By Patte Purcell
One of the best parts of doing the Celebrity Jazz Jams is discovering the treasure trove of exceptional musicians we have in the desert. At the Latin Jazz jam we did in February an exceptionally talented flamenco guitarist that played with Joe Baldino caught my attention. His name is Sergio Villegas and he is from Santiago, Chile. He plays ten instruments but his passion is for the guitar. Beginning at the age of 5 he started lessons on the accordion. At age 6 he went to the Conservatory of Music and began his studies in classical music. By the age of 15 he was a professional musician. He moved to LA in 1980 and played with one of the pioneers of Latin from the Andes with a group called Sajama. He recorded 12 CDs with them.
His career has included a total of 50 CDs that he’s performed on worldwide. He was hired by Quincy Jones to play with the LA Philharmonic Orchestra. He’s recorded with dozens of artists including Shakira, Baby Face, Los Fugitives, the famous Gypsy Kings and the #1 Clarinet player in the world Enrique Ceretti. He’s done movies, films for Disney, and TV shows including on air appearances in 5 of the ‘Sex and the City’ episodes.
He’s toured the world with different bands to Russia, South America and Europe.
In 2000, he moved to the desert where he met his wife Shirley, one of the famous Evaro family members. He brought his South American style that he has shared from New York to Miami Beach. They teamed up to do performances together with Shirley on vocals. They have been very successful in getting some of the top country club, festival and hotel gigs in the desert. Wednesdays and Thursdays they are at Bistro Sixty from 5-8, Fridays at PGA West from 5:30-8:30, Tuesday at Indian Wells Country Club from 4-7.
He’s also opening for Fitz’s Jazz Cafe at the Mc Callum again this year at the concert series. He will also be participating in the River Concert series on Dec. 3 at 4 pm.
He’s been opening the Mc Callum series for several years and has opened for Kenny G, George Benson, and more. He’s also performed at the Broken Glass Award for Women in Film for the last 5 years. In addition he plays for private parties and events.
Last year he realized one of his personal goals when he recorded his first CD with his most requested songs and one of his originals as well.
He has his degree from the Conservatory of Music and in addition has a degree from La University in business administration and marketing. He takes the business side of music very seriously.
What an impressive resume! He does a lot of charity work and sometimes apologizes to his audience for having to charge them to hear him play. He says “music saved my life” and his goal is to make people happy.
He plays at the Indio Senior Center regularly and says its “priceless”. It brings him joy to know that millions of people around the world have his CDs. He says he ‘forgets everything’ when he plays. One of his biggest thrills was playing for a crowd of 900,000 people at an LA festival. His stint at Universal Studios introduced him to playing for a full day, which he loved.
When I asked him for a message for his fans, he said “Music is a dream come true, and the ability to make people happy is a gift.”
Sergio and Shirley will be guest artists at my new Celebrity Jam Fest, on Wednesday Oct. 5 from 6-9 at Woodhaven Country Club in Palm Desert. Tickets go on line soon. Visit www.purplepass.com/celebrityjamfest or call 1-800-316-8559
To contact Sergio email him at email@example.com or call him at 760-397-7220.