Tag Archives: trumpet

Artist Profiles: Alexander Abreu

Alexander Abreu

Alexander Abreu Manresa was born September 6, 1976 in Cienfuegos, Cuba. He comes from a family of nonprofessional musicians, including his grandfather who taught him to play the tres guitar.

As a boy, he wanted to be an athlete, but his mother took him to a school that tested abilities and he got the highest scores in music. Alexander started studying trumpet at age 11 and credits his mother for inspiring him to practice and pursue his career.

Originally, Abreu wanted to give up the trumpet and take up the flute, but his teachers understood his talent and insisted, predictively, that he stick to the brass instrument. At 18, the young musician moved to Havana to continue his studies at the prestigious Escuela Nacional de Arte (ENA), a breeding ground for Cuba’s best musicians. He graduated in 1994 and later would return as a professor, teaching trumpet.

In Havana, Abreu found himself at the focal point of the timba music upsurge that rocked Cuba in the early 1990s, marking an exciting evolution in the way Afro-Cuban dance music, or salsa, was performed. He played for six years with the innovative band of singer Paulito FG, one of the leading stars of the timba wave. Abreu’s skills were forged in this powerful ensemble, working together with two musicians he considers his greatest influences – Carmelo Andrés, his trumpet teacher; and producer/arranger Juan Manuel Ceruto. Several band-mates from this influential ensemble would go on to form part of Havana D’Primera, including Ceruto.

Abreu has also played and/or recorded with virtually every major act during one of the most exciting and creative eras in Cuban music. He was a member of the popular and esteemed band led by singer Isaac Delgado, who now lives in Miami.

Alexander Abreu

As a highly sought-after studio musician, Abreu has recorded with top acts in different styles, including famed dance band Los Van Van and powerful fusion group Irakere. He has also worked with poetic singer-songwriters such as Pablo Milanés and Amaury Pérez, who played trombone in Havana D’Primera. In addition, Abreu was recruited for previous all-star projects, such as the touring timba band named Team Cuba and the Grammy-winning Cuban roots recording “La Rumba Soy Yo.”

After the Cuban dance music scene started declining in 2000, Abreu traveled to Europe and spent time in Denmark, where he was invited to give master classes in trumpet and Cuban music at the jazz conservatory of Copenhagen. During an extended stay there, he joined Grupo Dansón, a band composed of Cuban and Danish musicians, serving as arranger and composer. Abreu appeared in Europe’s top music festivals and in 2002 he performed on the same stage with Sting, Lou Reed and James Brown as part of the benefit concert “Pavarotti & Friends.”

The time he spent performing abroad helped Abreu avoid the consequences of other Cuban timba bands, often considered too tailored to a home crowd and too hard for outsiders to dance to.

“I believe that to live outside of Cuba for a time has been one of the keys to the hallmark of this group,” said Abreu of his band. “Because I learned how to interact with people that don’t speak the language. I learned how to spread that same happiness and energy….You have to be precise with the rhythms and arrangements. You have to make sure that they are understandable, that they are solid, that they are clear, so that people understand.”

By 2007, Abreu was back in Havana putting together his own band. The aspiring bandleader returned home with only an developing concept, inspired by a New York salsa band he had seen in Copenhagen. There, he had watched the Grammy-winning Spanish Harlem Orchestra, a group of veteran salsa musicians who came together with a common determination – to recapture some of the original sound and excitement of the great salsa bands of the 1970s. The group, led by pianist Oscar Hernandez who had played with salsa greats such as Ray Barretto and Ruben Blades, managed to generate enough nostalgia to initiate a one-band salsa revival, touring the world and recording various popular albums featuring star vocalists such as Blades.

That served as an inspiration to do something similar with session musicians in Havana,” said Abreu. “It gave me the strength to come to Cuba and say, ‘I can do it here.’ From that idea, basically, Habana D’Primera is born.”

Abreu brought together an ensemble of experienced musicians who had played with some of the best bands of that exhilarating era, a golden age of contemporary Cuban salsa and timba. Concerned about the decline of Afro-Cuban dance music, Abreu decided to continue the great tradition started by the very bands he had played with, such as Paulito FG y Su Elite and Isaac Delgado.

