‘Samba to Soul’

Long-time friends and jazz musicians Lance Buller and Bobby Medina wanted to do something different in Tacoma.

Both have performed music for years in various styles, from classical and jazz to funk and soul. But they really wanted to host an event that bridged genres, added an educational component and offered a special kind of flair.

Thus, the idea for “Samba to Soul” was born.

The all-encompassing concert, June 18 at Tacoma Musical Playhouse, will combine jazz and soul music with Latin influences, Brazilian samba performers from the Tudo Beleza Brazilian Dance Company and low-key historical background on each piece performed.

Audiences will hear traditional guitar, trumpet, bass, accordion, piano, hand percussion instruments and, of course, vocals.

Buller, who is producing the show, said the theater would offer concert-goers a more intimate experience.

“You really feel it and get an energy,” he said. “You see people having a good time. It’s a great feeling.”

Medina, an accomplished jazz artist, has an extensive performance background. He grew up in Los Angeles hearing traditional Latin and jazz music. As time when on, pop, funk and soul also influenced his musical tastes.

During his career, Medina has been featured on national and world tours with the late Ray Charles, Frankie Valli, The Temptations, Mel Torme, Bobby Vinton, The Four Tops, The Spinners, The Coasters, Martha & the Vandellas, The Platters and Chubby Checker.

Medina said the Tacoma show is going to be interactive and entertaining.

“It will give people the chance to walk away learning something,” he said. “It’s neat to have some bit of insight into the minds of people performing.”

One important thing to note is that the concert is geared toward bringing families together, he added.

“One of the things about Latin culture is that kids grow up with music,” Medina said. “Everyone gets out and enjoys music together. I think this show is going to give people a new perspective on music and something enjoyable they don’t normally see in other places.”

“Samba to Soul” begins at 8 p.m. at the Tacoma Musical Playhouse (7116 6th Ave. in Tacoma). Tickets cost $25 and can be ordered at www.tmp.org or by calling (253) 565-6867.

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