Jose Conde (PiPiKi Records, 2011)
Cuban-American singer-songwriter heads in new directions in his new album titled simply Jose Conde. While his previous album R)Evolución focused on Afro-cuban music forms, Jose Conde heads into multi-genre directions, including reggae, pop, nueva trova cubana, tango, samba and dub.
This bold change may surprise some of his tropical music fans, but this is the music José Cónde wants to do now. He will be presenting the new album live at a release party at Nnew York City’s 92nd Street Y Tribeca venue on September 9.
“When I was in my 20s, I didn’t dance at all. I had to come out of my shell,” Cónde exclaims with a laugh. “I’m a late bloomer, though I’ve always been explorer. Now I’ll go anywhere and do anything, I’ll try anything, experimenting with flavors and playing around with different elements and sounds.”
Jose Conde has a pop sensibility, with catchy songs and danceable beats intended to draw bigger audiences. “The whole idea of fusing elements of American funk, Cuban son, and Brazilian music has been kicking around in my head for years. But it was still in the context of a ‘Latin’ band. Now I’m free to move in any and all directions.”
Cónde played, recorded, and mixed the majority of the album himself. When no bassist was able to provide the right groove, Conde decided to do it play bass himself. “I had trouble communicating the exact vibe to bass players,” says Cónde. “There’s an unusual relationship between vocal and bass phrasing that the song demanded, an interplay that lets the vocals breathe and lets the bass line get funky. It had to sound exactly as I heard it in my head.”
Joining on the Jose Conde album are drummer Gintas Janusonis (Anjelique Kidjo), Brazilian percussionist Ze Mauricio (Choro Ensemble), Cuban conga player Roman Diaz, Chilean Yayo Cerca on cajon, Jorge Bringas (La Excelencia), guitarist Rafael Gomez (Lila Downs), and Chilean keyboardist Pablo Vergara (Groove Collective).
“This isn’t just another project or a concept,” Conde said. “This record is about me as a songwriter. It’s about one guy in Brooklyn, his songs, and his voice. Everything else is secondary.”
Buy the album or MP3 downloads: