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Jon Secada

Jon Secada bringing a 'reflective potpourri' to Largo

On Sunday, the Largo Cultural Center plays host to an international pop sensation, a Latin heart throb, a top-selling singer-songwriter, a two-time Grammy winner, a Broadway star and a college professor.

And that doesn't include the guy's three-piece band.

Jon Secada, whose breakout work goes back to the early 1990s with Gloria Estefan, will perform a matinee and evening show inside the Tonne Playhouse. Secada's appearance is being billed as acoustic.

"I'm looking forward to bringing to Largo a reflective potpourri — jazz, classics, Broadway songs, as well as some of my earlier music,'' Secada, 47, said in a telephone interview from his home in Miami.

Secada, who moved to South Florida from Havana at age 9, attended the University of Miami. He holds a bachelor of arts in music and a master's degree in jazz vocal performance from the school.

"I like wearing different hats and creating fusion with my career,'' Secada said.

His self-titled 1992 debut album sold more than 6 million copies worldwide. Since then, he has received two Grammy awards and appeared in three Broadway productions (Grease, Cabaret, and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat).

Secada, who has gained attention in recent years as a judge in Latin America Idol, can also list music educator on his resume for work at Miami-Dade Community College and his alma mater.

"Truthfully, I love most of all that I was able to study music in college, and I really just consider myself a working musician,'' Secada said.

Along with his wide-ranging repertoire, Secada deserves praise as a successful crossover artist, according to Franco Silva, host of Latino 54, a radio show on WMNF from 9 to 10 a.m. Wednesdays.

"Not that it is easy to be commercially recognized in your own native tongue, but, to go on and be recognized by the U.S. mainstream audience is such an amazing feat,'' said Silva, 46.

The disc jockey also praises Secada for spreading awareness of what Latin/Caribbean music encompasses.

"As a Latin-American artist, he grew up speaking two languages but being an American kid, for the most part, watching John Wayne movies," Silva said. "This gives him the ability to go back to the culture and music of his mom and dad and bring it to the forefront here in the U.S., which is his country.

"We can't limit American music to just grunge, or rock 'n' roll. It includes all cultures, salsa, merengue, rock 'n' roll, doesn't it?''

When asked if his audience would be expected to sit still at the Cultural Center during fast-paced merengue and Latin numbers, Secada laughed.

"Well, at my shows," he said, "I always encourage dancing.''

Piper Castillo is reachable at pcastillo@sptimes.com.

Fast facts

If you go

Who: Jon Secada

When: 2 and 7:30 p.m., Sunday.

Where: Largo Cultural Center, 105 Central Park Drive.

Cost: Tickets are $35 VIP; $30 in advance; $35 day of the show; $27 senior; and $26 groups.

For information: Call the Largo Cultural Center box office at (727) 587-6793 or visit www.largoarts.com.

Jon Secada bringing a 'reflective potpourri' to Largo 02/03/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 3, 2009 10:52pm]
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