Like a rich, flavorful New Orleans gumbo, Los Hombres Calientes packs a little bit of everything into a tasty, powerful recipe that warms the body and feeds the soul. Led by Irvin Mayfield the latest in the Crescent Citys illustrious line of acclaimed jazz trumpeters and Bill Summers, a percussionist who quite simply embodies world-wide rhythm, Los Hombres Calientes is not only changing the way music sounds, but also how music is made.
Taking a hands-on, organic approach in putting together their five albums, Volumes 1-5, Mayfield and Summers take their band on location and join forces with locals in order to create authentic sounds from the places where music began locations such as Africa, Cuba, Trinidad, Jamaica, Haiti and, of course, their native New Orleans.
In post-hurricane New Orleans, it seems largely appropriate that Mayfield and Summers continue to travel back to their citys Afro-Caribbean roots through Los Hombres Calientes. Much as their music starts from the beginning of New Orleans’ rich cultural heritage, the “new” New Orleans one rebuilding from a horrific natural disaster in the form of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita finds itself back at square one in many instances. Yet the citys resolve, ever-apparent in the personalities of both Mayfield and Summers, remains stronger than ever.
Mayfield, the City of New Orleans and State of Louisiana’s Cultural Ambassador, has positioned himself at the forefront of the rebuilding process currently underway in New Orleans. Sitting on several rebuilding committees and operating a not-for-profit the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, Inc. that is dedicated to returning the Crescent City to its lofty perch as Americas cultural Mecca, Mayfield is proving that his respect for the history behind New Orleans’ magical sound has been well-cultivated through Los Hombres Calientes.
Summers, who has worked with musical pioneers ranging from Quincy Jones to Herbie Hancock in his long, illustrious career, shares in Mayfield’s thirst to uncover the musical roots of New Orleans’ cultural tree of life. With a countless number of rhythms in his vast repertoire, Summers makes the heart of Los Hombres Calientes beat. And it is a beat that has seen and heard the sounds of the world.
Late-night sessions at the Summers residence resulted in the 1998 formation of Los Hombres Calientes. And though decades apart in age, the younger Mayfield and elder Summers are no musical odd couple. Together with band mates, they form an irrefutable force in the field of Latin Jazz one that has been recognized by critics and fans across the globe.
Los Hombres Calientes Volume 5: Carnival (2005) was recently nominated for Billboards 2006 Latin Jazz Album of the Year. The winner of this prestigious, international award will be unveiled on April 27 and broadcast live on Telemundo.
Los Hombres Calientes’ previous album, Volume 4: Vodou Dance (2003) was nominated for a Billboard Latin Music Award as well. Volume 3: New Congo Square, the group’s 2001 release, was a Billboard finalist and was nominated for a Grammy. In 1998 and 1999, Los Hombres Calientes’ eponymous debut album, and in 2000, Los Hombres Calientes: Volume 2, were the top selling albums at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. Volumes 3 and 4 were also top sellers at the Festival. In 2000, Los Hombres Calientes debut CD was awarded Billboard’s Latin Music Award for Contemporary Latin Jazz Album of the Year.