There was dancing, there was laughter, and there were smiles in Unity Square Park over the weekend as The Levitt AMP Trenton Concert Series hosted its second week of free music for Trentonians.
“It was so wonderful. Oh my gosh, it was so much fun… I had a really good time,” said Brass Rabbit, the night’s host.
Three bands and a DJ on Saturday night performed various salsa, merengue, and bachata musical selections. Each had their version of Latin music. The Victor Quezada Band is a local band that brought began the show with smooth contemporary jazz and Latin jazz. Kombo Latino followed them with their spins on salsa, merengue, and bachata.
Halfway through the concert, a downpour tried to dampen the spirits of those attending as guests sought shelter under nearby food truck tents, umbrellas, and in their cars.
“It went off the way that it did. We actually had a crowd that stayed through the rain. So I am really proud of my city,” said Brass Rabbit.
Until Swing Sarbosso walked onto the stage, they brought the energy, the dancing, and the crowd back.
“We always get the energy from the crowd,” said Eddie Muñiz, head of Swing Sarbosso. “And not only that, we try to get the crowd the energy because if you notice, if you see us on stage, we’re always talking to the people and everybody’s having a great time. So if you see a band up there that is having a great time, you’re gonna have a great time, especially if they sound good.”
The crowd that night was in a dancing mood, as dance partners lined up across the lawn to hold each other close and swing each other far. Shani Smith, Lawrenceville Resident, came out with her friends to listen to the concert.
“I’m always in the dancing mood,” Smith said. “I’ve been doing salsa twice a week. So I just love dance…The band was great….And I feel like you don’t have to be Latin to enjoy Latin entertainment. I’m black. I come out. I love the rhythm; everyone should come out and enjoy.”
Her dancing partner was Levi Guerrero, a Hamilton resident. The two continued to dance into the night with every new set.
“It’s also good to try new things for people that don’t feel comfortable dancing, just listen to the music or just enjoy it. And it’s a different environment. It’s very Latin-oriented, which is good. You get to meet new people, and here’s some Spanish and learn some Spanish, so it’s good,” Guerrero said.
Though the Swing Sarbosso stole the show, the opening act, The Victor Quezada Band, brought a hometown flare as most of the band is from Trenton or the outskirts of the city. Jimmy Morales, the band leader, director, and Trenton resident, explained that he is happy to perform in his home city.
“It was great. We love it,” Morales said. “I always love to be a part of the anything that goes on in our city… it brings the community together. And it’s just important for everyone to share fellowship with each other and enjoy the great music.”
The Levitt Amp Concert series is a free 10-concert series presented by the Trenton Downtown Association and the African American Cultural Collaborative of Mercer County. It features a lineup of local, regional, and national artists representing various musical styles.
In attendance at the Saturday show was Vanessa Silberman, Deputy Director of Levitt AMP. She came to Trenton to see how the concert series was fairing.
“Just learning about how Levitt amp is, you know, really bringing people together from all parts of the city. As part of this show tonight, going into a different community to reach out to the Latino population. It’s really exciting,” Silberman said.
Next week Winard Harper will perform at Mill Hill Park. Harper is a true virtuoso on the drums and has performed with such greats as Dexter Gordon, Betty Carter, Johnny Griffin, Ray Bryant, and Carmen McRae, to name a few. Director Damien Chazelle cited Winard Harper as the inspiration for his Academy Award-nominated film “Whiplash.”
“My last tip,” Brass Rabbit said, “bring some dancing shoes, bring some comfy shoes, Bring a fun outfit you feel great in and bring as many people as you can.”
The Levitt AMP Trenton Music Series is supported in part by the Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation, which partners with towns and cities across America to activate underused public spaces through the power of free live music, creating welcoming, inclusive destinations. Local presenting sponsors include NJM Insurance Company, along with the support of the City of Trenton and the Mercer County Park Commission.