Unless you've already been lucky enough to hear, the first thing you probably don’t know about Estaire Godinez is that she is - by no stretch of the imagination - an international sensation. A smoldering vocalist and ace percussionist, the Oakland, California born Mexican American has recorded on more than sixty albums. And has been consistently sought after for her essential performance skills by a number of world renowned artists. From stints with Prince to Coke Escovedo to the Brothers Johnson, to George Benson, she has proven herself a stylistic chameleon capable of wearing dozens of musical hats. And they all “look” fantastic on her.
Most recently on tour with jazz guitarist extraordinaire, George Benson, her newest CD - Live from the Dakota - finds Estaire taking time to slip out the the hats and into bandleaders gloves; and she indeed shines as a stunning Latin chanteuse. Her candor and charisma dominate the proceedings- there are uproarious catcalls, sly across-stage banter, and moments of brilliant percussive improvisation. Just as often, however Godinez is happy to focus the musical spotlight on her band, which consists of Peter Schimke (piano/keyboards), Eric Leeds (sax) Mike Scott (guitar), Stokely Williams (drums) and Serge Akou (bass). Mutually appreciative of her talents, their instruments weave effortlessly in and around her conga beats, creating a hypnotic fusion of jazz, pop and Brazilian/Afro-Cuban. They all plan with seductive ease, exchanging musical flirtations with airtight execution.
Whether swing or Samba, backbeats or Boss Nova, Godinez has always been fascinated by the push and pull of different rhythmic styles, Mirroring her musical diversity, she is multilingual (Spanish, Portuguese, English) and has lived and performed throughout the world. By her late teens, she’d left her native California and signed on as both singer and manager for a salsa band in Amsterdam. Soon they were sharing the stage with acts like Peter Tosh and Bow-Wow-wow at the infamous Paradiso. From there it was off to Spain where she was involved in a number of projects: backing Duncan Due, Javier Ruibal, and pop star Joaquin Sabina, sitting in with house bands for popular TV shows and fronting Madrid-based all-original pop-rock mainstays, Estaire Godinez and the Face Band to name a few. She has performed at the North Sea Jazz Festival and at London’s International Rock Awards, and has toured extensively through Europe and South America.
Her debut release from Under the Radar Music Group, Live at the Dakota shows clearly that Godinez is most in her element as a singer and bandleader. Yet she’s also well aware that what she can learn from both peers and leading luminaries alike is precisely what fuels her own creativity as a front woman. In addition to her invaluable experience in what she calls, “the company" in workshops at Boston’s Berkelee School of Music, and has also trained privately with the celebrated Congero Giovanni Hidalgo.
Growing up in a musical family (she still plays frequently in Hawaii with brothers Carlos and Salvador, both prominent musicians in their own right), Estaire has always been a natural at absorbing and expanding upon the wealth of influences that surround her. “Playing with George Benson, Prince and other people is what feeds my solo music- other musicians are what inspire me most,” says Godinez. Unquestionably, the passion with which she embraces her craft is suggestive of her wide-eyed approach to the world in general. It is an uncommon gift that enables her to invite audiences into the creative fold with awe and delight.
Estaire now shares her talents in Los Angeles and her following seems to grow with each performance. She has produced her second CD, This Time, recorded in Minneapolis with the musicians from her first album Live at the Dakota. Since her move to Los Angeles, Estaire has been performing around town at prestigious Venue's such as Vibrato and Catalina's. You can also catch her every Monday night at Cafe Was with Actor/musician, Jeff Goldblum and the Mildred Snitzer Orchestra. Estaire is currently finishing a cd project with Legendary composer Leon Ware. Estaire has also been involved in the world of acting. She is a member of the Screen Actors Guild, and has seven principal roles under her belt, in commercials and film, including a movie produced by and starring Benjamin Bratt. She starred in the film and sang on the movie score. She is now preparing for a movie in which she will be starring with Paul Rodriguez.
Estaire is currently finishing a children's book she wrote and did the illustrations for. She will be launching her jewelry line at the end of this year.