Since 2000, many of the leading timba stars had left Cuba, including Manolin, Isaac Delgado and Carlos Manuel, all of whom were Abreu’s colleagues and collaborators. In the meantime, young fans in Cuba flocked to foreign pop music styles such as rock, rap and reggaeton, leaving the legacy of Cuba’s rich native dance music to decay.

Alexander Abreu and Havana D’Primera

For Abreu and his new band, the challenge of generating a revival was overwhelming. No new Cuban dance band had managed to break into the top tiers of popular music acts since the turn of the century, when Cesar Pedroso broke away from Los Van Van and formed his own band, Pupy y Los Que Son, Son. Record companies, radio stations and nightclubs all focused on the latest fads, especially reggaeton which had removed salsa off the music charts. Amazingly, so many deejays had turned to reggaeton that there was no place to dance salsa in the capital of the country where the music was invented.

The crisis gave Abreu the opportunity to build a grass-roots fan base just like the timba pioneers had done at the start of the dance music movement in the late 1980s and early 1990s. That was known as “the special period” in Cuban history, a time of extreme economic difficulty when bands were forced to practice in the dark due to frequent blackouts and try out their material on stage due to a lapse in record production. For a while, Cuban dance music was all about the live performance, a need that helped stimulate creativity. Following his predecessors, Havana D’Primera began working live shows, building a following the old-fashioned way, one fan at a time.

Before long, fans were packing Havana d’Primera’s regular Tuesday shows at Casa de la Musica, a club and cultural center in the residential Miramar section of Havana. Even though they had not yet released a record, loyal fans memorized song lyrics from the live shows.

The weekly concerts were essential to the band’s development. Soon, the unknown band started to develop an underground buzz.

Alexander Abreu y Havana D’Primera – Haciendo Historia

Havana D’Primera recorded its first album Haciendo Historia in 2009.

In 2012, Abreu performed as an actor in the movie 7 Days in Havana, in the section “Tuesday Jam Session” with Serbian film director and musician Emir Kusturica.

The album “Cantor del Pueblo” won the Cubadisco Award in 2018.

Discography:

Haciendo Historia (EGREM, 2009)
Pasaporte (Páfata Productions, 2013)
La Vuelta al Mundo (Páfata Productions, 2015)
Cantor del Pueblo (Páfata Productions, 2018)

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Acclaimed Latin Jazz Trumpeter and Percussionist Jerry Gonzalez Dead at 69

Today, the Latin Jazz community is mourning the loss of trumpeter and conguero Jerry Gonzalez. Reports of a fire at his home in the Lavapiés district of Madrid summoned Spain’s National Police and paramedics where they discovered the musician. He was rushed to San Carlos Clinical Hospital where he died hours later. Mr. Gonzalez was 69.

Mr. Gonzalez was born into New York City’s Puerto Rican community on June 5, 1949. The rich world of music was already a staple in the Gonzalez house with Jerry Gonzalez, Sr. serving as a master of ceremonies and a lead singer along with musicians like Claudio Ferrer. His brother and bassist Andy Gonzalez would go on to follow his own musical career, often playing with his brother.

Taking up the trumpet and congas in junior high school, Mr. Gonzalez launched his musical career playing with local bands. After attending the New York College of Music and New York University, Mr. Gonzalez started playing with Lewellyn Matthews and in the 1970s played congas with Dizzy Gillespie and began merging African rhythms into jazz themes. He was a stalwart proponent of Latin music and an indefatigable explorer of the possibilities of Latin Jazz.

Mr. Gonzalez would go on to play with the likes of Jaco Pastorius, Tito Puente, Manny Oquendo and Eddie Palmieri. He found his groove by heading up The Fort Apache Band. Recordings like Ya Yo Me Cure, The River is Deep, Obatala, Pensativo, Calle 54, Rumba Buhaina and Jerry Gonzalez y El Comando de La Clave would soon stack up alongside appearances on Kip Hanrahan’s Coup de Tete, Tito Puente’s On Broadway, Carlos “Patato” Valdes’s Masterpiece, Steve Turre’s Viewpoints on Vibrations, Kirk Lightsey’s Kenny Kirkland, Bobby Hutcherson’s Acoustic Master II and Sonny Fortune’s A Better Understanding.

