Barnhart performs with Latin band Son d’ Aqui during inaugural Jazz Fest

Trumpeter Scotty Barnhart is joined onstage by Latin band Son d'Aqui

A Tallahassee couple danced to the sounds of the music at Tallahassee's inaugural Jazz and Blues Festival.


Scotty Barnhart joined Son d’ Aqui’s Jazz performance Friday during Tallahassee’s first Jazz and Blues Festival located in Cascade’s Park at the Capital City Amphitheatre.

Barnhart, jazz trumpeter, is a two-time Grammy Award winner, who has performed at every major Jazz and Blues Festival across the world.

The Latin band, Son d’ Aqui is based in Orange Park, Fla., played primarily salsa music and Latin Jazz.

“We are so lucky,” says the director of the Latin band Henry Zayas of Puerto Rico. “We started with a computer and mini tracks and look at where we’re at right now.”

The band started between 1999 and 2000 in the church.

“Every year we have a bazaar where we come together and play popular music and we had this idea where we should take it outside the church and go to many other places,” Zayas said.

The opportunity to have Scotty Barnhart join your band on stage is not one that happens every day, musicians said.

“We got to exchange cords on stage which was fun, a musician thing that basically means he got to play then I got to play, he got to play and so on,” says Paul Jackson, a trumpet player in the band and student at Jacksonville University.

Son d’ Aqui received this opportunity after a gig at Fort Walton Beach in June. The band members were not only happy to gain the opportunity to say they performed with Scotty but they were also pleased to see the audience’s reaction.

“Just seeing everybody happy and dancing, that’s all I need and that gets us going,” says Maria Mendoza, singer of Son d’ AQui.

Audience members also enjoyed watching Barnhart play with Son d’ Aqui.

“Watching Scotty Barnhart perform with Son d’ Aqui was very wonderful,” says Tallahassee native Joann Brown.

Others agreed.

“This was a wonderful experience for me. Son d’ Aqui was my favorite performance this evening. I was not expecting to see hear some Latin jazz and some salsa,” says Maria Morales of Tallahassee Florida.”

Members of the audience could be seen dancing with one another across the park, some even came close to stage to enjoy the performance.

“I never played with them before,” Barnhart said. “I just met them today and that’s what the music is all about. Just let the music tell you what to play and that’s what I was thinking, don’t miss and just let the music tell you what to play.”

Barnhart said that it was his training as a musician that allowed him to flawlessly perform with Son d’ Aqui.  The legendary musician emphasized the vitality of progress.

“I am just trying to getter better all the time. You never stop growing. Once you think you got it, it’s over. Even a scientist has to keep doing experiments — Same thing with Jazz especially.”

Barnhart is still looking up to the people he was looking up to when I was 12 years old:  Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Duke Ellington, Count Basie.

Overall, Barnhart wanted the audience of Tallahassee’s Jazz and Blues Festival to be educated while being entertained.  He said jazz and blues are America’s original art forms.

“These are two genres of music that are connected that I think more people need to know about. Usually you go to a jazz club and you just listen and just kind of hang out. No one really interacts but here at a festival you can do that.

We just want people to understand that you can come together and have a good time with this music. It’s serious and cerebral but you can have a good time.”

Barnhart and his team are going to start planning for next year as soon as this one ends.

Barnhart asked for Tallahassee residents to remember next year for the second festival: “Tallahassee is a great Jazz town. I think the people loved it. We’re going to try to make it bigger and better by getting more and more sponsors in.”

The jazz festival continued on Saturday and Sunday.