Louie’s musical career was crafted upon the soulful sounds of his ethnic American background and flavored with contemporary R&B, Jazz, Latin Jazz, and Salsa as well as the Great American Songbook. Steeped in music from early childhood, his first memories recall his mother singing gospel music, Mexican and Caribbean folk tunes. As early as third grade, Louie was playing bongos and learning the guitar and piano. “The beauty of Afro-Cuban music stole my heart,” he says. Early in his career, Louie performed with great artists such as Ray Barretto, Mongo Santamaria, Tito Puente, Francisco Aguabella, and Jorge Claudio. Recently he has performed with legends Natalie Cole, Gladys Knight, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Poncho Sanchez and many other renowned artists. In 2010 he shared the stage with Dave Koz, James Ingram, Patti Austin, Macy Gray and others at the annual Society of Singers Ella Award Presentation at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.
Louie’s highly anticipated third CD, “Paint the Rhythm”, made its debut in November of 2011, and features an all-star lineup of some of the most exciting and recognized names in Jazz, including Abraham Laboriel, Poncho Sanchez, Giovanni Hidalgo, Hubert Laws, Justo Almario, Peter Michael Escovedo, Bill Conte, Otmaro Ruiz and many more. The album spent 12 weeks on the Media Base National Smooth Jazz Charts reaching #11, and his popular single from the album-“Esperando”-climbed to #4. His original song, “Cu Rumba”, from his first CD, “It’s My Time” is featured in the new feature film, Water and Power, set for release summer of 2013. All of Louie’s music is available on iTunes, Amazon.com and all popular internet sites.
While Louie has had many memorable performances throughout his career, one of his favorites will always be the 34th Annual Playboy Jazz Festival at the Hollywood Bowl on Saturday, June 16, 2012. It was to be Bill Cosby’s last festival as emcee and Louie stole the show. To quote Richard Ginnell of Variety, “the Louie Cruz Beltran Jazz Ensemble was an unexpected triumph of the day.” Chris Walker, writing in JazzTimes Magazine, said “Beltran seized attendees’ attention with percolating percussion, stimulating chanting choruses and searing brass arrangements.” In addition, Louie has headlined all four of the Annual LA Vida Music Festivals at the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre in the Hollywood Hills, annually kicking off Hispanic Heritage Month and Brazilian Day for the Greater Los Angeles community while showcasing the vast variety of Latin influences in the arts. Guest artists appearing with Louie’s orchestra include Hubert Laws, Poncho Sanchez and Pete Escovedo among others.
Early in his career, Louie toured the United States, Europe, Scandinavia, the Middle East and Africa with the group Starrfire – an R&B / Latin Jazz ensemble. For many years now, Louie and his own orchestra continue to headline music festivals throughout the West, including the Carlsbad, Long Beach, Brea and Ventura Festivals among others. He will make his debut appearance at the very prestigious Oakland Jazz Festival in July 2013. Other notable performances include a guest appearance with Santanaat the Gibson Universal Amphitheatre where he also headlined Santana’s VIP show. He was proud to sing the National Anthem at Dodger Stadium for the second largest attendance in Dodger history. Additional prestigious venues where he has performed include the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas, the Ronald Reagan Library, the Petersen Museum, South Coast Winery in Temecula, etc. He has done many charitable and corporate events for organizations ranging from RBI (Major League Baseball’s Reviving Baseball in the Inner Cities) to Cancer Support Community-Benjamin Center to Doctors without Borders to Time Warner. Louie has welcomed in the New Year for guests at the beautiful Las Ventanas al Pariaso Resort in Los Cabos, Mexico; at the Peninsula Hotel and the Montage, both in Beverly Hills, California as well as many other notable venues.
Today, Louie continues to perform regularly at popular locales including the venerable Catalina’s Jazz Club in Hollywood and Vibrato in Los Angeles; at many hotels and a vast array of jazz festivals, as well as for private and corporate functions. For the last two years Louie has provided the music for the National Hispanic Media Coalition’s Impact Awards gala at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, as well as entertainment for AltaMed at their annual gala at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, where last year he shared the bill with legendary mariachi artist Pepe Aguilar. Louie appears monthly at Steamers in Fullerton, CA, a respected jazz club that features the top musicians in the business. Terence Love, owner and booker says of Louie, “He is mesmerizing! The audience can’t take their eyes off him”
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the L.A. City Council presented a proclamation recognizing Louie’s contributions to the Arts and Entertainment of Hollywood naming May 5th – Cinco de Mayo – as “Conga Day in honor of Louie Cruz Beltran”. Louie also performed at Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s private residence for the Governor’s birthday celebration, and entertained the Governors of all the Border States between the USA & Mexico at Universal’s Globe Theatre.
Among his many journalistic acknowledgments, Louie was recently interviewed about his life and music by Tavis Smiley, which was broadcast on Smiley’s nationally syndicated radio show. He is a frequent guest-interview on many commercial radio shows from California to the Caribbean. He was the Cover Story Artist for LA Jazz Scene for April 2013 and has been featured frequently with live performances and interviews on many television programs for both English and Spanish speaking audiences. A prolific songwriter and lyricist, Louie was honored with the placement of his composition “Pan Con Dignidad (Bread with Dignity)” in the compilation series “Who’s Who of Composers”. His commentaries on the history of music and its influences have been published in many well-known magazines including Latin Beat.
As a motivational speaker, Louie uses his passion and knowledge for music to bring a message of empowerment to disadvantaged youth. He has presented his message of hope and the value of education to students at schools from South Central Los Angeles, to East L.A., to the San Fernando Valley including Casa Esperanza / Blythe Street Project, HOLA (Heart of Los Angeles Youth), Santee Educational Complex, High School, Cathedral High School, and Roosevelt High School, among others.
Louie’s love of music and the many benefits it bestows on people throughout the world continue to motivate him to perform, keeping LIVE music ALIVE and WELL for all to enjoy.