In a time where much of the music being produced is electronic, auto-tuned and performed live with the accompaniment of computer technology, it is refreshing to see a pure artist get recognized for their skills and dedication to their craft. Such is the case with trumpeter Gilbert Castellanos, who recently won two awards at the San Diego Music Awards for his album, "Espérame en el Cielo." The album was named Jazz or Blues Album of the Year, as well as Album of the Year 2023, making it a standout project in the San Diego music scene.
When asked about the awards, Castellanos said, “I still can’t believe it!! Two awards!! Best jazz or blues album and the first jazz artist in the event’s history to win album of the Year! Honored and grateful. Thank you San Diego!”
Castllanos also performed at the awards and included YLJC student, Luke Little on bass. Young Lions students often perform with Castllanos and can be seen every Wednesday at Panama 66 in Balboa Park where he hosts a weekly jam session.
YLJC’s founder and artistic director, Gilbert Castellanos, has been a prominent figure in the jazz community for years, performing with renowned musicians such as Dizzy Gillespie, Wynton Marsalis, Quincy Jones, Horace Silver, Christian McBride, Lewis Nash, Oscar Hernandez, Les McCann, Diana Krall, Willie Nelson, Michael Bublé, and Natalie Cole.
His latest album, "Espérame en el Cielo," showcases his impressive musical abilities and features a talented ensemble of musicians. Joshua White on piano, Christopher Holliday on alto sax, Tyler Kreutel on drums, and marking his debut performance on an album, former YLJC student, John Murray on bass (who was 17 at the time of the recording).
Overall, "Espérame en el Cielo" is a triumph for Castellanos and his ensemble, showcasing their exceptional musical abilities and heartfelt passion for their craft. It's no surprise that the album has received critical acclaim, winning two awards at the San Diego Music Awards and solidifying Castellanos' position as one San Diego’s most celebrated musicians.
Thank you Gilbert Castellanos for KEEPING JAZZ ALIVE in San Diego! We are so lucky to have you!