Aaron Lington

Aaron Lington

Biography

Aaron Joseph Lington received his BM in music education from the University of Houston, Moores School of Music, and both his MM in jazz studies and DMA in saxophone performance from the University of North Texas where he studied with James Riggs. His performing and compositional credits include collaborations with the University of North Texas One O’clock Lab Band, Maynard Ferguson, the BBC Radio Orchestra, the Count Basie Orchestra, Bo Diddley, Jamie Davis, and many others. In addition, he has won awards for both his playing and writing from Downbeat Magazine, ASCAP, and was the 2003 recipient of the Sammy Nestico Award. He was recognized in the 55th and 57th Annual Downbeat MagazineCritic’s Poll as a “Rising Star” in the Baritone Saxophone category. The San José Mercury News praises Dr. Lington’s playing as “revelatory…he obviously relishes the beautiful, blustery bark of his instrument…” and that he possesses a “…finely honed melodic sensibility…” Cadence magazine praised Lington’s recent album Cape Breton, saying that “…Lington and his companions are topnotch musicians…these gentlemen are by no means amateurs, and this is a pleasurable album of largely mellow yet invigorating post-Bop Jazz.”

In addition to his position as associate professor at San José State University where he serves as Coordinator of Jazz Studies, Dr. Lington is also a member of the faculty at the Texas Music Festival Jazz Institute, hosted by the University of Houston. Aaron Lington is a saxophone performing artist for Rico Reeds.

Alberto Castro Martinez
Alex Pope Norris

Alex Pope Norris

Biography

Trumpet player Alexander Pope Norris has played with legends Betty Carter and the Village Vanguard Band and modernists Joshua Redman and Marvin Smitty Smith. He began his Latin Jazz exploration with Baltimore-based Rumba Club, going on to work Afro-Cuban jazz artists Andy and Jerry Gonzalez, Giovanni Hildago and Monguito Santamaria. He appears on over 60 CDs including Alex Norris Quintet, “A New Beginning” on the Fresh Sounds Label. Tours with Steve Winwood and Miami Sound Machine show the pop side of his career. He graduated from the Peabody Conservatory in 1990, received a master’s degree from the Manhattan School of Music in 1995 and earned a doctor of musical arts degree from the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music in 2007. He taught there and at the Manhattan School, the New School of Jazz and Contemporary Music and Towson University. Alex is currently teaching in the jazz studies department at the Peabody Conservatory of music. Living in NYC, he remains a busy artist and clinician.

Antonio Garcia

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Antonio Garcia

Biography

Antonio J. García is an Associate Professor of Music, Director of Jazz Studies, and Coordinator of Music Business at Virginia Commonwealth University, where he directs the Jazz Orchestra I and instructs Applied Jazz Trombone, Small Jazz Ensemble, Music Industry, and various jazz courses. An alumnus of the Eastman School of Music, he has received commissions for jazz, symphonic, chamber, and solo works from Meet The Composer, The Commission Project, The Thelonious Monk Institute, and regional arts councils; composition/arrangement honors include IAJE (jazz band), ASCAP (orchestral), and Billboard Magazine (pop songwriting); and his music has aired over National Public Radio and CBS-TV. A Conn-Selmer clinician, he has freelanced as trombonist, bass trombonist, or pianist with over 70 nationally renowned artists, including Ella Fitzgerald, George Shearing, Mel Tormé, Billy Eckstine, Doc Severinsen, Louie Bellson, and Phil Collins—and has performed at the Montreux, Nice, North Sea, Pori (Finland), New Orleans, and Chicago Jazz Festivals. An avid scat-singer, he has performed vocally with jazz ensembles around the world and has served as Director of the Illinois Music Educators Association All-State Jazz Choir and Combo and similar ensembles outside of Illinois and was the recipient of IMEA’s 2001 Distinguished Service Award. He has produced recordings or broadcasts of such artists as Wynton Marsalis, Gene Bertoncini, Jim Pugh, Dave Taylor, Susannah McCorkle, Sir Roland Hanna, and the JazzTech Big Band. Mr. García is International Trombone Association Journal Associate Jazz Editor, IAJE Jazz Education Journal Past Editor, IAJE-IL Past President, past International Co-Chair for Curriculum and for Vocal/Instrumental Integration, and served as Chicago Host Coordinator for the 1997 Conference. He was an Illinois Coalition for Music Education coordinator and is currently a Midwest Clinic board member. His book with play-along CD, Cutting the Changes: Jazz Improvisation via Key Centers (published by Kjos Music), offers musicians of all ages standard-tune improv opportunities using only their major scales. Also included is a CD-ROM with 76 pages of improv pedagogy for teachers and self-taught musicians. Widely published in more than a dozen education and jazz periodicals, Mr. García is Co-Editor and Contributing Author of MENC’s Teaching Jazz: A Course of Study and has taught and guest-conducted in Canada, Europe, South Africa, Australia, and across the U.S. Previous to VCU, he served as Associate Professor and Coordinator of Combos at Northwestern University, where he taught jazz and integrated arts, was Jazz Coordinator for the National High School Music Institute, and for four years directed the Vocal Jazz Ensemble. Formerly the Coordinator of Jazz Studies at Northern Illinois University, he was selected by students and faculty there as the recipient of a 1992 “Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching” award and nominated as its candidate for 1992 CASE “U.S. Professor of the Year” (one of 434 nominees nationwide). E-mail him at ajgarcia@vcu.edu. Visit his web site at www.garciamusic.com.

