’s really a big family of about thirty people. It’s really been a great ride. I had the original vision of touring this band and I had toured with a bunch of different acts in my time, but it’s nice to have a hometown band and be raising kids and have a bunch of great musicians that have kids of their own.”

Wake speaks on bandleading.

“It’s my greatest joy and biggest frustration.”

De La Buena dropped an album called “La Tortuga” in 2011. Wake talks about what the group has in the chamber.

“We’ve probably got about three albums worth of material. This winter I think we’re gonna record one. Julio and I have been talking about just making it happen. We’re all in various stages of raising kids and it’s been tough to get that time aside, but it’s long overdue. We owe it to ourselves and we owe it to the creative community. We’re excited to do it when the time comes.”

He talks about how the band coordinates with so many members.

“You gotta have a gig. Usually I’ll do horn sectionals – I’ll get together with just the horn players and maybe a percussionist – and then I’ll do rhythm sectionals. Often we’ll be playing stuff for the first time when we all get together for the gig – it’s tough. Getting these new tunes together was a long process of phone conversations, emails, and one-on-one rehearsals.”

De La Buena is committing to a new album in 2020.

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