A picture of 'No Way José' - a salsa and jazz-inspired Latin ensemble

No Way José is a salsa and jazz-inspired Latin ensemble, founded by Colombian pianist Juancho Manrique, Australian singer Amila Sargeant and Colombian percussionist Jośé Luis Mendez Rodríguez.

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The project is a space where Juancho and José's formal study of jazz, salsa, bolero and other Latin genres, and Amila's intuitive and powerfully fun vocal style, come together in an explosion of colour perfect for dancing.

No Way José interweaves original works and unearthed classics from the mid to late 20th century Latin Americas, bringing the energy and passion of Latin music to Australian audiences in a way that connects with both young and old.

The band is available in various lineups from trio to sextet, with the collaboration of guitarist Javi Rodríguez, trumpeter Glen Minto, double bassist Gustavo Colmenares and trombonist Juan Gualteros, each bringing a versatility of sound from the energy of a small salsa orchestra, to the vulnerability of a jazz trio.

Amila Sargeant (Voice)
Amila Sargeant is a Brisbane born and Ipswich raised vocalist and musician with a devotion to bringing Latin American folk music to contemporary audiences. Her obsession with salsa, bolero, ranchera, llanera and other traditions have led to collaborations in multiple projects including Latin jazz/salsa ensemble No Way José. Her voice ranges from sweet and delicate to powerfully deep, and expresses honest emotion.

Juan Manrique (Keys)
Originally from Colombia, Juan Manrique has been living in Australia for the past 13 years. Music and the piano have been his shadow from a very young age. In 2000, Juan travelled to Israel, to record his first piano single, Passive Blue. Then moving to Barcelona, Spain, Juan studied piano harmony and composition with teachers Kiko Gener and Rafa Madagascar at the Escuela de Musica Moderna y Jazz de Barcelona (Barcelona School of Modern Music and Jazz).

In Spain, Juan joined local band, Ovni, playing synthesizers and piano in the album ‘Plastic Land’. Together with Ovni, he played large music festivals, such as the Lagarto Festival in Jaen and other venues in Barcelona and Madrid. From the year 2001 until 2008, while living in Spain, Juan had the opportunity to play, produce and record at the International Church of Barcelona ‘Growing Together’; Express-so band ‘Wait for me’ and ’Who Cares’ and also to play for the well- known Spanish hip hop band, PRAXIZ.

Moving from Barcelona to Adelaide in 2008, Juan has recorded with bands and musicians, including: Michael Kapsis ‘The Whirlwind Call’; Phat Panda ‘Paws for Reflection’; Swinging Hammocks ‘Los Pillos’; Abbey and the Bad Habits and The Wholias ‘Guata Beauty’.

José Luis Mendez (Percussion)
José Luis Mendez is a percussionist from Bogota – Colombia who grew up in a family of musicians. He was surrounded by music from an early age and started playing the drums at the age of 10. His music is influenced heavily by afro-latin jazz, jazz, fusion, and funk.

Gustavo Colmenares (Bass)
Gus is a Colombian bassist who fell in love with the low end from an early age. Having played with several orchestras in his mother land, Gus moved to Australia over 10 years ago, and has actively participated in the development of the Latin music scene in Brisbane. From the Mexican corridos to the Chilean cuecas, his groovy lines are known for making everyone get up to dance.

Juan Gualteros (Trombone)
Juan Gualteros is a Colombian trombonist living in Australia. His style reflects his love for the big band sound mixed with the latino ska, reggae and salsa power. Juan has experience playing multiple genres during his 20+ years as a musician, performing with bands, ensembles and orchestras around the world. Ska and reggae are his favoured genres. Juan has been part of well-known ska bands La Severa Matacera, The Klaxon, La UrBand, and La Bregadera. Additionally, he has played genres including salsa, jazz, pop, rock, gypsy rock, reggae, and classical music.

In Australia, Juan he has been exploring different sounds as a product of the convergence of people and cultures from around the globe. He is currently performing with El Timbón, Chukale and Cubania (Salsa/timba bands with a strong Cuban influence), Rikaela and the Rudecat Sound (Reggae) and Mango Matic (Funk Latino). Other notable past performances include concerts with the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Colombia, Orquesta Filarmónica and Orquesta Filarmónica Juvenil de Bogotá (Colombia), Universitätsorchester Mannheim (Germany), Winchester College Symphonic Orchestra (England), Orquesta Sinfónica Juvenil del País Vasco (Spain), Orchestra Sinfonica del Conservatorio F.A. Bonporti di Trento (Italy) and North Sydney Chamber Orchestra (Australia). As well as this, Juan was an active member of the Orquesta Sinfónica de Bogotá from 2014 to 2019, as a bass trombone player.