The Battle Of Santiago was a naval battle fought at the turn of the century.
In a war to control Cuba, American war ships cornered, and eventually destroyed, the entire Spanish naval fleet assigned to the New World.
As a band name, it conjures up an image of revolution, struggle and drama, and for that reason it’s probably perfect for this project.
A collaboration between bassist Michael Owen, percussionist Daniel Mansilla and saxophonist Mike Butler, the trio began experimenting with Afro-Cuban rhythms in a non-traditional context.
Veterans of the Toronto music scene, as well as graduates from prestigious jazz programs, the early recording sessions began to expand and enthrall the three, who quickly decided to call in friends to expand the recording process and be a viable, exciting live entity.
The addition of rock guitarist Lyle Crilly, flutist Jason Hay and percussionist Joel Perez accomplished their vision — the group began to describe their new sound as Afro-Cuban post-rock.
With an obvious Latin foundation, the seven piece started layering their diverse musical backgrounds into the recording.
Jazz, hip hop, rock, country, dub and more collided into a pleasant mix, test driving their material with various live shows around Toronto.
While the term “something for everyone” is a tad cliche, it’s completely appropriate for this group full of groove. Audiences love their mix of musical influences, cerebral but danceable.
Finally emerging with the 12 song album Full Colour, the disc delivers the same punch and spice as their live show. Within their structured framework of instrumental grooves and passages, space and time for each member to solo, improvise and explore the limitless sonic possibilities of a new kind of music. This is The Battle Of Santiago.
The Battle of Santiago takes the stage at The Royal tonight. Tickets are $10. Doors open at 8 p.m.