About Gary Flores
A native of San Francisco, California. Born and raised in the Excelsior District (Outer Mission District). I started playing the Trumpet in 1972 at the age of 19. In 1973, I joined a neighborhood Latin Rock band called Café. In 1974, I joined the great Ritmo 74, which was a very serious and organized band. Ritmo 74 played at all the Big Salsa Shows in the Bay Area featuring the greatest latin bands from New York and Puerto Rico. We performed with Willie Colon with Hector LaVoe, Grand Combo, Bobby Valentine, Ismael Quintana, Ismael Miranda, Eddie Palmieri with Lalo Rodriguez, Papo Lucca and Sonora Poncena, Larry Harlow, Johnny Pacheco, Celia Cruz, Cheo Feliciano and many others.
In 1976, I started a new band called Salsa Caliente. In 1982 I moved to playing piano with the group. Salsa Caliente performed together for about twenty years and was considered the best Salsa Group in the Bay Area; unfortunately to my regret, we never recorded. Many great musicians came through the Salsa Caliente such as Richard Kermode (Janis Joplin, Malo, Santana), and Luis Gasca (Santana, Malo, Maynard Ferguson, Mongo Santamaria Woody Herman and many others.) Many great local musicians came in and out of Salsa Caliente and are successful band leaders of their own now. After Salsa Caliente, I started a latin jazz group called “Caliente 2000” where I enjoyed the freedom, individuality and creativity of improvising with this group. The musicians are featured which was very refreshing after backing up singers all the time and the group was smaller. I always loved the Great Jazz Musicians who mastered their instruments and improvised so well like Freddie Hubbard, Woody Shaw, Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, McCoy Tyner, and Dexter Gordon to name a few. So I am attempting to following that path, but with a Latin feel. My major musical influences besides the names just mentioned have been Luis Gasca, Luis “Perico” Ortiz, Richard Kermode, Papo Lucca and many more.
I have spent most of my career playing in live situations and recording here and there for others. This project is a truly “A New Beginning” for me, as it is a different world playing in a recording studio instead of a live audience. This recording is mostly my own material, therefore “A New Beginning” for me. I hope you like it and come and see us some time.
With Love Peace and Happiness