Los Angeles Times Friday, June 22, 1990 Jazz Review
The bane of jazz players has always been the occasional need to make music for dancing. Violinist Susie Hansen solved the problem Wednesday night at Bentley's in Santa Monica with a blend of salsa and Latin jazz that kept the dancers dancing and the musicians swinging.
With a group that includes three percussionists and favors pieces by Willie Colon and Tito Puente, Hansen takes her Latin music seriously. Her most effective tactic has been to incorporate her electronic instrument into the musical mix with arrangements that use the violin as a trumpet-like voice.
Hansen was a ball of energy--shouting instructions to the players, knocking out energetic solo lines, singing backup vocals for lead singer Eddie Ortiz, and creating a general atmosphere of high voltage excitement. Her soloing, especially when percussionists David Romero, Victor Baez and Ricardo "Tiki" Pasillas built up a full head of steam, blended her bebop roots with the disjunct rhythmic accents of salsa.
Carving out a personal arena in Latin jazz has not been an easy task for Hansen. Neither women instrumentalists nor violinists have ever had much of a role in salsa. To her credit, she seems to be succeeding while creating a brand of music that is as physically moving as it is intellectually stimulating.
The Susie Hansen band continues at Bentley's every Wednesday night.