The Sabor Blog

News, Events & Stories from the Latino Community across the U.S.

SPECIAL GUEST BLOG: American Jazz Museum Celebrates American Sabor with a Festival of Tributes

The Festival of Tributes was a celebration of arts electrified. The night welcomed around 300 guests who celebrated the unveiling of American Sabor at the American Jazz Museum. American Sabor opened with a bang, bass, and a conga drum. Festival of Tributes was the kick off to a season full of programming to bring Kansas City together through various forms of art, music, dance, spoken word, and “conversaciones.”

The American Jazz Museum brought to life the exhibition in the form of local bands that specialize in various musical styles from Mexican Folkloric to Afro-Latin jazz.

Pablo Sanhueza, vocals, congas, timbales, and bata for Makusa recalled his experience performing on opening night. “It was the first time we got to share the stage with other Latin bands, we don’t have many other opportunities in town to play together. Most people don’t even know that there is authentic salsa music, Latin jazz, Latin rock, and other forms of Latin music that blend with American popular music since the beginning.”

This began the band contest that culminates with the awarding of a champion during the ¡El Ritmo! dance off event. Local talent, Trio Aztlán, Marimba Sol de Chiapas, Makusa, and FEO got the audience on their feet with iconic tunes like Santana’s Oye como va, as well as original local favorites. Guests from all over the city came together to dance, groove, and experience Latino music on a local and national perspective.

The entire evening spoke to the importance of Latino arts and the impact they have in the present time as well as their rich history. Whether you were dancing in the Atrium, or sitting in the theater inside the exhibition, you were totally immersed in culture and history.

“Our goal with American Sabor is for the exhibition to contribute toward reaching thousands of patrons with more wonderful artist stories, along with showcasing the inherently positive impact that our diverse and multicultural American society has upon jazz music,” said Greg Carroll, CEO of the American Jazz Museum.

Education is an element not only highlighted in American Sabor, but one of the foundations of the American Jazz Museum as well. It’s one thing to have vibrant displays of milestones; it’s another to let people live the history, which is whatAmerican Sabor gives the audience an opportunity to do.

A special installment of the “conversaciones” series offered by the American Jazz Museum will focus on the development of the Latin jazz music and dance scene in Kansas City throughout the years. All participants in the audience with stories to share will be asked to join in a candid discussion moderated by Jenny Méndez, Director of Cultural Arts at Mattie Rhodes Center. The Museum looks forward to collecting these memories from our community and offering the opportunity for these stories to be shared.

Come sing, dance salsa, and share your story with the American Jazz Museum and American Sabor.


Guest blog by Demetra Kopulos, American Jazz Museum