Los Charly’s Orchestra (Juan Laya & Jorge Montiel) ‘Vibration’

In a musical landscape that’s in a perpetual state of flux, 2023 has bestowed upon us a musical treasure that transcends the confines of both time and genre. London’s illustrious Latin fusion duo, Juan Laya and Jorge Montiel, don their original Los Charly’s Orchestra personas to unveil “Vibration.” From the very first note, it becomes apparent that this production is not just extraordinary; it’s a profound homage to the golden ages of jazz, soul, and disco while infusing these classics with a breath of fresh air.
One of the standout features of this production is the exceptional performance by Xantone Blacq on the keys. His fingers glide across the keyboard with the finesse reminiscent of the legendary Joe Sample, known for his soul-stirring and expressive style with The Crusaders. Blacq’s keyboard wizardry adds an extra layer of depth and emotion to the music, elevating it to sublime heights.

The ensemble behind this production, featuring Juan Laya on drums and percussion, Matheus Nova on bass and vocals, and Raphael Delfino on guitar and vocals, is a formidable force. Their virtuoso instrumental performances infuse the music with subtle jazz chords that come alive, resonating with the spirit of luminaries like Donald Byrd’s ‘The Blackbirds’. Meanwhile, the disco rhythms pulse through each mix, seamlessly blending vintage warmth with a modern touch. What truly distinguishes this production is its ability to transport you back in time while keeping you rooted firmly in the present. It strikes a harmonious balance between nostalgia and innovation, creating an atmosphere that feels both comforting and refreshingly contemporary.

The brainchild of the “LCO inter sonic research project,” known as Los Charly’s Orchestra, is steered by producers Juan Laya and Jorge Montiel. Since 2007, they have been pivotal figures in London’s dynamic Latin fusion scene, drawing inspiration from the musical melting pot of 1970s New York City, where Latin, disco, and funk converged. Their catalog, including releases like “Rediscovering The Big Apple” and “Los Charlys Orchestra: Remixed,” has garnered well-deserved acclaim. Hits like “Everlasting Love” and “It’s So/History,” featuring UK soul legend Omar, have further solidified their reputation, both in the studio and on stages worldwide, from Shanghai’s Unico to Ibiza’s The Blue Marlin, as well as prestigious UK venues like the Lovebox Festival, Tropical Pressure Festival, Royal Festival Hall’s Clore Ballroom, and the iconic Jazz Cafe.

With an impressive discography boasting 146 releases on their Imagenes label over the past decade, Juan and Jorge continue to infuse their Venezuelan heritage with elements of disco, funk, jazz, soul, and Latin music, crafting some of London’s most vibrant musical compositions. Collaborations with the likes of UK soul icon Omar, the Andre Espeut Quintet, and joint releases such as “Boogie Magic” and “The Boogie Man” exemplify their musical prowess. Timeless classics like “All Around The World,” “Everlasting Love,” and “Sunshine” have earned them the support of industry luminaries, from Radio 1’s Pete Tong to BBC 6’s Gilles Peterson, Louie Vega, Lakuti, BBC 6 Music’s Craig Charles, and the esteemed Jazz FM. Their Latin-infused grooves have graced best-selling compilations, featuring remixes by renowned producers like John Morales, Dave Lee, Dimitri From Paris, Atjazz, Opolopo, and the late Jose Padilla.

Jorge Montiel, a fervent advocate of Latin-infused music in London, has embarked on a DJ residency at The Maine in Mayfair, where he spins the turntables bi-monthly on Saturdays. Furthermore, Jorge is set to host an unforgettable DJ and live percussion session alongside Xantone Blacq on Thursday, November 2nd, at The Arts Club in Mayfair, promising a night of rhythm that’s not to be missed.

“Vibration” by Los Charly’s Orchestra (Juan Laya & Jorge Montiel) is now available as a digital release under the Cat Nr IMAGENES147.


Martin Madigan