Jerry Gonzalez

Settling in Spain and lending his talents to flamenco, Mr. Gonzalez appeared with Diego “El Cigala” on Corren Tiempos de Alegria and Picasso en Mis Ojos and Paco de Lucia on Cositas Buenas, as well as collaborated with Javier Limon on La Tierra del Agua and Son de Limon and Andres Calamaro on Obras Incompletas and On the Rock.

Mr. Gonzalez earned film credits as well in Leon Ichaso’ s Crossover, Fernando Trueba’s Calle 54 and Leon Ichaso’s Pinero. In addition to The Fort Apache Band, Mr. Gonzalez also led the quartet El Comando de la Clave with Miguel Blanco.

The General Society of Authors of Spain (SGAE) issued a tweet mourning Mr. Gonzalez’s loss by calling him, “one of the pioneers of Latin Jazz and founder of the legendary group Fort Apache Band.”
No announcement has been made yet on funeral or memorial services

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Acclaimed Trumpeter Hugh Masekela Dies at 78

South African trumpeter Hugh Masekela, a leading jazz and world music artist died today, January 23, 2018 in Johannesburg.

The Masekela family issued a press release: “It is with profound sorrow that the family of Ramapolo Hugh Masekela announce his passing. After a protracted and courageous battle with prostate cancer, he passed peacefully in Johannesburg, South Africa, surrounded by his family.”

Born in Johannesburg in 1939, Hugh Masekela was widely considered both the father of African jazz and South Africa’s musical ambassador to the world. Masekela’s trumpet (introduced to him by anti-apartheid activist Father Trevor Huddleston) was an instrument of resistance, a call to freedom, and a celebration of the strength and resilience of people.

His powerful blend of jazz, funk, Afrobeat, and Latin rhythms first mourned the tragedy of apartheid and then celebrated its long-awaited demise. Over the span of his life-long career, he released dozens of albums, toured the world-over, and performed with renowned artists, including Louis Armstrong, Paul Simon (on the Graceland tour), Adrian Below, The Byrds, Miriam Makeba, Zimbabwean Dorothy Masuka, the Jazz Epistles, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, Hedzoleh Soundz, Francis Fuster, and Dudu Pukwana.

When Masekela went into exile during the 1960s, Harry Belafonte helped him settle in the United States, as a student in New York, where he recorded much music including his 1968 hit Grazing in the Grass.”

His 1987 hit “Bring Him Back Home” became the anthem for Nelson Mandela’s world tour following his release from prison in 1992. Masekela returned to South Africa in 1990.

In 2010, President Jacob Zuma presented Hugh Masekela the highest award in South Africa: The Order of Ikhamanga. In 2011, Masekela received a Lifetime Achievement award at the World Music Expo, WOMEX in Copenhagen.

Discography:

