Latin Lounge is the latest release from highly respected Puerto Rican-American percussionist Frank Colón. He has worked in the USA and Brazil, playing Latin jazz and salsa. On Latin Lounge, he delivers a deeply satisfying set of laid back tropical lounge pieces rooted in Puerto Rican, Cuban, Brazilian and Argentine traditions along with gypsy jazz, funk and flamenco, adorned with soothing sounds of sea waves and other effects.
The lineup on Latin lounge features an international cast of outstanding musicians, including well known names such as Brazilian flute maestro Carlos Malta and Russian guitarist Roman Miroshnichenko.
Personnel in alphabetical order: José Arimateia on trumpet; Raphael Batista on violin; Julio Falavigna on drums; Daniel Figueiredo on synthesizers; Jamie Glaser on acoustic guitar; Estevão Lima on bass; Jr. Lobbo on electric guitar; Luana Mallet on vocals; Carlos Malta on flute, bass flute; Kleyton Martins on keyboards; Roman Miroshnichenko on flamenco, electric and acoustic guitar; Elton Ricardo on Fender Rhodes; Christiano Rocha on drums; José Staneck on harmonica; Mateus Starling on electric guitar; Mateus Viano on accordion; Cristiano Veneza on violin, viola and cello; and Frank Colón on percussion, drums, vocals and programming.
Hector “Tito” Matos is a Puerto Rican percussionist who specializes in the traditional Puerto Rican rhythms, bomba and plena. His extensive work have taken him to stages and festivals all over the world playing with bands such as Pleneros de la 21 and Pleneros de la 23 Abajo.
He is considered to be one of the best requinto players of his generation. The requinto is the pandereta (tambourine, originally from Spain) that constantly improvises in plena. He has appeared in recordings by some of the most recognized Latin jazz musicians such as Eddie Palmieri’s Rumbero del Piano and David Sanchez’ Obsesion.
In 1997, while living in New York City, he founded Viento de Agua and recorded De Puerto Rico al Mundo, their first album as a band. The group modernized the traditional rhythms by including piano, bass, a brass section and, for the first time ever, a drum set. They released a second album with a more traditional approach, under the Smithsonian Folkways record label. Materia Prima is a back to the roots album featuring the genres, bomba and plena, with their original sound using only the traditional instruments.
Virtuoso jazz guitarist Steve Khan continues his enchanting combinations
of jazz and Afro-Cuban rhythms on Patchwork.
In this case, Khan has taken jazz classics and recreated them with
harmonic and rhythmic modifications. The jazz artists chosen include Thelonious
Monk, Ornette Coleman, Joe Henderson, Alan Jay Lerner, Keith Jarrett, and Bobby
Khan has built one of the most formidable rhythm sections in
contemporary American jazz, featuring an exquisite blend of Afro-Cuban rhythms;
masterfully arranged and recorded.
Khan’s colleague, keyboardist, composer and arranger Rob Mounsey plays a bigger role on Patchwork with inspired string and brass arrangements as well as superb electric piano and synth work.
Highlights include the opening track, Thelonious Monk and Kenny Clarke’s “Epistrophy,” a high energy electric guitar piece with a creative rhythm section of drum set, Afro-Cuban drums and bass; and “Bouquet” by Ornette Coleman, with Khan acoustic guitar. This piece is turned into a lovely down tempo bolero with exquisite Spanish and Latin American-influenced guitar work, delicate drums and percussion, and beautiful orchestrations.
Other high points include Khan’s composition “Naan Issue,” a delicious bluesy cha cha cha; the lively “A Shade of Jade” (Joe Henderson) featuring a superb flugelhorn performance by Randy Brecker; the timeless Alan Jay Lerner and Burton Lane piece “Too Late Now” transformed into a bolero-paced ballad with outstanding guitar work, magnificent orchestrations and subtle rhythms; and the fusion-leaning “T. & T.,” where Khan turns this Ornette Coleman composition into high energy Latin jazz rooted in a Mozambique rhythm.
Lastly, a tune that captivated me is the outstanding rendering of Keith Jarret’s “The Journey Home.” This is the longest track on the album, with various sections. It opens with a dreamy slow tempo segment with Khan back on acoustic guitar, delivering delicious interplay with the electric piano, and then moving forward to lively Afro-Cuban beats and electric guitar, beautiful wordless vocals. And then the music slows down and concludes with a truly excellent acoustic guitar and synthesizer duet over a layer of percussion and masterfully-crafted orchestrations.
The lineup on Patchwork includes Steve Khan on guitars and vocals; Rubén Rodríguez on baby bass and electric bass; Dennis Chambers on drums; Marc Quiñones on timbales, bongos, percussion; Bobby Allende on conga; Rob Mounsey on keyboards and orchestrations: Randy Brecker on flugelhorn; Bob Mintzer on tenor saxophone; Tatiana Parra on vocals; and Jorge Estrada on keyboards and arrangements.
