While growing up among a family of professional musicians – his father is a woodwinds specialist and his mother a vocalist and pianist – Brian Andres was drawn to the origin of all music: rhythm. Though they couldn’t stand the constant banging on objects at first, they eventually gave in and purchased him his first drum set.
His growing interest in Latin music and culture brought him to the San Francisco Bay Area, where he quickly began working with numerous local Salsa, Afro-Cuban, Latin funk, Latin jazz, and Tex-Mex groups. In 2000, Andres was asked to join Bay Area icon Dr. Loco and his Rockin’ Jalapeno Band. He continues to perform with them and Los Tiburones Del Norte. Andres also performed with “The Father of Chicano Music” and National Medal of Arts recipient, Lalo Guerrero, prior to his passing.
Since residing in the Bay Area, Andres has performed with several notable San Francisco musicians, including multi-instrumentalist John Calloway (John Santos, Wayne Wallace, Omar Sosa), guitarist Ray Obiedo, GRAMMY Award winning Pacific Mambo Orchestra, Independent Music Award winning artist and Ivory Coast native Fely Tchaco, reggae singer Black Nature (Sierra Leone Refugee Allstars), and percussionist band leader Danilo Paiz (Ruben Blades).
In 2007, after spending his career as a sideman, Andres stepped into the role as bandleader with the Afro-Cuban Jazz Cartel. Continuing the rich heritage of San Francisco Bay Area Latin jazz, the group pairs the rich harmonic and improvisational elements of jazz with irresistible rhythms from the Caribbean. The ACJC has become one of the top Latin jazz groups in the Bay Area. Since their 2013 debut, Drummer’s Speak, they’ve made a name for themselves, performing regularly in the Bay Area and touring the Midwest. He formed Trio Latino in 2019, which features original compositions and arrangements by pianist Christian Tumalan and bassist Aaron Germain. The Latin jazz trio released their debut album, Mayan Suite, in May 2020.
Since making her musical debut at age 5 in her native Mexico City, vocalist Sandra Aran has made music and performing her life. In her teens, she formed her first band while studying classical piano and composition at the National University of Mexico. She founded her first working jazz quartet, Art Deco, in 1995, and performed extensively throughout Mexico. In 1996, she joined forces with other jazz singers in Mexico to form the vocal octet Cuicanitl, with whom she opened for blues legend B.B. King as well as for jazz great George Benson during his Mexico City concert in 1997. They released an independent album, Solo Voces, to critical acclaim in 1999.
While studying jazz singing at the Superior School of Music in Mexico City in 1999, she received a scholarship from Berklee College of Music in Boston, where she later graduated with a degree in vocal performance. That same year, she founded the Sandra Aran Jazz Quartet in Boston, performing throughout the Boston area at venues such as Ryles Jazz Club, Club 711, Limbo Jazz Club, Wally’s, Bob the Chef’s, and the Hatch Shell, among others. In 2008, Aran relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area, where she immediately began collaborating with some of the Bay Area’s finest jazz musicians. She has led concerts at the Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society and is a regular at the Ritz Carlton in Half Moon Bay, and the Hedley Club at the Hotel De Anza in San Jose.