Trumpet Africaine (Mercury, 1962)
Grrr (Mercury, 1966)
The Americanization of Ooga Booga (MGM, 1966)
Hugh Masekela’s Next Album (MGM, 1966)
The Emancipation of Hugh Masekela (Chisa Records, 1966)
Hugh Masekela’s Latest (Uni, 1967)
Hugh Masekela Is Alive and Well at the Whisky (Uni, 1967)
The Promise of a Future (Uni, 1968)
Africa ’68 (Uni, 1968)
The Lasting Impression of Hugh Masekela (MGM, 1968)
Masekela (Uni, 1969)
Reconstruction (Chisa, 1970)
Hugh Masekela & The Union of South Africa (Chisa, 1971)
Home Is Where the Music Is (aka The African Connection) (Blue Thumb Chisa, 1972)
Introducing Hedzoleh Soundz (Blue Thumb Chisa], 1973)
I Am Not Afraid (Blue Thumb Chisa, 1974)
The Boy’s Doin’ It (Casablanca, 1975)
Colonial Man (Casablanca, 1976)
Melody Maker (Casablanca, 1976)
You Told Your Mama Not to Worry (Casablanca, 1977)
Herb Alpert / Hugh Masekela (Horizon, 1978)
Main Event Live, with Herb Alpert (A&M, 1978)
Home (Moonshine/Columbia, 1982)
Techno-Bush (Jive Afrika, 1984)
Waiting for the Rain (Jive Afrika, 1985)
Tomorrow (Warner Bros., 1987)
Uptownship (Jive/Novus Records, 1989)
Beatin’ Aroun de Bush (Novus Records, 1992)
Hope (Triloka Records, 1994)
Stimela (Connoisseur Collection, 1994)
Notes of Life (Columbia/Music, 1996)
Black to the Future (Shanachie Records, 1998)
The Best of Hugh Masekela on Novus (RCA, 1999)
Sixty (Shanachie, 2000)
Grazing in the Grass: The Best of Hugh Masekela (Sony, 2001)
Time (Columbia, 2002)
Live at the BBC (Strange Fruit, 2002)
The Collection (Universal/Spectrum, 2003)
Still Grazing (Blue Thumb, 2004)
Revival (Heads Up, 2005)
Almost Like Being in Jazz (Chissa Records, 2005)
The Chisa Years: 1965–1975 (Rare and Unreleased) (BBE, 2006)
Live at the Market Theatre (Four-Quarters Ent, 2007)
Phola (Four-Quarters Ent, 2009)
Jabulani (Listen 2, 2012)
Friends (Hugh Masekela and Larry Willis) (House of Masekela, 2012)
Playing @ Work (House of Masekela, 2012)
No Borders (Universal Music, 2016)

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Artist Profiles: Jerry Gonzalez

Puerto Rican-American Multi-instrumentalist Jerry Gonzalez (congas/flugelhorn/trumpet) leads The Fort Apache Band, one of the most influential modern Afro-Caribbean Jazz Group of the past years. The group blends complex Latin rhythms with impeccable jazz improvisations.

Jerry Gonzalez’s first High profile professional engagement came at the age of 19 in 1971 with Dizzy Gillespie. Since then he has worked with masters from the jazz and Latin music fields such as: Kenny Dorham Tony Williams McCoy Tyner Jaco Pastorius Tito Puente Eddie Palmieri and Manny Oquendo y Libre. Jerry Gonzalez’ first session as a leader came in 198 with the critically acclaimed recording of Ya Yo Me Curé on the American Clave’ label. Following the success of Ya Yo Me Curé, The Fort Apache Band was formed and included such members as Kenny Kirkland, Sonny Fortune, Nicky Marrero, Papo Vazquez, the late Jorge Dalto and Milton Cardona. The ensemble’s first two albums were recorded live at European jazz festivals The River is Deep 1982 in Berlin: Obatala 1988 in Zurich.

In 1989 Fort Apache recorded the groundbreaking Rumba Para Monk as a quintet featuring: Jerry Gonzalez (trumpet flugelhorn congas), Andy Gonzalez (bass), Steve Berrios (drums), Larry Willis (piano) and Carter Jefferson (tenor saxophone). Rumba Para Monk was named album of the year by the French Academe du Jazz and resulted in the group being voted The Word Beat Group of the year in Downbeat’s 55th annual Readers Poll. It is this recording that has been cited as leading the resurgence in Afro-Caribbean Jazz in the past decade.

The group became a sextet with the addition of Joe Ford (alto & soprano saxophone) for 1991’s Earthdance (Sunnyside) and 1992’s Moliendo Cafe (Sunnyside). Following the death of Carter Jefferson, former Fort Apache member John Stubblefield returned to the band on tenor sax to record Crossroads (Milestone). The ensemble’s 1995 recording Pensativo (Milestone) also received a Grammy nomination. On the heals of the Grammy nominations for Crossroads and Pensativo the ensemble was awarded The Beyond Group of the Year by both Downbeat Magazines reader’s and critic’s polls in 1995 and 1996.

Firedance (Milestone) was recorded in February 1996 at Blues Alley in Washington DC and is the first live recording of the ensemble as a Sextet. Following this fiery recording the ensemble won the award of Best Jazz Group in Playboy Magazines Readers Poll for 1997. In 1998 the ensemble swept the Latin Jazz category at the New York Jazz Awards winning both the Industry and Journalist Polls. In 1999 the group swept the critics and readers polls for Beyond Group of The Year in Downbeat Magazine.

