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Veteran San Diego jazz guitarist Jaime Valle brings his long-standing Latin-jazz ensemble Equinox to 98 Bottles on May 17, for a concert celebrating the connection between the Jewish and Latino cultures, sponsored by the A.D.L. ( Anti-Defamation-League).

"There were a lot of Jews that didn't make it to Ellis Island in the 20th Century," Valle said. "Many of them ended up in Mexico, Tijuana specifically. They started a lot of the businesses in Tijuana, but not that many people know about this.

"This cross-cultural pollination also occurred in New York, in the Catskills, where Latin musicians would take Jewish melodies and apply them to Latin rhythms. Also, there were many Jews who migrated to Spain, that started up what's known as the Ladino culture. So, there's always been that connection."

Valle, who often writes the music for movie soundtracks, composed the score for Tijuana Jews, a 2005 documentary film by director Isaac Artenstein that explores some of those ideas.

"It's all about bridging that gap," says Valle. "The ADL has been working to break down stereotypes for many years. They are a good organization."

Valle began his professional career as a guitarist in 1964, playing in nightclubs around downtown Tijuana, mixing the music of Otis Redding and Ray Charles with whatever jazz they could sneak in. He hails from the school of Wes Montgomery and Grant Green, and, later on, Kenny Burrell and Joe Pass.

The guitarist splits his time between homes in San Diego and Mexico, and has been a vital force in the SD jazz community since he arrived in the early '70s. Valle played every weekend for 13 years at the US Grant Hotel downtown, and won the SDMA prize for "Best Latin Jazz," 14 consecutive times.

Expect a hot band, with Coral MacFarland on vocals, Gene Perry on percussion, Allan Phillips on piano, Tripp Sprague on saxophones, Kevin Delgado on bass and from LA, Ramon Banda on drums.

The concert begins at 7 p.m. 21+ only

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