was formed in Feb. 2002 by bassist Sam Price. After performing with
other New Orleans-area latin bands that played a standard repertoire
of popular latin covers, Price sought to create an original project
that would empasize creativity, powerful soloing, and irresistable
grooves, while honoring the afro-cuban roots of 'latin' music.
'Pupi' Menes and Price had played together in various latin bands.
Columbian timbale master Cristobal 'El Canon' Cruzado was coaxed
out of retirement from 20 years in a Bourbon St. show band (young
Venezualan percussionist Gabriel Vasquez now alternates timbale
duties). Saxophonist Brent Rose's incendiary, soulful playing was
just the voice the band needed. When original trumpeter Bob Garrett
left, Rose recruited Eric Lucero, a close friend and section-mate
for many years. The two share great on-stage comradery and rare
musical intuition. The final piece fell into place with the arrival
of pianist/guitarist Rob Block from St. Louis in May, 2002. Block
brought with him a wealth of experience from the St. Louis and New
York latin scenes, as well as great writing skills.
can be heard in OTRA's sound include: The Fort Apache Band, Charlie
and Eddie Palmieri, Arsenio Rodriguez, Poncho Sanchez, Mongo Santamaria
attempts to bring a rock n' roll attitude and excitement to its
live performances, encouraging audience members to 'do their own
thing' on the dance floor in an effort to help listeners relate
to the music in a new way. In this way OTRA hopes to introduce many
new listeners to afro-cuban jazz...not by watering it down or fusing
it with hip-hop cliches, but with honest, passionate performances
that intrigue the ear and delight the soul!
TUMBADORA, BONGO, CHEKERE
in Slidell, LA, Sam has been working in the New Orleans music
scene since 1991. He has had the opportunity to perform in a
variety of musical genres from Blues and rock (Rockin
Jake, Irene Sage, The Desires) to Funk (New World Funk Ensemble,
Smilin Myron), Bluegrass (Uptown Okra) and Latin (Fuego,
Elegant Gypsy, Acoustic Swiftness, Fredy Omar and Hector
a four year stint in the Marine Corps band, Brent went on
to earn his Masters of Music degree from the University of
New Orleans Jazz Department.
has performed with Galactic, New World Funk Ensemble, Nicholas
Payton, Frank Morgan, The Temptations and many others.
one of New Orleans most sought after saxophonists, Brent
currently performs with Quintology, Gatemouth Brown, Stanton
Moore, New Orleans Night Crawlers, Joe Krown Organ Combo,
Have Soul Will Travel, Chevere, The Naked Orchestra, New Orleans
Street Beat and New Orleans Rhythm and Blues Company.
in Matanzas, Cuba, Pupi began his musical career playing drumset
in Miami in the 60s. He continued playing drums in a
rock band called Ocean before shifting to percussion
to play with great Cuban sonero Ruben Gonzalez. Since then
he has become a fixture of the New Orleans Latin scene, playing
with many popular acts including: Santiago, Caliente, Elegant
Gypsy, Pedro Cruz Band, Acoustic Swiftness, and others. He
also toured and recorded with funk band Smilin Myron.
is currently a member of Fredy Omar con su Banda and a jazz
group called Two Pan Sam.
'EL CANYON' CRUZADO
moved to New Orleans in March 2002 with his wife Tomoko, also
an accomplished piano player, and baby daughter Mimava. Residing
previously in St. Louis, he spent ten years teaching in the
Jazz Department at Webster University, performing at the Adams
Mark Hotel as artist in residence, and as musical director for
El Caribe Tropical. He performed for many years
with St. Louis legend Willie Atkins as well as touring and recording
with organ greats - Richard Groove Holmes and Charles
Earland. An in-demand guitarist as well as piano player, Rob
currently performs with Hot Club of New Orleans, Ian McPhail
Quintet, David Torkanowskis Organism, Wendel
Brunius and New Orleans Street Beat.
Pat Jolly, June 16th, 2005:
is with great sadness that I report the imminent passing
of Cristobal 'El Cañon' Cruzado. The master percussionist/timbalero,
known most recently for his powerhouse performances with
latin-jazz group Otra, is succumbing to cancer in his
lung and heart at Kenner Regional Medical Center, where
he is surrounded by his family and close friends.
is a native of Columbia. He resided in New Orleans for
over 39 years where he played percussion with Ruben Gonzales,
Grupo Santiago, Peter Toma Band, and Fredy Omar. He also
spent 14 years on Bourbon Street as a member of the Chris
Owens house band.
passionate playing always lit up the stage- his timbale
solo's were awe-inspiring. And his sense of humor and
infectious laugh (not to mention his fondness for flirting
with 'la señoritas') are endearing memories that
those of us lucky enough to have met him will have to
treasure forever..we love you Cris!
native of New Mexico via southern California, Eric has been
a fixture on the New Orleans music scene for more than ten years.
He lends his talents to a variety of bands including Sunpie
Barnes and the Louisiana Sunspots, the N.O. premier rock band-Better
Than Ezra, the funky soul-jazz group Have Soul Will Travel and
the eclectic Naked Orchestra. He also performs straight-ahead
jazz with Otra pianist Rob Block in his quintet. And now you
can find him playing with the hard hitting Afro-Cuban Jazz band