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Beto y los Fairlanes Mix Cultures In Madrid

By Michael Henningsen

When keyboardist Robert "Beto" Skiles calls it "Avocado Rhythm," he's referring to the unique mixture of salsa, big band jazz, R&B, bebop, samba, reggae, Latin jazz, conjunto and cumbia that emanates from his eight-piece band, Beto y los Fairlanes. And that's about as close as anyone can get when it comes to making musical sense of their music. Schooled in symphonic popular styles and everything in between, Beto y los Fairlanes have been playing and joking together for nearly 20 years and have the distinction of having been dubbed the "International Band of Texas."

Skiles was raised in a bilingual family that moved back and forth between Mexico and Texas, affording him the richness of two very different yet melded cultures. The music he was exposed to during his childhood, as one might guess, included a little of everything that has come to be recognized as the infectious Beto y los Fairlanes' sound. "It makes your feet move and your temperature rise," says Skiles. And the Fairlanes jazz-infused sound does just that.

While their highly improvisational music flirts with traditional bebop jazz, the dance beat is ever-present, literally inspiring a dance party in nearly every venue they've played over the past two decades. And dancing and drinking, says Skiles, support you better than playing pure jazz.

Children and adults alike will find Beto y los Fairlanes to be a unique musical experience. And there's no place like Madrid in which to enjoy a sunny afternoon of music, dancing and smiles. Get your tickets early and make a short run for the border!

--Michael Henningsen

Beto y los Fairlanes will perform Sunday, June 29 at the Oscar Huber Memorial Ballpark in Madrid, N.M., for the New Mexico Jazz Workshop's 21st Annual Madrid Blues Festival Finale. Concert time is 2 p.m. Advance tickets are $8 plus service charge, available through TicketMaster. Group tickets (parties of 12 or more) are available in advance from the New Mexico Jazz Workshop (255-9798) for $6 each. Tickets are $10 adults; $8 students and seniors; $7 NMJW and Albuquerque Museum members. Call NMJW for more information.

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