Frito Puente lights up the stage with Latin jazz July 18

The flavor is back, indeed! Northeast State goes en fuego on July 18 when the Frito Puente band brings their sizzling Latin jazz music to the stage for the College’s Hot Nights, Cool Music summer concert series.

Local jazz aficionados are excited for the return of Frito Puente to stages around the region. Jazz musician Bill Perkins has reunited in Johnson City with his former band mates Sam Burke on bass and Jose Castillo on percussion. Perkins and Burke have played together in various jazz, blues, and rock groups for over 30 years.

Frito Puente performs at 7 p.m. in the Regional Center for the Performing Arts Theater, located on the College’s main campus in Blountville, adjacent to the Tri-Cities Regional Airport. The concert is free and open to the public.

Frito Puente
Frito Puente

Perkins has been playing guitar since 1971 and has appeared on stage in the United States, Germany, Malta, Brazil, and Mexico. In his extensive travels, Burke has played with symphonies, garage bands, power trios, R&B show bands, folk bands, lounge bands, and bar bands. Castillo joined the band 13 years ago. He has played trumpet, flugle horn, guitar, and percussion not anywhere close to as long as his band mates. Cast spearheads the Latin sound that has defined this latest rendition of this ensemble.

Frito Puente’s style spans Latin-flavored artists like Santana, Antonio Carlos Jobim, and Chick Corea, jazz standards from Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and Thelonius Monk, and original compositions. Like any good jazz ensemble this core trio has had guest soloists, singers, and friends join them over the years. The Bill Perkins Quartet, Quintet, Trio and now known as Frito Puente, has performed at The Blue Plum Festival, Corazon Latino, and a wide variety of venues throughout the region.

For more information about this or other events in the Hot Nights, Cool Music series, visit or contact

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