Tag Archives: Latin jazz

Artist Profiles: Bobby Matos

Bobby Matos

Bronx-born Bobby Matos has been playing Afro-Cuban rhythms for many years. He was there, in New York, when the Salsa boom was about to start and take over the minds and souls of a generation that was craving for a musical revolution that would bring them pride and happiness.

Born in a Puerto Rican family, Bobby Matos began playing music playing pots and pans in his grandmother’s apartment and went on to backstage informal lessons with conga drum masters Patato Valdés and Mongo Santamaria.

His first gigs were in the early 6s beat bohemian Greenwich Village Cafes, but he soon found himself playing in every type of venue; from Bronx dance halls to Carnegie Hall, to elegant supper clubs, Central Park Concerts, Off Broadway theaters, and After Hours clubs in El Barrio.

He was inspired and encouraged to play timbales by Willie Bobo and Tito Puente, and in the late 1960s attended the New School and Manhattan School of Music studying composition and arranging. Around this exciting time for Latin Music in New York, he recorded My Latin Soul, in 1968. This recording eventually became a much prized cult classic influencing many 197s and 8s Acid Jazz groups on both sides of the Atlantic.

After touring and recording with artists like Ben Vereen, Bette Midler, Fred Neil, Jim Croce, Ray Rivera, Joe Loco, Miriam Makeeba, and many others, Bobby moved to Los Angeles where he began experimenting with an Afro-Cuban Jazz band where he could blend (and twist) musical elements from Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Tito Puente, Mongo Santamaria, Wayne Shorter, Eddie Palmieri, and the rich legacy of Afro-Cuban music.

In the 1980s and 90s, he recorded several albums, most notably 5 critically acclaimed CDs for Ubiquity Records’ Cubop label. He also produced CDs for Ray Armando, Pucho and the Latin Soul Brothers, Dave Pike, John Santos, and Jack Costanzo.

Discography:

My Latin Soul (Philips, 1968)
Collage-Afro Cuban Jazz (Night Life, 1993)
Chango’s Dance (Cubop Records, 1995)
Footprints (Cubop Records, 1996)
Sessions (Cubop Records, 1998)
Live at M.O.C.A. (Cubop Records, 1999)
Mambo Jazz (Cubop Records, 2001)
Made By Hand (Lifeforce Jazz, 2004)
Charanga Chango (Lifeforce Jazz, 2006)
Acknowledgement (Lifeforce, 2006)
Gratitude (Lifeforce, 2007)
Unity (2009)
Beautiful As the Moon (2012)
Ritmo & Blues (2014)

www.bobbymatosmusic.com

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Artist Profiles: Bio Ritmo

Bio Ritmo – Photo by Chris Smith

Bio Ritmo (Biorhythm) is a remarkable Richmond, Virginia-based salsa band led by keyboardist Marlysse Simmons. Bio Ritmo’s sound is rooted in the great Afro-Cuban and Puerto Rican salsa traditions.

It is their vision for bringing salsa “into the now” through skillful layering of jazz, urban, electronic and global sonic influences while maintaining the integrity of their foundation; and unusually profound and introspective lyrics.

Discography:

Que Siga La Musica (Shamless Records, 1996)
Salsa Galactica (Permanent Records, 1997)
Rumba Baby Rumba (Mercury / Triloka Records, 1998)
Bio Ritmo (Locutor Records, 2004)
Salsa System EP (Locutor Records, 2006)
Bionico (Locutor Records, 2008)
La Verdad (Electric Cowbell Records, 2011)
Puerta del Sur (Vampisoul Records, 2014)

www.bioritmo.com

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Healing Latin Jazz

Mari Nobre – “Live and Alive”

Mari Nobre – “Live and Alive” (Chrome Records, 2017)

Italian-American vocalist Mari Nobre (maiden name Mariangela Spiezia) recorded this album live at the Jan Popper Theatre at UCLA (California). Although some of her past albums have focused on rhythms from across Latin America and pop, on “Live and Alive” she performs new Latin Jazz arrangements of American jazz standards as well as Brazilian classics by Antonio Carlos Jobim.

Her band features a multi-ethnic roster that provides a jazz flavor and colorful Brazilian influences.

Mari Nobre recorded this album just three weeks after her surgery, recovering from cancer. Mari Nobre has indicated that music had a strong effect in healing her so she’s donating part of the sales from the album to the children’s cancer research.

