Noché Caliente

Diaz Music Institute presents legendary salsa singer Meñique with special guest Jose Valentino performing with Houston’s premier youth group “Caliente”, directed by Grammy Nominated Music Educator Top 10 Finalist Jose Antonio Diaz.

“Noche Caliente” (Hot Night) is an incredible evening of great music entertainment that celebrates the different cultures of the Hispanic community.  Held at Houston’s beautiful Miller Outdoor Theater, this program features a renowned Latin artist in musical dialogue with America’s hottest Latin youth group, Caliente. This event includes music and dance performances from professional and amateur artists with a focus on Hispanic heritage. “Noche Caliente” is the culmination of a weeklong Artist-In-Residence program.  This event is embraced by a multitude of cultures; the music transcended cultural lines and generations of listeners. Past performer include: Eddie Palmieri, Bobby Valentin, Johnny Pacheco, Pete Escovedo, Dave Valentin, Larry Harlow, Poncho Sanchez, Nestor Torres, Michael Stuart, Marlon Fernandez, Jimmy Bosche, and Brenda K Starr.

Meñique Bio

Legendary Salsa singer Miguel ‘Meñique’ Barcasnegras was born on December 30, 1933, in Panama City, Panama. Menique was the featured sonero for the Tito Puente Orquesta Charlie Palmieri Orquesta, Willie Rosario Kako y su Orquesta, Louie Ramírez Orchestra and his own orchestra. Exceeding 60 years of musical history with his voice as clear as ever and with the surprising vitality that Meñique radiates on stage is unusual and deserves applause.  Indeed, this little giant still hits the vocal registers that are heard in his original records, whether it be with the song ‘Niña y señora’ that he recorded with Tito Puente, ‘La cuesta de la fama’ that he recorded with Willie Rosario, ‘Tiene sabor’ that he recorded with Charlie Palmieri or’ El gato sobre la lluvia’ that he recorded with Louie Ramirez, his mellifluous soneos today are faithful reflections of all these hits. Over the years, the great Meñique has preserved intact his voice, which gives him a special place in the history of Latin music, and especially in the New York salsa movement.

When Meñique was 16, his brother-in-law, Bacilio Hermandez, singer of Guillermo Cantillo’s Sonora Panamaña, discovered him upon listening to the aspiring singer while visiting his sister.  When Bacilio asked who was singing, the sister replied that it was Meñique and that Meñique always spent his time singing when he got into the shower.  Bacilio waited for Meñique to get out the shower and invited him to accompany him to a rehearsal of Guillermos Cantillo’s Sonora Panameña, an invitation that Meñique accepted with great eagerness. It turned out that he was given the position of chorister in the orchestra.  However, there was a time that Bacilio decided to sing with another orchestra without telling anyone, and Meñique, who knew some of the songs, had to sing lead vocals and later kept the position of lead singer of the band.  Meñique did not get to record with Sonora Panameña, but this experience paved the way for other groups such as Raul Ortiz y su Orquesta, La Orquesta Universal y Amado Boza”s La Perfecta; which was the number one band in the early 50’s.

In 1968 the meeting with Kako happened when Kako and his band were invited to play at the carnival of Panama.  The singer at that time was Camilo Azuquita who because of problems with Kako left the tour leaving the timbales player with his arms crossed and without a singer. To resolve the situation, Kako started looking for a replacement right there in Panama, and ended with two candidates: Beto Dubois and Meñique.  There was an audition, and the competition was strong and even.   Kako liked Beto, but Rafael Lavastar, Kako´s first trumpet, liked Meñique’s style.  In the end, they decided to take both of them to New York.  However, by misfortune, Beto experienced many problems when he tried to get his visa. Since Meñique did not experience such setbacks, he was able to travel with Kako that year.  Nevertheless, only a few months later Meñique would leave Kako to go with Tito Puente. They had only spent two or three months in New York when Kako had to alternate with Tito Puente in a performance; who after hearing Meñique directly proposed to Kako that he let Meñique free to go with his orchestra. Kako agreed and so it was that in January or February 1969 Meñique was already Tito Puente’s singer.

