Hard hitting conguero, Johnny Blas has performed and recorded in the world of Jazz and Latin music for over 25 years. Charismatic and intense, Johnny is a seasoned performer whose musicality extends as a percussionist, saxophonist, composer and band leader.
Johnny and his band put on a fierce show with swing, energy and heat that can melt asphalt. Blas, a New York native influenced by the music of Mongo Santamaria, Ray Barretto, Armando Peraza, Dizzie Gillespie, Charlie Parker and David Sandborn, exhibits a sound that is stylish and funky, an infusion of Latin Funk and Jazz with an Afro-Caribbean groove.
It was in 1994 that Johnny Blas and his band released their first album, A Night in L.A., on the Dos Coronas record label; which would be re-released in 2018; with a slightly different title, That Night in L.A. Members of the band during this time were percussionist Ángel Rodríguez, trombonists Humberto Ruiz, Kerry Loeschen, Edwin Blas and Dan Weinstein, guitarist Mark Gutiérrez and bassist Paul Pérez. Due to their hard work and solid delivery, they were signed to the Cubop Records label, and cranked out three more albums: Skin and Bones (1997), Mambo 2000 (1998) and King Congo (1999); the first two of which were critically acclaimed by Jazz and Latin music critics worldwide. After an eight-year hiatus, in 2007, Johnny Blas resurfaced with an album, Indestructible Spirit, that departed from his previous work; with nine tracks, and seven of them written by Johnny himself. Johnny also, in addition to his customary conga and timbales work, plays the soprano saxophone on two tracks! Additionally, the number of trombones was reduced from four to now two. New members of his band at this time included bassist and co-producer Jeff Hawley, trombonists Steve Johnson and Leonard Luna, pianist Ryan Prior.
As a conguero, Johnny’s performances are passionate and fierce; his dynamic ability is displayed in both flashy solos as well as in more restrained interior lines. Johnny Blas, an innovative performer, bandleader and composer showcases many of his own original arrangements on six Latin Jazz CD recordings under the famed CuBop label and has earned critical praise in the Latin and Jazz music press. Johnny's adventurous and eclectic music is sought after and enduringly popular throughout Europe and is played in the Top 10 U.S. radio markets.
Listed below is a brief overview of his music resume.
WDCB 90.9 FM The Mac Summer Music Series, Chicago Fox News, Chicago Jazz Festival, Oak Park Festival, Deer Park Jazz Festival, Shed Aquarium Jazz Nights, Elkhart Jazz Festival, Evanston Cultural Festival, Xavier Unviersity, KLON Radio, Bally's Total Fitness, Catalina Bar & Grill, Steamers Jazz Cafe, Spaghettini's Seal Beach, Playboy Jazz Festival, NAMM Show, Cubby Bear Chicago, Navy Pier Chicago, and various Corporate and Private Events.
The Jaime Fox Show
Dr Pepper Commercial with
Celia Cruz and Paulina Rubio
Johnny's resume includes working with or for top artists such as:
Francisco Aguabella, Mindi Abair, Chuck Loe, Boney James, Jackiem Joyner, Greg Vail, Marc Quinones, Brenda Russel, Najee, Dave Pike, Greg Adams, Evelyn Champagne King, Max Bennett, Bobby Allende, Terry Gibbs, Dave Koz, Poncho Sanchez and many more.
Oro Solido, Eric Benet, La Sonora Poncena, Celia Cruz, Willie Colon, Ruben Blades, Gran Combo de Puerto Rico, Oscar D'Leon, Con Funk Shun and many more
Original music used by:
Miller Beer Company, Dockers, Hermosa Beach Festival, The New Fantasy Island, Levis Strauss, Benson & Hedges
Current members of Johnny Blas' band are:
- Johnny Blas - band leader, conga, bata, other percussions and chorus
- Edwin Blas - musical director, arranger, trombones, chorus
- Daniel Castillo - guest vocalist
- Carlos Ordiano - piano
- Ruben Ordiano - timbales
- Juan Karlos - bongos
- Roberto Zelaya - bass
- Robert Incelli - flute