In 2000 Gonzalez moved from New York to Madrid. The Spanish capital, a cultural melting pot full of Flamenco musicians as well as Cuban Argentine Brazilian Equatorial Guinean Sudanese and many other expatriates welcomed the Newyorican musician with open arms and he quickly joined the bustling Flamenco and jazz scene.

In 2001 Jerry Gonzalez and the Fort Apache Band were prominently featured in Fernando Trueba’s film on Latin Jazz Calle 54 (Miramax). This film received critical acclaim throughout the world and was followed by a series of concerts promoting the film including an engagement at The Beacon Theatre in New York City. The Soundtrack Calle 54 – Music From The Miramax Motion Picture is available on Blue Note Records.

The collaboration with Fernando Trueba also resulted in the production of a new CD Jerry Gonzalez y Los Pirates Del Flamenco featuring Jerry Gonzalez along with a Gypsy Flamenco group that includes the esteemed Flamenco singer “El Cigala.”

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Artist Profiles: Frank London

Frank London

Trumpeter and composer Frank London is a member of the Klezmatics, Hasidic New Wave, has performed with John Zorn, LL Cool J, Mel Torme, Lester Bowie’s Brass Fantasy, LaMonte Young, They Might Be Giants, David Byrne, Jane Siberry, Ben Folds 5, Mark Ribot, Maurice El Medioni and Gal Costa, and is featured on over 100 CDs.

His own recordings include Invocations (cantorial music); Frank London’s Klezmer Brass All Stars, Di Shikere Kapelye (the Inebriated Orchestra) and Brotherhood of Brass;Nigunim and The Zmiros Project (Jewish mystical songs, with Klezmatics vocalist Lorin Sklamberg); The Debt (film and theater music); The Shekhina Big Band; the soundtrack to The Shvitz; the soundtrack to Perl Gluck’s Divan and four releases with the Hasidic New Wave.

His projects include the folk-opera A Night in the Old Marketplace (based on Y.L. Peretz’s Bay nakht oyfn altn mark), Davenenn for Pilobolus and the Klezmatics; Great Small Works’ The Memoirs of Gluckel of Hameln and Min Tanaka’s Romance.

He composed music for John Sayles’ The Brother from Another Planet andMen with Guns; Yvonne Rainer’s Murder and Murder; the Czech-American Marionette Theater’s Golem; and Tamar Rogoff’s Ivye Project, Live in Crackow, Poland, 2001.

He was music director for David Byrne and Robert Wilson’s The Knee Plays, collaborated with Palestinian violinist Simon Shaheen, taught Jewish music in Canada, Crimea and the Catskills, and produced CDs for Gypsy legendEsma Redzepova, and Algerian pianistMaurice El Medioni.

He has been featured on HBO’s Sex and the City, at the North Sea Jazz Festival and the Lincoln Center Summer Festival, and was a co-founder of Les Miserables Brass Band and the Klezmer Conservatory Band.

Discography:

Scientist At Work ‎(Tzadik TZ 7167, 2002)
A Night in the Old Marketplace ‎(Soundbrush Records SR 1010, 2007)
Glass House (Piranha, 2017)

www.franklondon.com

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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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Artist Profiles: Jon Hassell

jon_hassell

Born in Memphis, Tennessee, Jon Hassell grew up with ears alert to divergent aspects of the jazz tradition, one early influence including Maynard Ferguson’s “stratospheric” trumpeting with the Stan Kenton Orchestra. While studying at the Eastman School of Music, Hassell became increasingly interested in serial music and more experimental expressions of the new music avant-garde, in the mid-1960s traveling to Cologne to study with pioneering composer Karlheinz Stockhausen.

Returning to New York in 1967 he met and befriended Terry Riley. Hassell played on Riley’s landmark recording In C, and was introduced by Riley to La Monte Young with whose Dream House project he toured through the 1970s.

An encounter with the music of Indian singer Pandit Pran Nath was fundamental. Hassell studied extensively with Pran Nath, subsequently incorporating vocal techniques of raga into his trumpet playing, developing a new style for his instrument and his music as a whole.

