From time to time I get the chance to take a seat down with one in every of Mexico’s most completed musicians and take heed to his or her story. Final week I used to be in a position to spend a hour with Eleazar Soto listening to him spin out how he got here to be a grasp saxophonist in jazz. Right here is a part of that interview.
Ten years in the past, a 32-year previous musician by the identify of Eleazar “Chuco” Soto arrive in Ajijic. Neither he nor Ajijic have been the identical since.
“I arrived in Ajijic August 14, 2014, to remain. I got here to Ajijic the primary time for the mountains, after which for the artwork. I studied music in Monterrey, however right here I discovered to observe my goals,” Soto informed Lakeside Information in an interview in its downtown workplace.
Not solely has Soto, now 42, discovered to observe his goals right here, however he has created new goals for the music communities in Ajijic. As a producer, saxophonist, organizer, composer, instructor and nonstop creator of music and music occasions and movies he has made a mark on Ajijic that can endure lengthy after he has sounded his final word. He has additionally constructed a neighborhood of artists, listeners, and patrons of jazz, the least in style and least appreciated musical kind in Mexico, however one which thrives in Ajijic, partly, because of Soto.
He has accomplished this by citing and nurturing not solely different musicians, however dancers and movie makers and most essential – audiences. The previous ten years have seen him file albums, stream on Spotify, arrange live shows with world-renowned jazz musicians, educate younger artists and present them the ropes, rating a movie on Ajijic’s beloved Lake goddess Michi-Cihuali, and provides innumerable performances in Ajijic and Guadalajara together with his group Trialogo.
His story started in his hometown of Monterrey, the place he first found music when his mom gave him a guitar. He performed the guitar all through secondario, however his life modified in 2003 when he picked up a saxophone and knew it was his future.
“The saxophone and I matched completely…I knew this was my instrument. The saxophone is me” I used to be in love,” he mentioned when requested why he switched from guitar to the harder and costly and fewer versatile saxophone.
He studied classical guitar in Monterrey, however he had spent years listening to his “heroes of jazz”, so he arrived in Ajijic with a large data of various music types, a data that supported in within the first few years after he fell in love with the sax
“After I was 20, I listed to the primary cassettes and CDs of Pat Metheny, John Coltrane, Wayne Shorter, Miles Davis and jazz heroes. I’m now 42 years previous so I’ve listened to jazz for 28 yrs. However once I arrived in Ajijic, I performed in lots of bands and plenty of kinds of music,” he informed Lakeside Information, “cumbia, rock, oldies, bars, weddings. ..no matter I wanted to earn a residing. However I at all times had a dream and Ajijic gave me the liberty to pursue that dream of jazz…to play the music of my heroes, and now my unique music.”
That freedom was not simple as a result of he mentioned there have been only a few jazz musicians right here, and even in Mexico. However he discovered compadres – bassist Gilberto Rios. Drummer Miguel Soto, their first pianist Jorge Vedín, and now pianist Sofia Ramierez. They represent the jazz group Trialogo, which has performed dozens of live shows, recorded three albums collectively and will likely be taking part in Guadalajara’s Teatro Maria Teresa on February 15, one of many 100 live shows he’s slated to play this 12 months.
“Discovering different musicians right here was tough at first however I discovered my jazz mates in Ajijic and I discovered even some in Guadalajara. Some I play with now, some I don’t. Trialogo could be very particular, “he mentioned, “We’ve a really particular bond – we’re like brothers, even Sofia is a brother,” he added with a smile.
Discovering his “band of brothers” was solely a part of what propelled his success. He cited 4 different essential influences – Ajijic, La Cochera Cultural, Emelia Gálvez, and the Expat neighborhood.
“Ajijic modified my music,” he informed Lakeside Information,” it was an enormous change. Due to the assist right here and audiences right here and the welcome right here I may concentrate on and develop jazz. Why jazz? My academics by no means performed jazz, but it surely strikes me. After I got here right here, I used to be in a position to work with essential jazz musicians and to play my unique music.”
As a part of why Ajijic modified his music and enabled him to thrive, he cited La Cochera Cultural, the cultural middle on Javier Minas in Ajiic.
“La Cochera is my house, but in addition my place the place I can pour my creativity into music, composition, and the place I could make my goals come true in several aspects from musician to producer,” he mentioned. Emelia (Emelia Gálvez, his associate and the Director of La Cochera Cultura) helped me tremendously, and so did Jennifer and Tom (Jennifer Stanley and Tom Weeks the founders of La Cochera Cultura) and the opposite folks at La Cochera.
Soto is the Music Curator at La Cochera, the place he additionally performs live shows, teaches music, sound engineers different occasions, organizes excursions by nationally-known artists, scores movies, and helps Emelia with administration and logistics.
He had particular reward for Gálvez. “Emelia could be very organized. She teaches me on a regular basis. Emelia has additionally discovered loads in Europe, throughout her years in Spain. I’ve discovered loads about manufacturing from Emelia,” he mentioned, noting that Emelia introduced the Spaish music and Flamenco to la Cochera and into his life.
Lastly, he credited te Expat neighborhood s in Ajijic for a part of his success.
“Expats have been crucial to my profession, for the appreciation of what I can share as an artist. It isn’t solely the cash from sponsors, however their dedication and their appreciation for what I do. This was not the case in Monterrey. In Monterrey I labored from 6 am to 2 am on different folks’s initiatives. Right here, with the assist of La Cochera and the Expat neighborhood, I can work alone initiatives. I discovered an viewers, mates, assist and a welcome right here within the Expat Group that was not current in in Monterrey,” he mentioned.
He additionally credited the Expats he has labored with in Ajijic for instructing him group. He mentioned that he has “discovered from Expats about group and the planning – its what they do…..the step-by-step approach they do issues and the planning. It’s completely different for Mexicans” He mentioned that he has observed that previously 10 years, his circle of mates within the Expat neighborhood has grown very massive and that it continues to develop.
He’s going to wish these classes in organizing and planning as he strikes ahead together with his second ten years in Ajijic. “I like large challenges they usually require group and planning…and cash,” he mentioned.
Among the many large challenges he has developing are the “Pageant Internacional de Jazz y Músicas Improvisadas Ajijic,” which he’s organizing and has scheduled for late October of this 12 months. He’s planning a multi-day pageant of the perfect native and world-famous jazz musicians in venues round Ajijc. This will likely be a bigger model of the 2018 pageant which was a serious success advert elevated Ajijic as a middle of jazz.
If that was not sufficient, he’s planning on a Pan-America tour to jazz festivals in Panama and Costa Rica, together with productions and live shows in varied venues alongside the way in which.
You possibly can normally buddy Eleazar “Chuco” Soto at live shows at La Cochera Cultural, just like the one on Sunday , Feb 11, with the Son Jarocho Music of Veracruz, which he’ll sound engineer. For extra details about the tour, the “Pageant Internacional de Jazz y Músicas Improvisadas Ajijic,” and different actions of Eleazar Soto in 2024, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photograph: banner, Eleazar Soto on state on the CCAR Auditorium in Ajijic. Photograph Patrick O’Heffernan