Footprints in the Sand
By Christie Seeley
A couple of years ago, I had the opportunity to join the fellows from Media Luna on a beautiful day on the bay with Carlos, the owner of Catamaran Christina, and his first mate, Guilio Urango, a marvelous musician from Colombia who was performing with Media Luna that year. Joining us on the trip were two young men who formed a musical trio with Guilio called Los Parces, Aaron Hernandez originally from Morelia, Michoacán and Benjamin Gutierrez from here in Vallarta. The highlight of the day was an impromptu serenade by the musicians as we re-entered the Puerto Vallarta Marina after our day of feasting and playing on the beautiful bay.
I have followed the progress of these young men at performances at Babel Bar and other venues and have witnessed their development as a growing and flourishing concern. Last weekend the latest incarnation of the group produced a video performance with Neptune TV and, fortunately, I managed to see it. I was pleasantly surprised to see the marvelous transition they had made into Jazz, adding some very talented musicians. The new group comprising six accomplished young musicians all between 21 and 27 years of age are from various parts of the country.
After enjoying watching the concert several times, I reached out to Aaron for a virtual interview to learn more about this new project.
Aaron: Hi, Christie. Good thing you liked the performance. We have been working hard on this project and will soon add some original songs.
These are the names of the members:
Fabián Arrona / Bajo
Benjamín Gutiérrez / Piano
Javier Herrera / Guitar
Alexis Mena / Drums
Humberto Murguía / Alto sax
Daniel Barragan / Trumpet
Diana Ivonne / transverse flute
And, well, I on the percussions and voice, hehehe.
I asked him about his transition from Latin music to Jazz:
Aaron: I have always liked Jazz. I love watching Trem de Minas, Faralae, Moruno, and many other local artists play. All of them inspired us. We enjoy attending the jazz jams that take place during the season—that way, we nurture ourselves musically and learn that beautiful universal language (Jazz).
The pieces they performed on the Neptune TV production were beautiful jazz pieces by the best.
Aaron: This was the playlist:
Footprints / Wayne Shorter
Softly as In a Morning Sunrise / Sigmund Romberg
Equinox / John Coltrane
Just Friends / John Klenner
Mambo Influenced / Chucho Valdés
Chameleon / Herbie Hancock
Donna Lee / Charlie Parker
Aaron told me he came to Puerto Vallarta 14 years ago with his parents, who were pastors and missionaries and moved around the country, establishing churches. He began participating in the church choirs, and from there, his love for music was born.
Aaron: "Every time I listen or make music, I feel good and beautiful energy surrounds me. That's why I have dedicated my life to making music and sharing emotions with everyone around me".
He says he never studied in a music school, all he has learned is thanks to all those talented people who surround him and share their knowledge with him.
How did he and Benja meet?
Aaron: Two and a half years ago, we met at an event called "La Noche de la Iguana" that takes place every year. That year I met him on a beach called Mayto, we connected and decided to make music together.
Curious about the name HueJazz, I inquired about its inspiration.
Aaron: The name came from the Jazz Standard Footprints. In Spanish, it means Huellas 👣 , and I wanted to play a bit with Spanglish and add to the word imprints "jazz," so we are the Footprints in the Sand.
The video of this performance is available on Facebook at the following address:https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=181584996703616&id=109858827209567.
If you get a chance to watch it, you will be impressed! The exquisite work on the trumpet by Danielle, the fantastic drum solos by Alexis, Aaron's energy and flamboyant scat, Benja's smooth piano, Humberto's moving alto sax, Diana's enchanting transverse flute, Fabian and Javier's bass and guitar, are awe-inspiring!
I am keeping my eyes on this group Huellas in the Sand with high expectations!