Combining social and political activism with an abiding interest in such forms as son, bolero, and jarocho music, the eight-piece Chicano outfit Quetzal is well-situated in the Los Angeles music scene

Combining social and political activism with an abiding interest in such forms as son, bolero, and jarocho music, the eight-piece Chicano outfit Quetzal is well-situated in the Los Angeles music scene. The band has the talent and the social consciousness to exert a Los Lobos-like influence, but its sound is much less beholder to rock. Quetzal's musical preoccupations are firmly rooted in Mexican traditional styles and Cuban son, especially son montuno and son jarocha—a sound specifically associated with Veracruz. A beautiful example of the latter style is the original tune "Jarocha Elegua." Jazz, R&B, and hip-hop also figure in Quetzal's vibe but only as embellishments, such as Ray Sandoval's Santana-esque guitar solo on "Cenzontle." Throughout, the elegance of Quetzal's genre-crunching and distinctive songwriting remains a beautiful thing, indeed.—PVV

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