Latin jazz band on the move

| 15 Feb 2012 | 11:18

The newest sound on Sussex County's music scene is Latin jazz from RP and the Band. The group has been performing for two years and has played all over the tri-state area including the Copacabana in New York City and a sold-out show at Trumpets Jazz Club in Montclair. All the band members are from Sussex County towns, including Wantage, Sparta, Hardyston, Hamburg, Franklin, Montague. The Band got its beginning when its founder Ray Perez was working as a car salesman. He sold a car to Carmine Iantorno, who would later become the lead English language vocalist of the band. Iantorno noticed a CD on Perez' desk that Perez had made when he was a solo performer. The conversation turned to music. Iantorno mentioned that he was a musician himself. Then, Perez and his agent listened to Iantorno and “knew he was going to do the job for the group,” Perez says. The two men began recruiting members for a band, including some from Iantorno's previous band, and assembled an 11-piece band, “almost verging on an actual orchestra” as Iantorno says. “Ray is the heart of the group,” says Iantorno. In addition to being the lead Spanish language vocalist for the group, Perez also writes, composes, arranges and plays piano. The other members of the band play a variety of instruments: guitar, trumpet, trombone, baritone sax, bass, flute, drums and bongos. RP and the Band released their first album in September 2011 called “Second Chance” and they've made a music video for the song, “Separated.” The video stars Perez' 27-year-old son Javier (his Great Dane, Apollo, has a bit part) and is a ballad about love, romance, betrayal and regret. Perez says Latin music is “extremely popular” but that Americans “don't understand the Spanish words” so he has translated some Spanish songs to English. The album includes songs in both English and Spanish. The band has played locally at the Elks Club in Wantage and aer working to get more local exposure, Perez says he is working on putting together a dance contest among area dance schools. The prize: an appearance in the band's next video. Meanwhile, Perez says he is looking for a venue to hold the contest. He hopes to have 10 schools participating. Find out more Visit See their video on their Web site and on Look under RP and the Band.