Vernal Equinox (1977) laid down the essence of the idiosyncratic yet wide-open musical expression Hassell has continued to develop and redefine over the past decades: “My aim was to make a music that was vertically integrated in such a way that at any cross-sectional moment you were not able to pick a single element out as being from a particular country or genre of music.”

In 1986 Brian Eno, a frequent collaborator, would observe that “Jon Hassell is an inventor of new forms of music – of new ideas of what music could be and how it might be made. His work is drawn from his whole cultural experience without fear or prejudice. It is an optimistic, global vision that suggests not only possible musics but possible futures.” An enticing proposal for the most diverse musicians, Hassell’s collaborators over the years have ranged from Peter Gabriel to the Kronos Quartet, Ry Cooder and rock star Bono, and his trumpet performances have featured on recordings with Björk, Baaba Maal, Ibrahim Ferrer, Ani di Franco, David Sylvian, the Talking Heads and many others.

Additionally his playing and/or music has been heard in numerous films including The Last Temptation of Christ, Trespass, Wild Side, Greenwich Mean Time, Angel Eyes, Owning Mahowny, Million Dollar Hotel and more.

In April 2009, Jon Hassell and Brian Eno delivered their Conversation Piece at London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall. This “conversational remix”, an animated juxtaposing of philosophies of life, art and music, was premiered to acclaim at Norway’s Punkt Festival in 2008.

Discography

* Vernal Equinox (1977)
* Earthquake Island (1978)
* Fourth World, Vol. 1: Possible Musics, with Brian Eno (Editions EG, 1980)
* Fourth World, Vol. 2: Dream Theory in Malaya (Editions EG, 1981)
* Aka / Darbari / Java: Magic Realism (Editions EG, 1983)
* Power Spot (ECM Records, 1986)
* The Surgeon of the Nightsky Restores Dead Things by the Power of Sound (Capitol Records, 1987)
* Flash of the Spirit, with Farafina (Capitol Records, 1988)
* City: Works of Fiction (Opal Records, 1990)
* Dressing for Pleasure (Warner Bros. Records, 1994)
* Sulla Strada (Materiali Sonori, 1995)
* The Vertical Collection (Earshot Records, 1998)
* Fascinoma (Water Lily Acoustic, 1999)
* Magic Realism, Vol. 2: Maarifa Street (2005)
* Last Night the Moon Came Dropping Its Clothes in the Street (ECM Records, 2009)

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Artist Profiles: Boban Markovic Orkestar

Boban Markovic Orkestar

In a small town in Central Serbia, called Guca, the “Festival of Brass Music” takes place annually since 40 years. It’s a competition to determine the best brass musicians on Earth. More than 300.000 people grab the chance to listen to over 30 bands. And Boban Marcovic Orkestar are among the winners every time, receiving the “best orchestra” award in 2000 as well as “best trumpet” for the maestro himself in 2001 – his 5th win. It was the first time ever that a musician got the highest mark from every jury member.

The reason for Markovic’s continuing success is evident: He is the best Serbian trumpeter, reinventing “traditional” brass music with injections and adaptations of sounds from around the globe. His music is strongly influenced by the old traditions of the Roma. Just listen to his version of the Jewish classic Hava Naguila and you’ll understand.

The band’s repertoire includes Gypsy grooves, chocheks and other dances, as well as tunes from movies of Emir Kusturica, but also new material, composed exclusively for the band. In a mix of archaic jazz and light and sweet Balkan-brass-sound Markovic became a king in the Balkans and now is one of the VIPs of the region. The band performs on weddings, on open-air-festivals, in music academies or on classical concerts with the same power like the best rock bands.

From the historical sight only the Gypsies kept the country’s tradition of brass music alive, from the times of the Ottoman Empire through Tito’s communist regime, right into Slobodan Milosevic’s infamous reign.

Since Emir Kusturica’s notorious Balkan film Underground (1995), Gypsy-Serbian brass music started to have powerful presence on the world music scene. The blasting of Gypsy brass made the film unforgettable, creating the frantic, surreal atmosphere which the film is famous for. None other than Boban Markovic and his orchestra supplied the most impressive tunes of the soundtrack. Boban Markovic Orkestar have played festivals and concerts throughout Europe.