The lineup on “Live and Alive” includes Mari Nobre on vocals; Leo Nobre on bass; Justo Almario on saxophone and flute; Angelo Metz on acoustic and electric guitar; Sandro Feliciano on drums; and Daniel Szabo on piano.

“Live and Alive” is a passionate album by the talented multilingual vocalist Mari Nobre.

Buy the digital version of Live and Alive or the CD at CD Baby.

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Artist Profiles: Yomo Toro

Yomo Toro – Photo by Verna Gillis/Soundscape

Yomo Toro, a cultural icon for 50 years, was one of Latin music’s most beloved musicians. Victor Guillermo Toro was born on July 26, 1933 in the Guarnica province of Puerto Rico in Ensenada, where a statue of him now stands in the town square.

He began learning cuatro with his father and during his teens performed with many popular and folkloric groups. He moved to New York in 1956, and throughout the ’60s played with such groups as Ramito and Los Panchos.

From the late ’60s through the mid-’70s he hosted a TV show on Channel 41. In 1970, he joined Willie Colon and Hector Lavoe in recording the classic Asalto Navideño, a groundbreaking album that combined New York salsa with traditional Puerto Rican Christmas music and became one of the best-selling salsa albums of all time.

He was a member of the famed Fania All-Stars, which included such artists as Willie Colon, Hector Lavoe, Johnny Pacheco, Bobby Valentin, Roberto Roena, Ray Barretto, Larry Harlow, Cheo Feliciano, and Ismael Miranda, and toured with the band throughout the world.

Yomo Toro

He appeared on more than 150 albums, including over 20 solo albums for Fania, Island, Rounder and Green Linnet Records. He has recorded with such stars as Harry Belafonte, Paul Simon, Linda Ronstadt, David Byrne, and Marc Anthony, made several cross-cultural albums, and worked on the soundtracks of Woody Allen’s Bananas and Crossover Dreams.

In his last years he performed with Larry Harlow and the Latin Legends Band and appeared in the off-Broadway show Sofrito! In addition to performing, he was an accomplished songwriter, particularly of romantic ballads.

In 2012, several press releases came out in June, confirming that Yomo Toro was severely ill, suffering from kidney failure due to many years of high blood pressure.

Yomo Toro died on Saturday, June 30, 2012 at 11:40 pm after more than a month in a New York hospital due to kidney failure.

Discography

* Asalto Navideño
* The Good, The Bad, The Ugly, with Willie Colón and Héctor Lavoe (Fania, 1975)
* Funky Jibaro (Polygram, 1988)
* Gracias (Mango, 1990)
* Las Manos de Oro (Xenophile Records, 1995)
* Celebremos Navidad (Protel, 1996)
* Celebrando Navidad (Ashe Records, 1999)
* Romantico (1999)
* Musica del Mundo Entero (2000)
* Alma de Ramito (Fania, 2000)
* El Espiritu Jibaro (The Jibaro Spirit), with Roswell Rudd (Sunny Side Records, 2007)
* 24 Canciones Inolvidables de R. Hernandez (Combo, 2008)
* La Herencia (Fania, 2008)

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Artist Profiles: Willie Colón

Willie Colón – Photo by Timothy Fadek

Trombone player, composer and bandleader Willie Colón is one of the pioneers of modern salsa and Latin jazz.

Colón holds fifteen gold and five platinum records, and has collaborated with celebrated artists such as Fania All-Stars, Hector LaVoe, Rubén Blades, David Byrne, Celia Cruz, and Yomo Toro amongst others. His music, which powerfully influenced modern Latin jazz, reflects both rhythmic and traditional lyrics.

His achievements in all his activities are widely recognized. He has created 40 productions, and as musician, composer, arranger, singer, and trombonist, as well as producer and director, Colón still holds the all time record for worldwide sales.

Born William Anthony Colón on April 28, 1950 in the Bronx, New York, and raised by his grandmother, her strong beliefs and personality, powerfully influenced his devotion to his cultural roots. Colón started playing trumpet at the age of 12, and switched to trombone two years later.

Colón’s album “El Malo” has become known as one of the first albums to feature the “New York Sound”, blending in jazz harmonies and jazz style soloing, Colón along with pianist and bandleader Eddie Palmieri, largely defined the sound of salsa”.

