Pembroke Pines enjoys salsa infused jazz at monthly concert

Residents of Pembroke Pines attended the monthly Jazz In The Pines event at the Charles F. Dodge City Center from 3 to 5 p.m. last weekend, bringing classic jazz infused with tropical salsa to the community.

For this month’s installment of the event, performances were by Cachi and his Salsa Jazz Ensemble and live art from Lifrancis Rojas.

The Oct. 20 event took place on the courtyard of the city center, which has been opened for about a year and a half. The Charles D. Dodge City Center itself holds concerts, conventions, and has 3,200 removable seats, according to Pembroke Pines Mayor Frank Ortis.

“It’s a great event for our city,” said Ortis. “You’ll see we’ll fill up the plaza, people just like to hear and Cachi and the Salsa Jazz Ensemble today are just one of the great groups that come out and play for the people.”

The musical entertainment was provided by the jazz and salsa fusion group composed of about eight men. Guests, like Chino Nuñez, a former percussionist for Latin artists like Gilberto Santa Rosa, were brought to the stage to perform with the group.

“We bring Latin jazz, with a very heavy salsa swing,” said Phil Cachi Velez during his opening statement at the concert.

Velez said he felt honored to be a part of this event.

“I will let you know, I’m an actual resident of Pembroke Pines, I literally live four streets from here. I could actually walk here,” said Velez. “It is a pleasure and an honor to be here with everyone.”

Due to the popularity of the event, the city is currently considering doubling the number of jazz concerts that take place.

The salsa-infused jazz performance was accompanied by a live art demonstration by Venezuelan artists Lifrancis Rojas.

According to her, her art is abstract, heavy on textures and utilizes different types of papers like tissue paper, as well as a fibrous paper that comes from Mexico.

“This paper has been created since pre-Spanish times called ‘amate,’” said Rojas in Spanish. “It’s made with the bark of a tree called ‘jonote’ and what I like about working with this paper, is not only the pre-Spanish heritage and all that comes behind that, but I also relate all this physical fiber what I call ‘emotional fiber.’”

She considers this “emotional fiber” to be all the fiber of one’s being, what’s the thing one likes to do the most, and that relationship between the art’s material and the emotions is what , according to Rojas, she likes.

Rojas finds that her art’s message helps to alleviate the anxious feelings that people endure in today’s society and it’s a reminder to do the things you love amid the stress.

“For the past couple of years, I’ve attended these events not only as an artist but as a member of the Pembroke Pines community,” said Rojas. “It impresses me, everything the city of Pembroke Pines has done for the art. I appreciate it as an artist, and as a member of the community too. This is what makes all of us get involved with the arts, and art makes us more sensible, there are too many problems in the world, it makes us sensible, and a bit happier.”

Rojas believes that the city has done a good job of harvesting art activities in the city, not only in the Charles D. Dodge Center but in other spaces in the area.

“They have Studio 18, which has a lot of exhibitions open to the community, workshops, classes,” said Rojas. “The artists that are in these studios are of great quality. These spaces have always received me with open arms and are always involving me in activities.”

Aside from the eventual concert, there is an art exhibition center called “The Frank,” named after the mayor, which, throughout the year, will rotate and change exhibitions.

“The current one is taking place from August 29 through October 26,” said Ortis. “All artists display their works, and it’s just really good.”

According to Ortis, there are always new events coming up. The circus will be happening soon.

“We have all types of events,” said Ortis. “SMG, who runs the center, they hire all of them.”


Victor Jorges is a broadcast journalist specialized in covering stories about culture, arts and human interaction. His work includes documentaries, feature packages and written profiles. He currently works at CNN en Español as an associate producer. He hopes to cover Miami's Hispanic American culture for a local network upon graduation. Jorges was born in Caracas, Venezuela and moved to Miami in 2007.