Musician and composer Ray Santos died October
Ray Santos was born December 28, 1928 in New York City to
Puerto Rican parents. Known as “El Maestro” by his fans and fellow
musicians, was a leading expert on Afro-Caribbean music. His Juilliard School
training allowed him to cross borders with success, honesty and class. Over his
90 years, Santos became a legend in the world of Latin music and left a deep-rooted
mark with his artistry. The Latin Recording Academy honored him with 2011 Board
of Trustees’ Award.
Known for the layered complexity of his arrangements, for
more than 50 years, Santos performed, composed, and arranged for leading Latin
music orchestras, including the legendary ensembles of Tito Puente, Tito
Rodríguez, Mario Bauzá, and Machito. He
was also essential in albums recorded by Linda Ronstadt, Eddie Palmieri and
Paquito D’Rivera, to name a few. In addition, he was a respected professor of
music at the City College of New York, where he taught for nearly 30 years and
directed the college’s Latin band.
“We are forever thankful to the amazing gentleman Mr. Ray Santos, who was also committed to music education, fostering the next generation of music makers,” said Gabriel Abaroa Jr., President/CEO of The Latin Recording Academy. “His legacy lives on in his music and the hearts of our music community, forever inspired by his commitment and remarkable craft. Our hearts go to his family during this difficult time.”
Ray Santos received
an honorary doctorate of music on March 20, 2016.
The tunes that flow out on Resilience Music’s release Essence are all the evidence you need to know that the Dominican composer and musician Michel Camilo is one cool cat. Well, that and that he hangs out with equally cool cats because the bevy of musicians on Essence is spectacular.
Essence is the 25th recording for the Grammy award winning jazz and Latin jazz pianist, who’s musical collaborations sounds like a who’s who list of the Latin and jazz world with the likes of Tito Puente, Paquito D’Rivera, Dizzy Gillespie, Stanley Turrentine, Bela Fleck, Arturo Sandoval and Danilo Perez in the mix. With recordings like Triangulo, Live at the Blue Note, Spain Forever and Why Not to his credit, it can come as no surprise that Mr. Camilo delivers a well heeled, sharp, savvy collection of tunes on Essence just as any cool cat can.
Hooking listeners from the jump on opener “And Sammy Walked In,” Essence is a delicious melange of piano, brass and percussion that will please any inner jazz or Latin jazz fan out there. Tight and neat, the sleek and sassy “And Sammy Walked In” is just a pleasure of Latin rhythms, saxophone and piano. Slipping into a call-and-response of vocal and piano with percussion beneath on “Mongo’s Blues Intro,” fans don’t have any clue about what’s to hit them as “Mongo’s Blues” takes over and a delicious whirlwind take hold. Things just get better from there.
Composing all the music on Essence and doling out some extremely fine piano performances, Mr. Camilo is joined by bassist Rick Rodriguez, drummer Cliff Almond, percussionist and vocalist Eliel Lazo, alto sax and flute player Antonio Hart, alto sax and clarinet player Sharel Cassity, tenor sax and flute player Ralph Bowen, tenor sax and clarinet player Adam Kolker, baritone sax and bass clarinet player Frank Basile, trumpet and fugelhorn players Raul Agras, John Walsh, Diego Urcola and Kali Rodriguez-Pena, trombone players Michael Dease, Steve Davis and Jason Jackson, bass trombonist David Taylor and trumpet and flugelhorn player Michael Philip Mossman who also arranged the music for Essence.
Mr. Camilo and company deliver some first rate performances on Essence that include the jazzy prowl of “Liquid Crystal,” the cyclonic brassy “Mano a Mano,” the achingly lovely piano and brass combo on “Just Like You” and the deliciously Latin flavored “Piece of Cake.” Jazz fans won’t want to miss a second of “Repercussions” or closing track “Hello & Goodbye.”
Essence is sweetly swinging, audaciously dazzling and smartly stunning.
The great conguero (conga player) Poncho Sanchez, one of the
masters of American Latin Jazz, has a new album titled Trane’s Delight,
dedicated to iconic jazz musician John Coltrane. Trane’s Delight recreates
Coltrane classics under a Latin Jazz perspective.
“I’ve always loved John Coltrane,” Sanchez says, “ever since I was a kid and first learned about jazz. I’ve recorded tributes to a lot of my heroes in life: Mongo Santamaria, Tito Puente, Cal Tjader – so I thought it was definitely time to do a tribute to the great John Coltrane.”
On Trane’s Delight, Poncho treats the listener to wonderful new versions of Coltrane standards that reappear as lively mambos, irresistible cha cha chás and passionate boleros. Naturally, throughout the album Poncho delivers various spectacular and tasty conga solos.
Trane’s Delight includes Poncho’s longtime collaborators,
musical director Francisco Torres on trombone;
Ron Blake on trumpet and flugelhorn; Robert Hardt on saxophone; Andy
Langham on piano; Rene Camacho and Ross Schodek on bass; and Joey DeLeon and
Giancarlo Anderson on percussion.