As a community leader, he has won both local affection and national recognition. In 1991 he was awarded the Yale University’s CHUBB fellowship, a political recognition he shares with the late John F. Kennedy, Jesse Jackson, Moshe Dyane, Ronald Reagan, and George Bush to mention a few.

In November of 1999 he became Dr. William A. Colón through a doctorate he received from Hartford, Connecticut’s Trinity College for The Art of Courage, a recognition given to artists who have used their art to make political change.

Through his work and positive message he has developed into a national and internationally respected sociopolitical voice and artist.

Discography

* Guisando (Fania, 1969)
* Asalto Navideño (Fania SLPF399, 1972)
* The Big Break (Fania SLP394, 1976)
* Siembra (Fania, 1978)
* Solo (Fania, 1980)
* Canciones del Solar de los Aburridos (Fania, 1983)
* Top Secrets (Fania, 1989)
* Illegal Aliens (Fania, 1990)
* Color Americano (CBS, 1990)
* Honra y Cultura (CBS, 1991)
* El Malo (Fania, 1991)
* 49 Minutes (Fania JM00525, 1992)
* Altos Secretos (Fania, 1992)
* Corazón Guerrero (Fania, 1992)
* Deja Vu (Fania, 1992)
* El Baquine de Angelitos Negros (Fania JMCD00506, 1992)
* Last Fight (Fania, 1992)
* The Best (Sony, 1992)
* Grandes Éxitos (Fania, 1992)
* Super Éxitos (Fania, 1992)
* Hecho en Puerto Rico (Fania, 1993)
* Willie & Tito (Vaya, 1993)
* Best, Vol. 2 (Sony, 1994)
* Lo Mato (Fania, 1994)
* El Juicio (Fania LPCD00424, 1994)
* Trans la Tornenta (Sony, 1995)
* Brillantes (Sony, 1996)
* Fania All-Stars (Sony, 1997)
* Mi Gran Amor (Madacy, 1999)
* Idilio (Sony Tropical 83999, 2000)
* Best (Fania 689, 2000)
* Demasiado Corazón (Líderes Entertainment Group 950 036, 2000)
* Criollo (BMG Latin 93611, 2002)
* La Experiencia (2004)
* Colección de Oro (2005)
* OG: Original Gangster (2006)
* The Player (2007)
* La Historia: The Hit List (2007)
* El Malo Vol II: Prisioneros del Mambo (2008)
* Asalto Navideño Live/En Vivo (2008)
* La Esencia de la Fania (2008)
* Historia de la Salsa (2010)
* Selecciones Fania (2011)
* Serie Premium: Sólo Éxitos (2013)

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Artist Profiles: Tito Puente

Tito Puente

Tito Puente was born Ernest Anthony Puente, Jr. on April 20, 1923 in New York City. His parents had just arrived from their native Puerto Rico and young Tito was nurtured in East Harlem’s “El Barrio” neighborhood that served as a cultural crossroads for Hispanic youth.

Surrounded by the urban sophistication of one of the world’s most cosmopolitan cities, Puente and his friends were none-the-less strongly influenced by an island culture that maintained its love of tropical music and the mother tongue.

Puente’s father, Ernest Sr., was a foreman in a razor blade factory. His mother called her son “Ernestito”, Little Ernest, then shortened the name to Tito. “Ernestito” grew up with one ear tuned to boleros and rumbas while the other one strained to hear the great swing bands of the day and an emerging jazz tradition.

Puente’s mother noticed his musical talent and enrolled him in a piano class at 7. He studied drums for years before switching to timbales. His musical education began with twenty five cent piano lessons, followed by a study of the drum set.

Singing with a local barbershop quartet followed, as did dancing lessons. With his younger sister Anna, Puente performed in a child song and dance team in the early 1930’s. “I pride myself on being one of the few band leaders who really knows how to dance,” he said. The background in dance cemented his sense of rhythm. It also encouraged the development of the extroverted personality and flamboyant stage presence, for which he would soon be known, traits that helped lift him from the ranks of sidemen to star status by the late 1940s.

It was clear from an early age that percussion would become Puente’s dominant form of musical communication. He learned the basics from the Afro-Cuban drummer of a band called Los Happy Boys. His first big break came when the United States of America entered World War II and the regular drummer of Machito’s famous big band was drafted into military service, allowing Puente to take his place.