Meñique’s first stay with Tito Puente Orchestra would not last long, because the harsh winter, lack of transportation and intense weeks of performances wore out Meñique to the point that a few months later he leaves Puente’s orchestra for the warm land of Puerto Rico with Willie Rosario. While in New York and before going with Willie Rosario, Meñique wrote the song La cuesta de a fama that later came out on Willie Rosario’s album entitiled El Bravo de Siempre 1969), the song with which Meñique won accolades together with the famed bandleader. After that period of two months with Willie Rosario, Meñique returns again with Puente and that is where he would be for almost six years.

Meñique with Hérman Olivera

Jose Valentino Bio

Internationally acclaimed recording and performing artist, Dr. José Valentino Ruiz is a two-time Latin GRAMMY® nominated artist -producer – audio engineer; a participator in a Parents’ Choice® GOLD Winner album; a 45-time DownBeat® Music Awardrecipient; renowned multi-instrumentalist, composer, record producer; a caring higher education university professor of music business, jazz, and production & applied lesson instructor of commercial bass and flute; and, sought-after national clinician known for his passionate performances, versatility & fluid expression on the flute, saxophone, bass, piano, and latin percussion.

José has collaborated as a co-main artist, performer, sideman, and producer for albums with Grammy-winning® and internationally recognized artists/composers such as Chick Corea, Paquito D’Rivera, Hubert Laws (NEA Jazz Master), Candido Camero (NEA Jazz Master), Jim Walker, Phil Ramone, Jonathan Butler, Alex Acuña, Aaron Neville, Brian Lynch, Nestor Torres, Dave Valentin, Andy Montanez, Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez, Dave Cleveland, and Abraham Laboriel, just to name a few.
As a radiant performer, José has performed with his ensembles, José Valentino Band, José Valentino & Crossmatch Vamp, and Touch (iPad Band), at many prestigious venues: Carnegie Hall, DC Jazz Festival, The NAMM Show (Largest music convention in the world) – 5x, RCA Dome, Festival Miami, The Midwest Clinic International Band & Orchestra Conference, Orlando Convention Center, Tanglewood Music Center, Jazz Education Network Conference – 2x, COG International General Assembly – 5x, National Museum of Arts of Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico’s Choliseo, Winterfest Youth Conference, Tampa Jazz Festival, Low Country Jazz Festival, Cape Coral Jazz Festival- 2x, St. Armand’s Jazz Festival – 6x, MAV’s Summer Festival in the Bahamas, Jacksonville Jazz Festival, Winter Park Jazz Festival, Orlando Jazz Festival, Seabreeze Jazz Festival After Party, Clearwater Jazz Holiday – 3x, Festival Miami – 2x, Busch Gardens Summer Nights Music Series, Seaworld’s Viva La Musica, National Flute Association, Florida Music Educator’s Association Conference, Texas Music Educator’s Association Conference, National Association for Music Education Conference, Florida Technology and Education Conference, Popular Music Education Conference, TEDx Talk, FOX News, CBS, NBC, World News, CNN, ABC, ESPN, Univision, Telemundo, and CBS. Performances outside of the U.S.A. include: Canada, Greece, Spain, Germany, Hungary, Austria, France, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Bahamas, Liberia, Nicaragua, and so forth.

Jose Valentino with Jim Walker


Caliente, a Down Beat Magazine Music Award Winner, is the internationally acclaimed youth ensemble for Diaz Music Institute.  Caliente, the only youth group to receive the Houston Press Best Latin Band Award, is under the direction of Grammy Nominated Music Educator Top 10 Finalist José Antonio Diaz. The ensemble has appeared with some of the music industry’s biggest stars such as Alex Acuna, Ignacio Berroa, Jimmy Bosch, Candido Camero, Ndugu Chancler, Pete Escovedo, Jon Faddis, Larry Harlow, Jessy J, Brian Lynch, Johnny Pacheco, Eddie Palmieri, La Mafia, Rebeca Mauleon, Ismael Miranda, Frankie Negron, Danilo Perez, Roberto Roena, David Sanchez, Poncho Sanchez, Arturo Sandoval, Aldaberto Santiago, John Santos, Brenda K Starr, Michael Stuart, Tony Succar, Nestor Torres, Bobby Valentin, Dave Valentin, and Miguel Zenon just to name a few.

Behind the Scenes look at 2013 Noche Caliente Show at Houston’s Miller Outdoor Theater featuring Caliente and Marlon Fernandez.

Diaz Music Institute’s Caliente Performing with Legendary Fania All-Star Bassist “El Rey De Bajo” Bobby Valentin.