Valley del Sol: Playing Selena Does Not A Latin Night Make

By DJ Big Latin

DJ Big Latin is a Phoenix-based music promoter who created and owns Big Latin Entertainment. He was inspired to get into the music industry when he worked as a driver for Studio 47 in the Bay Area and had the opportunity to talk to music talents like New Kids on the Block, Janet Jackson, Tupac, Beastie Boys and Vanilla Ice. He has been a music promoter since 1988 working with BMG, MCA, Priority, Motown ,and Deathrow. He can be found playing all flavors of music in clubs and venues around Phoenix though he specializes in Latin jams. His favorite tunes to play are the ones you don't know are your favorites…yet

It seems like every week you hear about a new “Latin night” being hosted somewhere in the Valley. This is a long-established technique for many clubs to draw in the Latino crowd.

The original Valley Latin nights started in the early '90s courtesy of local Latin promoters like Benny Arce, Dj Shy and Albert Lineses III AKA DJ AL3. These pioneers were the catalyst for Latin nights at venues like Zazoo's, Coyote Bay and Club Caliente.

While the other clubs subscribed to the Billboard Charts school of disc-jockying, these guys were putting it down for the Latinos by mixing Top 40, tejano and cumbia hits together.

It's too bad that these days most of the "Latin nights" in town amount to playing a few Kumbia Kings tracks or the classic “Suavemete" between Top 40 dance hits.

The average Latino is looking for more Latin in these so-called Latin nights, not a smattering of Selena between Top 40 dance tunes. If you're looking for clubs in Phoenix that stay true to the true intent of Latin nights, I recommend the following:

Check out Matador, Coach 'n' Willies, Macayos on Central, Baja Tilly's, Sky Lounge and Club Downtown. Also make sure to scope the latest Latin club nights at E4 on Wednesdays, Club PHX on Thursdays and Hard Rock Cafe on Fridays.

If you know where to look, the Latin music scene in Phoenix is still popping. Latin music is not a mere trend, it's a way of life.

Here's a big shout out to all the DJs that keep laying it down like the old boys and staying true to the music.

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Jonathan McNamara