Tito’s skill and technical competency paid off right away. For perhaps the first time in Latin music history, the timbales were brought to the front of the bandstand, and Puente played the drums standing, not seated, as it had been the custom. That simple change of routine liberated the rhythm section and opened the door for the flashy style of performance that in time would become the norm.

Puente spent three years in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He returned to Manhattan (New York City) and studied conducting, orchestration and theory at the famous Julliard School of Music from 1945 to 1947 thanks to the G.I. Bill (a bill that provided college or vocational education for returning World War II veterans, who were referred to as GIs).

Prolific as he was famous, Tito Puente’s hit records and compositions became classic gems to Latin music aficionados. ‘Oye Como Va’ and ‘Para Los Rumberos’ have been recorded by the rock music legend, Carlos Santana. His albums Top Percussion, Dance Mania, Puente in Percussion, Cuban Carnival, El Rey and El Número Cien are essentials on any collectors list.

Throughout his illustrious career Tito Puente was awarded 5 Grammies as well as 8 nominations. In addition, Puente received a Presidential Commendation for his tour of duty in World War II, the Eubie Blake Award from the National Academy of Arts and Sciences, the ASCAP Founders Award and the Washington D.C.’s Hispanic Heritage Committee Award for the Arts.

Puente had the honor of performing for 4 Presidents of the United States and countless foreign heads of state. In July 1996, Tito performed before the largest gathering in history of the International Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia.

Puente has a “Star” on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and four honorary doctorate degrees, one from each of the following: State University of New York at Old Westbury, Long Island University, Bloomfield College in New Jersey and Hunter College in New York City. The Caribbean division of the United States Postal Service put out a cancellation stamp in honor of Puente in response to requests made by the Unión De Músicos De Puerto Rico.

The Smithsonian National Museum presented Tito Puente with the Medal of Honor and their Lifetime Achievement Award in a ceremony entitled “Oye Como Va” on October 9, 1996. During this ceremony, Tito donated the timbal he used at the 1996 Olympic Summer Games in Atlanta to the museum. His instrument is displayed with their collection of Cultural History.

On September 29, 1997, Puente was awarded the Medal of the Arts by the National Endowment For The Arts of the United States of America. This ceremony took place at the White House where President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary Clinton presented this prestigious award to the “King of Latin Music.” Jane Alexander, Chairperson of the National Endowment For The Arts, said: “The individuals we honor today, have enlightened us with their vision. They have uplifted us with their art, music, dance, and theater, and strengthened America with their extraordinary contributions to our culture.”

On November 20, 1997 Tito Puente was inducted into the International Jazz Hall of Fame. Among the elite inducted during the ceremony were: Nat King Cole, Miles Davis, Ray Charles, and Anita O’Day.

To the general public, Tito Puente was well known for his various television and motion picture appearances. He was featured on television programs like: The Bill Cosby Show, The Simpsons, The Late Show with David Letterman, New York Undercover and Sesame Street. He also appeared in the feature film based on the award winning novel by Oscar Hijuelos, “The Mambo Kings” and in Woody Allen’s “Radio Days.”

After reaching his 50 year career milestone, which was rewarded with proclamations from New York Governor George Pataki, Mayor Rudolph Giulianni and Borough President Ruth Messinger, and achieving an endless list of recognitions and awards, Tito Puente showed no signs of creative fatigue.

Puente’s last concert appearance was in Puerto Rico, on April 29, 2000, completing the last of his series of performances with Puerto Rico’s Orquesta Sinfónica. After finishing that show, he was rushed to a nearby hospital due to breathing problems. Puente left the hospital and returned to New York to continue his treatment. He died May 31st, 2000.

Discography:

* Abaniquito (1949)
* El Timbral (1949)
* The Best of Tito Puente: El Rey del Timbal! (1949)
* Babarabatiri (1951)
* Mamborama! (Tico LP-1001, 1955)
* Goza Mi Cha Cha Cha (1955)
* Dance the Cha Cha Cha (1955)
* Cuban Carnival (1955)
* Cha Cha Cha, Vol. 3 (1955)
* Puente in Percussion (1956)
* Puente Goes Jazz (1956)
* Top Percussion (RCA Victor LSP-1617, 1957)
* Night Beat (1957)
* with Puente (1957)
* Basic Cha Cha Cha (1957)
* Tito Puente Swings/Vicentico Valdes Sings (1958)
* Puente’s Beat/Herman’s Heat (1958)
* New Cha Cha/Mambo Herd (1958)
* Dance Mania, Vol. 1 (RCA, 1958)
* Cha Cha Cha at the El Morocco (Tico, 1958)
* Puente in Love (1959)
* Mucho Cha Cha (RCA Victor LSP-2113, 1959)
* Mambo with Me (Tico LP-1003, 1959)
* Dancing Under Latin Skies (RCA Victor LSP-1874, 1959)
* Tambo (1960)
* Revolving Bandstand (1960)
* The Exciting Tito Puente Band in Hollywood(1961)
* Pachanga con Puente (1961)
* Dance Mania, Vol. 2 (1961)
* Vaya Puente (1962)
* Tito Puente y Parece Bobo (1963)
* Tito Puente Bailables (1963)
* More Dance Mania (1963)
* In Puerto Rico (1963)
* Excitante Ritmos (1963)
* El Rey Bravo (1963)
* Mucho Puente (RCA Victor LSP-1479, 1964)
* Latin World of Tito Puente (1964)
* El Mundo Latino de Tito Puente (1964)
* De Mi Para Ti (1964)
* Tú Y Yo (1965)
* Tito Puente Swings/The Exciting Lupe Sings (1965)
* The Best of Tito Puente (RCA, 1965)
* Homenaje a Rafael Hernandez (1965)
* My Fair Lady Goes Latin (Roulette 25726 , 1965)
* Combinacion Perfecta (1966)
* Carnaval en Harlem (1966)
* Cuba y Puerto Rico Son (1966)
* What Now My Love (1967)
* El Rey y Yo (1967)
* 20th Anniversary (1967)
* The King (El Rey) (1968)
* Etc, Etc, Etc (1969)
* Tito Swings, The Exciting Lupe Sings (Tico, 1969)
* Tito Puente en el Puente (On the Bridge) (1969)
* Ti Mon Bo (1969)
* Quimbo Quimbumbia (1969)
* Mambos by Tito (Palladium PLP 121, 1969)
* Lo Mejor de Tito Puente (1969)
* Bossa Nova (Roulette 25193, 1969)
* Pa’lante! (1970)
* Presenta a Noraida (1971)
* En España (1971)
* Tito Puente and His Concert Orchestra (1972)
* Algo Especial Para Recordar (1972)
* Para Los Rumberos (1972)
* Grandes Exitos de Tito Puente (1975)
* Los Originales (1976)
* La Pareja (1978)
* Homenaje a Beny Moré (1978)
* The Legend (Tico, 1978)
* Homenaje a Beny, Vol. 2 (1979)
* Ce’ Magnifique (1981)
* The Concord Jazz Heritage Series (1982)
* Oye Como Va: The Dance Collection (1982)
* On Broadway (Concord Picante, 1982)
* Puente Now! The Exciting Tito Puente Band (1984)
* El Rey (1984)
* Mambo Diablo (1985)
* Hits Candentes (1985)
* Un Poco Loco (Concord Picante, 1987)
* Sensacion (1987)
* Salsa Meets Jazz (Concord Picante, 1988)
* Goza Mi Timbal (Jazzyvisions, 1989)
* Out of This World (1990)
* The Mambo King: His 100th Album (1991)
* Mambo of the Times (1991)
* The Best of Tito Puente, Vol. 1 (1992)
* No Hay Mejor (1992)
* Lo Mejor de 12 Exitos (1992)
* Live at the Village Gate (1992)
