COMBO SABROSO (”tasty” combo) presents soul cleansing LATIN DANCE MUSIC and REGGAE! (Listen to tracks at the bottom of this page, and watch videos on the right.) Lead by pianist Matt Jenson, the group is committed to the hard hitting ’salsa dura’ sound of the 1970’s playing hits from the likes of Tito Puente, Eddie Palmieri, Oscar D’leon, Sonora Poncena and also known for their inspired salsa arrangements of American R&B hits from the likes of Marvin Gaye, Bill Withers, Santana. The group can turn on a dime and hit you with reggae versions of massive pop hits by artists such as Elton John, Steve Miller, the Police.
Take note: Sometimes we appear in a smaller format (as a trio or quartet) calling ourselves either “Los Three” or “Los Four”. It’s the same Afro-Cuban and reggae mash-up!
The group was formed during the summer of 1998 when band leader, pianist/vocalist, Matt Jenson, then living in Portsmouth, NH, made a decision to pursue a much deeper understanding of this music that he loves so much. He assembled the best Latino musicians he could find in Boston and got a weekly gig for the group…and the rest is….HISTORY!
Combo Sabroso list as their main influences the ensembles of Latin piano icon Eddie Palmieri and the grand percussionist, Tito Puente and Bob Marley. In fact Jenson studied with Palmieri and maintains a friendship with the Maestro and works with Mr. Palmieri’s timbale player, Jose Claussell. Matt also teaches a smash hit class on Marley at Berklee College of Music. With influences such as these you can bet that the group remains committed to the deeper side of both idioms.
They follow in the tradition of these venerated maestros by incorporating their formula of layering exciting jazz solos over relentless, energetic dance rhythms. Their repertoire includes compositions that range in style from Cha Cha to Danzon, from Bolero to Salsa, from Latin jazz to Plena, and the one drop reggae riddim.
Combo Sabroso features, from Costa Rica, Manolo Miarena, a well known percussionist and singer who has performed internationally with La Timba Loca, the Latin Party Boys, pianist Rafael Alcala and leads his own group Curubande. On drumset and vocals is David Rivera, a Berklee College grad from Puerto Rico who plays with Mango Blue, Eugie Castrillo’s “Mambo Kings” orchestra, bassist Oscar Stagnaro and many more. Performing on timbales and vocals is Pablo Bencid from Caracas, Venezuela. Pablo has been building his local, regional and international reputation as an exceptional percussionist and drummer performing with Gonzalo Grau (La Clave Secreta), the Either Orchestra, and European tour with the Lebeque sisters. Ecuadorian bassist and singer Alex Alvear, is also an anchor of the Latin music scene in Boston and NYC and is known for his organic and infectious tumbao (groove) and amazing vocal work. He leads his own group, Mango Blue and has performed with many internationally known Latin artists including Paquito D’Rivera. Also on bass from time to time is Winston Maccow from the island of Saint Marten. He teaches at Berklee and brings a heavy reggae foundation to the Combo Sabroso sound. On horns, Combo Sabroso presents trombonist Angel Subero and saxophonist Matt Langley. Angel is an internationally known classical bass trombonist who has performed with nearly every major symphony in the world, and moonlights as an energetic (to say the least!) Salsa and Latin Jazz trombonist. Matt Langley’s relentless and soulful tenor playing is well-known throughout New England and especially in his recorded work with the Charlie Kohlhase Quintet is sublime.
At any one performance you may see a cross-section of the core band members listed above and:
Bebo Rodriguez – percussion, vocals
Jeff Galindo – trombone
Squantch – trombone
Scott Flyn – trombone
Tim Mayer – saxophone, flute
Mondongo – trombone
Oscar Stagnaro – bass
Ernesto Diaz – congas, timbales
Paulo Stagnaro – percussion
Kalani Trinidad – flute, vocals
Karina Colis – timbales, vocals
Gabriel Lugo – percussion
Yaure Muniz – trumpet
Carlos Deleon – trumpet
Carlos Averoff – tenor sax
LISTEN to Combo Sabroso!
– Calle Luna Calle Sol (reggae style)
– Stir it Up (with a bit of a harmonic twist)
– El Cuarto de Tula (a Latin dance standard)
– Feel Like Making Love (reggae style)
– Oye Como Va (Tito Puente’s big big hit)
– Poinciana (Latin jazz)
– Who The Cap Fit (Bob Marley)
– Ain’t No Sunshine (reggae style)
– Can’t Stand Loosing You (Latin style…check out the rap in the middle!)