Troker at the Monterey Jazz Festival

By José Fernández

The title says it all. While selecting the concerts I was going to assist in the 59th edition of the Monterey Jazz Festival, I happily found out that Troker was in the line up of the Jazz Club. This is a band that, besides their high quality musicians, has created a particular and unique style, and has positioned themselves apart from the musical clichés or false nationalism. Troker have always known how to mix the genres they feel passionate about and deliver great compositions that won’t let the listener stay still…

But if you heard the before, you know this.

Last year I got the chance also to see them live at the Jazz Festival of Montreal where they annihilate the public with their show, but here in Monterey, the situation is a bit different. In Montreal there was a lot of Latino audience, at the end Canada is a country for immigrants. Monterey is not. The crowd was predominantly American, tending to seek a purer jazz, so to speak; at the end it seamed a more challenging audience.

Despite this, our guys didn’t hesitate. Of course not!


We run into each other right before entering to Joshua Redman, Ron Miles, Scott Colley and Brian Blade’s concert. Always smiling, although notice them a little anxious; but well, only someone who did not understand the relevance of that particular concert opportunity, it would not be.

Right before 10 pm I walked towards the Jazz Club stage to witness a perfect show. Period. Troker’s boys turned on the crowd quickly, including Diego Franco on sax, the last acquisition in the band, putting everyone to dance. Other challenge was the time of their set, which was not easy. At the same time in the Arena a Tibute to Quincy Jones was taking place and at the Dizzys Den stage, Cecile McLorin-Salvant was performing. Not easy at all.

However, the attendance was very good, probably 80% capacity, which is great for a newcomer band in the Festival.

Troker initiated cautious, measuring the audience and then diming up the intensity. The crowd, attentive at all times, soon began to move the head to the frenetic rhythm of “Claroscuro”, “El Loco”, and “El Atraco de la Furgoneta Gris”. At that point, the room looked full, mostly with people dancing in the back. But it was with “Chapala Blues” and the moment when musicians jumped down the stage with cowbells that they totally owned the audience.

After the last piece “Principe Charro”, the demand for one more did not wait. Applause and shouts brought the MC to ask if they wanted another “shot” (of tequila of course) and the boys were not had to be coaxed, flattening everyone with “Fijate que Suave”. And just because the venue really needs to be closed by midnight, if not, I think that concert would have followed.

Bottom line, these guys were brilliant; Mexican pride, no doubt.