* Dance Mania 80’s (1992)
* Cuando Suenan Los Tambores (1992)
* Royal ‘T’ (1993)
* Nuevo Mambo (1993)
* Night Beat/Mucho Puente Plus (1993)
* More Spanish Songs That Mama Never Taught Me… (1993)
* Master Timbalero (1993)
* Mambo Gozon (1993)
* Blue Gardenia (1993)
* Top Percussion/Dance Mania (1994)
* Tito Puente’s Golden Latin Jazz All Stars (1994)
* Barbarabatiri (1994)
* The Best of Dance Mania (1994)
* Mambo Y Cha Cha Cha (1994)
* Mambo Beat: The Progressive Side of Tito… (1994)
* Cubarama (1994)
* 3 Grandes Orquestas E Interpretes de La… (1994)
* Yambeque: The Progressive Side of Tito Puente (1995)
* Tito’s Idea (1995)
* The Complete RCA Victor Revolving Bandstand… (1995)
* Tea for Two (1995)
* More Mambos on Broadway (1995)
* Mambos with Puente (1949-51) (1995)
* Mambo Mococo (1949-51) (1995)
* Jazzin (1995)
* Fiesta Con Puente (1995)
* Fania Legends of Salsa Collection, Vol. 3 (1995)
* 20 Mambos/Take Five (1995)
* The Very Best of Tito Puente & Vincentico.. (1996)
* Special Delivery (1996)
* El Rey del Timbal (1996)
* El Rey de la Salsa (1996)
* Cha Cha Chá: Live at Grossinger’s (RCA Victor LSP-2187, 1996)
* Jazz Latino, Vol. 4 (1997)
* Greatest Hits (1997)
* Percussion’s King (1997)
* Selection of Mambo & Cha Cha Cha (1997)
* 50 Years of Swing (1997)
* Tito Meets Machito: Mambo Kings (1997)
* Cha Cha Cha Rumba Beguine (1998)
* Dance Mania ’98: Live at Birdland (1998)
* The Very Best of Tito Puente (1998)
* Timbalero Tropical (1998)
* Yambeque (1998)
* Absolute Best (1999)
* Carnival (1999)
* Colección original (1999)
* Golden Latin Jazz All Stars: In Session (1999)
* Latin Flight (1999)
* Latin Kings (1999)
* Lo mejor de lo mejor (1999)
* Mambo Birdland (RMM, 1999)
* Rey (2000)
* His Vibes & Orchestra (2000)
* Cha Cha Cha for Lovers (2000)
* Homenaje a Beny Moré. Vol. 3 (2000)
* Dos ídolos. Su música (2000)
* Tito Puente y su Orquesta Mambo (2000)
* The Complete RCA Recordings. Vol. 1 (2000)
* The Best of the Concord Years (2000)
* Por fin (Finally) (2000)
* Party with Puente! (2000)
* Obra maestra (2000)
* Mambo Mambo (2000)
* Mambo King Meets the Queen of Salsa (2000)
* Latin Abstract (2000)
* Kings of Mambo (2000)
* Cha Cha Cha for Lovers (2000)
* The Legends Collection: Tito Puente & Celia Cruz (2001)
* The Complete RCA Recordings, Vol. 2 (2001)
* RCA Recordings (2001)
* Puente caliente (2001)
* The Best of the Concord Years, double CD (Concord Picante 4391, 2001)
* King of Mambo (2001)
* El Rey: Pa’lante! Straight! (2001)
* Cocktail Hour (2001)
* Selection. King of Mambo (2001)
* Herman Meets Puente (2001)
* Undisputed (2001)
* Fiesta (2002)
* Colección Diamante (2002)
* Tito Puente y Celia Cruz (2002)
* Live at the Playboy Jazz Festival (2002)
* King of Kings: The Very Best of Tito Puente (2002)
* Hot Timbales! (2002)
* Dr. Feelgood (2002)
* Carnaval de éxitos (2002)
* Caravan Mambo (2002)
* Tito’s Idea (Verve, 2005)
* We Love Salsa (2006)

