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The music on these cds is a romantic hybrid of flamenco, jazz, and beautiful pop melodies. At the time of these recordings, the band consisted of Carlos Ortega, Charlie Baran, Dave Hiltebrand and Chuck Sansone. Together they were an unparallelled combination of talent, musicianship and shownmanship, a popular concert draw, wowing audiences with live performances of songs that extended into 20 minute jam/dance/trance marathons.
Born in Bogota, Colombia, Carlos Ortega moved to Chicago at age four and grew up playing guitar in punk, surf, and rockabilly bands. Through stories he heard his father tell, he became intrigued with the days of the South American cafes of the 1930's and 40's - stories of a mood and place and time after the bottle was empty and the old lp's were carefully placed on the turntable.
Honduran-born guitarist Charlie Baran joined after meeting Carlos in a guitar shop and accepting an invitation the band's next gig. Carlos tells of hearing perfect harmonies to his vocals coming from the front row: Charlie, singing along to songs he was hearing for the first time! Charlie has more licks than the flashiest rock guitarist, but knows as well the value and beauty of measured restraint.
Dave Hiltebrand, an accomplished jazz musician in earlier incarnations (and again since leaving the band) plays six-string and fretless basses with the skill one would expect from a man of twice his years.
Percussionist Chuck Sansone appeared as a guest musician for the recording of the Iliana cd, but was engaged as a full time member for turning in a consistently flawless performance during the sessions.
"One of 'Four Chicago Acts to Follow'" — Billboard