Mexico is not known as one of the international jazz capitals of the world. New York, Tokyo — even Havana.
There is, though, a fairly rich history of jazz in the country, going back to a guy named Tino Contreras, who has been swinging since the late 1940's (sadly no longer active) through to the Toussaint brothers (Eugenio, Enrique, Fernando), who formed a way cool fusion band, Sacbe, in the late '70s. There have been others, of course, but never enough to make Mexico a place known for jazz — until now.
The young lions of Troker hail from Guadalajara. From that home base they are making the rounds of festivals, clubs and concerts around the world, gathering fans of their smart, creative and singular brand of jazz.
As you'll see on this Tiny Desk, this is music you can dance to. In fact, when I saw them slay a post-midnight crowd at this year's SXSW, trumpeter Isaias Flores was a dancing machine, twisting and grooving to the band's mix of swing, funk, ska, psychedelic and Mexican music. For this special TDC occasion, the band features Special Guest Solange Pratt.
The band's compositions are journeys — as you watch them live, keep in mind that you are indeed witnessing history being made. Hopefully, Troker and others can make both Guadalajara and Mexico new jazz destinations.
EDITOR'S NOTE: a previous version of this story incorrectly listed the band's hometown. They are from Guadalajara.
- "Principe Charro"
- "One Thousand Million Eyes" (feat. Solange Prat)
- "Chapala Blues"
- "Tequila Death"
Frankie Mares (drums); Christian Jimenez (keys); Diego Franco (saxophone); Samo Gonzalez (bass); Chay Flores (trumpet); DJ Sonicko (turntable); Solange Prat (vocals)
Producers: Felix Contreras, Bronson Arcuri; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Colin Marshall, Bronson Arcuri, Morgan Noelle Smith; Production Assistant: A Noah Harrison; Photo: Marian Carrasquero/NPR.
For more Tiny Desk concerts, subscribe to our podcast.