American drummer and Latin Jazz timbalero Ramon Banda died May 30, 2019.
Ramon Banda was born and grew up in Norwalk, a suburb of Los Angeles, California. He was a well-known timbales master and jazz drummer. He and his brother, bassist Tony Banda, started out playing as teens with conga maestro Poncho Sanchez.
Ramon performed, recorded and toured with Poncho Sanchez for many years. He later joined Jose Rizo’s Band Mongorama, a tribute to Mongo Santamaria. He also performed with Joey DeFranceso and Bill Cunliffe. Ramon participated in over 250 recordings, including several Grammy winning albums.
Ramon was also a chekere maker.
“Ramon Banda was a legendary timbalero,” says percussionist and band leader Les Moncada. “I was performing with my Latin Jazz Orchestra and as guests, Ramon on my right, Poncho on timbales in front of us and myself, Les Moncada on timbales. All of us performing and soloing Tito Puente‘s composition ‘Ran Kan Kan’. I can only say competition-wise, Ramon went on timbales from 0 to 100 mph in a second, I was more than amazed.”
Les continues: “He visited me at my home, with the guys, Tony, Poncho, Sal, Papo Rodriguez. My orchestra opened for Poncho on several occasions and Ramon, Poncho, Tony and Sal Carrachiolo, we would perform together.
Ramon and the guys would come as guests with my orchestra. I did a clinic with Ramon, Poncho and Tony in San Diego, California many moons ago. He and Poncho and the guys, including David Romero, would frequent my late conguero friend Raul Garcia’s house and stay up all night talking about Latin music.
My son Marco and I would speak to Ramon about gourds and chekeres and I believe Ramon has some chekeres submitted to the Smithsonian Institute.
He used to tune my timbales for me, when he was around and we would talk about how we both idolized timbalero Manny Oquendo.
Ramon told me that the first time he met Manny Oquendo, he kissed his hands out of respect for Manny Oquendo and his timbales playing style.
Ramon Banda will be missed dearly, a maestro for timbales students worldwide for generations to come. He was a young guy in Norwalk, California that had the drive to play drum set and timbales, went on to assist in winning Grammys and performed and recorded with the late Cal Tjader.”
Louie Romero has performed and recorded with the greats, as a youth living in New York City as timbales player for trombonist Willie Colon and with the late vocal legend Hector Lavoe.
Louie Romero’s brother percussionists in the Willie Colon Orchestra were José Mangual Jr. on bongo and the late Milton Cardona on congas, the most feared percussion section in New York City and the world, besides the earlier Tito Puente, Mongo Santamaria and Willie Bobo.
Louie Romero, now living in San Francisco, California, is still making his timbales smoke. He is a true timbales music lesson for the young players and for those fortunate enough to meet him.
Let’s see what Louie Romero has to say about his legendary timbales career.
Louie, tell us a little about your background, where you were born and raised, your parents’ ancestry.
I was born in Brooklyn, New York of Puerto Rican descent.
When did you first hear Latin music?
In my mom’s womb.
How old were you when you started playing timbales? Could tell us what led up to you choosing timbales as your main instrument. Did you play any other instruments?
Watching my Pop playing drum set and timbales. No other instruments except percussion.
Louie, how did you start to play with Willie Colon? Can you tell us a little about your association with Willie, Hector and Jose Mangual Jr and Milton Cardona?
I was at the Broadway Casino in Manhattan when Willie approached me and asked me to join. With Willie Colon and Héctor Lavoe, it was mostly business. With Jose Mangual Jr. and Milton Cardona, that was really good connect.
Louie, what are you presently doing music wise in San Francisco, California?
Pianist, composer and bandleader Michel Camilo revisits some of his essential music on Essence, featuring new arrangements. Camilo is an award-winning pianist who has a passion for jazz, Latin American music and flamenco.
Essence, scheduled for release June 7, 2019 features an impressive lineup of musicians, including many longtime collaborators.
“I tried to choose music from every stage of development as a creative artist and as a composer,” Camilo says about Esence. “I picked songs that represent shifts in my career and my point of view; that showcase how I developed my sound. I’ve always thought of the trio as a mini-orchestra, so the big band is a way to celebrate my career and my journey with a group of friends creating together in the studio.”
Mexican percussionist Guillermo Barrón Ríos has developed his style with different ensembles that cover a wide range of musical genres such as classical music, rock, pop, flamenco, Mexican music, salsa and Latin jazz, among others. He has performed with many international artists: José Feliciano, Luisito Quintero, Charlie Sepúlveda, among others.
Barrón has one Latin jazz musical production under his belt, “¿Cuál es la prisa?” (What’s the rush?), that includes original compositions and arrangements, featuring his main musical influences: Latin-American music, jazz and flamenco. Additionally, he has participated in a great selection of musical recordings, sharing credits with Gilberto Santa Rosa, among many others.
He currently lives in New York City, where he collaborates with different musical projects.
Your Connection to traditional and contemporary World Music including folk, roots and various types of global fusion