Bibliography

* Tito Puente: When the Drums Are Dreaming
* Tito Puente’s Drumming With the Mambo King
* Tito Puente – King of Latin Music
* Tito Puente and the Making of Latin Music
* Recordando a Tito Puente

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Virtuosic Jazz Explorations of Afro-Latin and World Music

Duende Libre – Duende Libre (2017)

Duende is the self-titled debut album by a Latin jazz trio featuring three talented Seattle-based musicians. The project is led by keyboardist, composer and producer Alex Chadsey, who has a background in jazz and classical music, and salsa bands as well. Chadsey connected with Uzbek bassist Farko Dosumov and percussionist Jeff “Bongo” Busch.

The three musicians share a passion for Afro-Caribbean music and this shows in the band’s music that is a well-crafted combination of contemporary jazz and Latin American traditions. In addition to the Caribbean influences, the album also shows Brazilian rhythms and funk.

Duende Libre goes beyond the Americas too. Salif is a tribute to Malian world music star Salif Keita, which is a new direction for Chadsey that he’d like to explore further.

On Duende Libre, Alex Chadsey, Farko Dosumov and Jeff “Bongo” Busch deliver a richly textured set of Latin and African grooves and melodies under a jazz perspective.

Buy the digital download version of Duende Libre.

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Superb Latin Jazz Guitar Discoveries

Steve Khan – Backlog – Asuntos Pendientes (Tone Center, 2017)

Guitar maestro Steve Khan continues his remarkable series of Latin jazz explorations with Backlog. Khan skillfully combines soloing with rhythm guitar techniques as well as subtle slide effects. He’s supported by an outstanding rhythm section featuring three percussionists and a bass player.

The rich, irresistible percussion section adds an undeniable Afro-Cuban flavor to the music, even when Khan performs jazz standards by Thelonious Monk and Ornette Coleman, a tribute to the late Bobby Hutcherson, or even Stevie Wonder’s hit song “Go Home.”

There is no smooth jazz here. Steve Khan delivers real contemporary jazz infused with beats from the Spanish-speaking region of the Caribbean.

The lineup on Backlog includes Steve Khan on guitar, Rubén Rodríguez on baby bass and electric bass; Bobby Allende on conga and bongo; Marc Quiñones on timbales, bongo and percussion; Mark Walker on drums.

Guest featured Rob Mounsey on keyboards and orchestrations; Randy Brecker on trumpet; Mike Mainieri on vibraphones vibraphone; Bob Mintzer on tenor saxophone; and Tatiana Parra on vocals.

On Backlog – Asuntos Pendientes Steve Khan delivers a set of masterful performances opening new pathways for the electric guitar in the context of Latin jazz.

Buy Backlog – Asuntos Pendientes

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Latin Jazz Flute Virtuoso Dave Valentin Dies at 64

Dave Valentin

Puerto-Rican American Latin jazz flutist Dave Valentin passed away today, March 8, 2017 in New York City.

Valentin was born in The Bronx neighborhood in New York City to Puerto-Rican parents. At 12 he started playing the flute and received music lessons from Hubert Laws.

Throughout the 1970s, Valentin played jazz and Latin jazz in various well-known bands. He also released numerous solo albums for the GRP and Highnote labels.

Dave Valentin was a dedicated flutist and innovator of crossover jazz. Under the mentorship of Hubert Laws, the New York native developed a signature sound by combining the influences of R&B, pop, and Brazilian music to create a specialized form of Latin jazz,” said Neil Portnow, President/CEO of The Recording Academy. “After his recording debut with Ricardo Marrero’s group, he went on to collaborate and perform with Tito Puente, Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez, Bill O’Connell, and Dave Samuels, among others. In 2002 he teamed with Samuels for the Caribbean Jazz Project album The Gathering, which won a GRAMMY® for Best Latin Jazz Album. His 2005 album World On A String and 2011 album Pure Imagination each received Latin GRAMMY nominations for Best Latin Jazz Album. Our thoughts go out to Dave’s family, friends, and fellow colleagues.”

In March of 2012 Valentin suffered a stroke that left him partially paralyzed and unable to perform.

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The First Day of Spring in Krakow

Arturo Sandoval in Krakow 2017 – Photo by Paulina Tendera

The Krakow appearance of the Arturo Sandoval Sextet at Centrum Kijów kicked off spring, which, thanks to Letni Festiwal Jazzowy Piwnicy pod Baranami (http://www.cracjazz.com/pl/) [Cellar under the Rams Summer Jazz Festival], arrived unusually early this year. Cuban and afro rhythms warmed us and infected us with dance fever throughout the two-hour performance.

Arturo Sandoval had such a great time onstage with music and rhythm that it would have been a shame for us to enjoy ourselves any less.

The performance also featured several jazz ballads, performed solo by Sandoval, on the piano; reminiscences of Dizzy Gillespie, a great friend and mentor of Sandoval’s who died in 1993.; a short but comical and substantial lecture, “What is bebop?”; and Sandoval’s excellent sense of humor. Thus no element of jazz was lacking.

Arturo Sandoval Sextet in Krakow 2017 – Photo by Paulina Tendera

Sandoval also returned to his classic repertoire, from which he had departed on Eternamente Manzanero, his latest album, recorded with Jorge Calandrelli, which was dominated by romantic ballads and even pop sounds.

Anyone wishing to be reminded of the mood of the Krakow concert would be well advised to dig To a Finland Station (1982) out of his or her vinyl collection.

In Krakow starring:

John Belzaguy – bass
Tiki Pasillas – percussion
Dave Siegel – keyboard
Johny Friday – drums
Kemuel Roig – piano

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