Instructors and DJ’s
Band founder, manager and director Ricky Flores is a familiar face in Seattle’s salsa scene. Inspired by the great Tito Puente he started playing latin percussion at young age. In 1968 he formed the group "Wakamba" where he shared the stage with Jerry Rivas of "El Gran Combo" and Nicolas Vivas, founder of "Conjunto Chaney". After moving to the Seattle area in the early 80s' he joined "Orquest Chevere". A few years later together with Frank Medina he formed "Latin Expression". Throughout the years Ricky has shared the stage with Salsa greats such as Richie Ray, Dave Valentin,, El Gran Combo and Cortijito to name a few. In more recent years he has gotten his Salsa fix playing with "Orquesta La Nueva Era" and Johnny Conga. By forming the group "Conjunto Chevere" he brings the flavor of New York style Salsa to the local scene. Lead vocal is performed by the talented Danny Olaizola who was the third award recipient of the OTI festival. In 2006 Danny was nominated for a Grammy in the category of lead vocals for his performance of "Mi Lindo Puerto Rico" from the album "Siguiendo la tradicion". He was a longtime member of "Grupo Yoboso" and "Conjunto Colores". He has also shared the stage with some big names in the music industry such as "The Platters", "The Coasters, Selena, Juan Gabriel and many more. Second vocalist Alex Acosta of Mayagues Puerto Rico is an energetic singer formerly with "Latin ExpressionOrchestra". On the rhythm section playing Congas is Tito Salsa. Born in Chicago he discovered his passion for latin percussion when his family moved back to Puerto Rico when he was a teen. He was a longtime member of the group "Latin Dimension" and more recently has played with a couple of local salsa bands. On Bongos' is Oscar De La Rosa. He is a former member of "Plenarium" of Puerto Rico and in 1980 performed with the late great Tito Puente. Piano is played by Ben Verdier who also performs with local salsa and Jazz groups such as "Sonando",The Fred Hoaley Trio and "Cambalache. On Bass is Farko Dosumov from Tashkent Uzbekistan. He moved to the Seattle area in 1999. On the horns we have Scott Babcock on first trombone. Scott is another familiar face in the local salsa scene. Most recently he has been playing and recorded with "Orquesta La Nueva Era". On second trombone we have Eli Clark a talented musician and student in his senior year at the Cornish institute of arts. Rounding it out we have Luis Duran of Mexico. Luis follows in the footsteps of his father Javier Duran who was the director of the renowned "Pablo Beltran Ruiz Orchestra. He graduated form the Cultural Center for the Arts in Mexico. and then went on to graduate from Central University in Seattle. Most recently he is playing lead trumpet for the Bellevue community college Jazz Ensemble.