Discography

* Hani Rumba (ITMM, 1997)
* Zlatna Truba Golden Trumpet (PGP-RTS, 1998)
* Srce Cigansko Gypsy Heart (X Produkcio, 2000)
* Millennium (X Produkcio, 2000)
* Bistra Reka (X Produkcio, 2001)
* Live in Belgrade (Piranha CD PIR1685, 2002)
* Boban I Marko (Piranha CD PIR1790, 2003)
* The Promise (Piranha, 2005)
* Go Marko Go! (Piranha, 2007)
* Devla (Piranha, 2009)
* Balkan Brass Battle, with Fanfare Ciocărlia (Asphalt Tango Records, 2011)
* Golden Horns: The Best of Boban i Marko Marković Orkestar (Piranha Musik, 2012)

Photo 1 by Linus Hook

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Eros Coolness

Omar Sosa and Paolo Fresu – Eros (Tuk Music/Ota Records, 2016)

Luxuriously elegant, seductive and exotically dreamy, the Tuk Music release Eros, born out of the collaborative efforts of Cuban musician and composer Omar Sosa and Italian musician and composer Paolo Fresu, is one of those exciting CDs where you just have no idea what’s coming around the next bend.

Dramatically packed with savory bits and bites of electronica, musical samplings and offbeat percussion, as well as the mastery of Mr. Sosa’s piano lines and Mr. Fresu’s trumpet and flugelhorn lines, Eros conjures up jazz, world music and dreamy musicscape and sometime all at once. Add in the vocals of Natacha Atlas and cello by Jaques Morelenbaum and Eros goes from extraordinary to extravagantly superb.

Opening with the sleek coolness of “Teardrop/Ya Habibi” with vocals by Ms. Atlas and trumpet lines by Mr. Fresu so good it will raise the hairs on the back of your neck. Full of surprises, Eros never quite goes where you think it will so when “Sensuousness” combines a throat singer with cello, piano and trumpet in a track so utterly elegant it’s a little odd but it works in a big way.

Listeners get savvy coolness with tracks like “Zeus’ Desires” and “Brezza del Verano.” “My Soul, My Spirit” with vocals by Ms. Atlas against a backdrop of strings, electronica and birdsong is a simply stunning. Other goodies include “La Llamada,” the fantastical world conjured on “What Is Inside/Himeros” and exotically charged “Eros Mediterraneo.”

Eros is savage coolness. Forget what you know about the piano, trumpet or the way you think a track will progress. Ditch the map and just go with where the music will take you.

Buy Eros in the Americas

Buy Eros in Europe

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Hot Balkan Brass

Džambo Aguševi Orchestra – Brass Like it Hot – Fast & Furious Balkan Brass (Arc Music EUCD2666, 2016)

The Džambo Aguševi Orchestra is an exciting Balkan brass orchestra led by Macedonia’s trumpet king, Džambo Aguševi. Unlike other brass well-known brass bands that focus on traditional material, the Džambo Aguševi Orchestra mixes Balkan Gypsy music with Latin jazz, Flamenco, Caribbean beats and other global influences.

The lineup on the album includes Džambo Agušev on trumpet and vocals; Džemal Agušev on trumpet and vocals; Kočo Agušev on trumpet; Sunaj Mustafov on trumpet; Ali Zekirov on tenor horn; Elvijan Demirovski on on tenor horn; Džafer Fazliov on tenor horn; Šukri Abdulov on tuba and helicon; Orfej Čakalovski on goč (large double-headed drum) and Nedjat Redjepov on drums.

Guests include: Sedat Sedo on tarabuka; Azat Mehmedov on clarinet and saxophone; Mishel Trajkovski on accordion; Rumen Kamburozv on vocals; Senad Suta on drums; and Brano Jakubovic on electronics.

Brass Like it Hot is an irresistible brass band album.

Buy Brass Like it Hot – Fast & Furious Balkan Brass in the Americas.

Buy Brass Like it Hot in Europe

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