Arturo Sandoval

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Arturo Sandoval

Biography

Few names are as well known in the world of Latin Jazz, as Arturo Sandoval. Arturo stands as the most prolific and idolized trumpeter of the past two decades. With credentials in Jazz, Latin Jazz and Classical music, Arturo Sandoval is perhaps the most recognizable, most respected and sought after trumpeter of the genre. Born in a small Cuban village, Arturo began playing the trumpet at the age of thirteen. He was trained as a classical musician and continued to perform and win honors throughout his education in Cuba. Sandoval’s first major musical expedition came when he joined the Cuban jazz group Irakere, along with saxophonist Paquito D’Rivera and pianist, Chuco Valdez, both of whom are also Latin masters. Irakere’s popularity surged and in 1978, at the Newport Jazz Festival, they were unveiled to an American audience that loved their sound. In 1981 Sandoval left the group to pursue his own musical goals. He formed his own group and toured playing both Jazz and Latin music. In keeping with his classical training, he performed with the BBC Symphony in London as well as the Leningrad Symphony in the former U.S.S.R. The political situation in Cuba during this era stifled Arturo’s career, so in 1990 Arturo sought and was granted political asylum and relocated to Miami. Once in the U.S., Arturo began teaching as a full professor at the Florida International University, where he still holds a full professorship. Sandoval has also lectured at the Conservatoire de Paris, UC Santa Barbara, University of Miami, Purdue University and many other around the globe. He has put out over twenty albums including his 1991 Flight to Freedom just after reaching the U.S. Other albums include: I Remember Clifford, Hot House, Danzon, Swingin’, From Havana With Love and Trumpet Evolution. Sandoval has also contributed to movie soundtracks such as: “The Mambo Kings” and “Havana.” Only the greatest of artists are recognizable solely by their first name. Arturo Sandoval has long since reached that place where jazz and Latin Jazz enthusiasts alike respond with anxious anticipation at the mention of anything performed by, Arturo.

Barry Olsen

Barry Olsonmic

Biography

Barry Olson is a New York native whose musical talents have taken him from the Manhattan School of Music, to quite literally the far side of the world. He has played and/or recorded with Eddie Palmieri, Tito Puente, Ray Barretto, Paquito D’Rivera, David Byrne, Paul Simon, La India and many other musical legends. Olson got his start in New York’s salsa and Latin Jazz scene in the 70’s playing trombone. Aside from his prowess on the trombone, Olson performs masterfully on the piano, marimba and percussion instruments. As the pianist for Chris Washburne’s Latin Jazz group Syotos, Olson is featured on “The Other Side,” “Paradise in Trouble” and “Nuyorican Nights.” Olson performs percussion for the Broadway smash, “The Lion King,” and actively performs Lobi and Dagara music from Ghana. Olson can be heard using African kuar and gangaa drums on the album entitled, “Zie Mwea.” Olson is also a member of the South African jazz group Ingoma under the direction of composer Zim Nggawana. Barry and his wife, Valerie Naranjo, an established percussion artist, lead a group by the name of Mandara, which plays modern and traditional African music.

Bill Cunliffe

Bill CunliffeBill Cunliffe

Biography

Jazz pianist, composer and Grammy Award-winning arranger Bill Cunliffe is known for his innovative and swinging recordings and compositions. Bill began his career as pianist and arranger with the Buddy Rich Big Band and worked with Frank Sinatra, Joe Henderson, Freddie Hubbard, Benny Golson and James Moody. He has since established himself as a solo artist and bandleader, with more than a dozen albums under his name. Bill’s recordings show his affinity for Latin rhythms (“Bill in Brazil,” Imaginación,” his orchestral work “fourth stream … La Banda”) and pay homage to some of his musical heroes, including Paul Simon, Bud Powell and Oliver Nelson. His most recent film project was the score for “On the Shoulders of Giants,” Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s 2011 documentary about the legendary Harlem Rens basketball team of the 1930s. Bill currently plays with his trio, his big band and his Latin band, Imaginación, and performs in the U.S. and around the world as a leader and sideman. His latest solo-piano release is “That Time of Year” (Metre Records, 2011), his take on traditional Christmas tunes, with guest vocalist Denise Donatelli. Bill is a winner of the Thelonious Monk International Piano Competition and has received stipends from the National Endowment for the Arts. Orchestras across the country and overseas have performed his works, and many of his recordings have charted in nationwide jazz polls. He is a jazz studies professor at Cal State Fullerton and teaches at the Skidmore Jazz Institute and the Vail Jazz Workshop. His books “Jazz Keyboard Toolbox” and “Jazz Inventions for Keyboard” (Alfred Music Publishing) are standard jazz reference works. His “Uniquely Familiar: Standards for Advanced Solo Piano” was published in 2010. Bill has received four Grammy nominations and two Emmy nominations. He was awarded a Grammy for Best Instrumental Arrangement for 2009 for “West Side Story Medley,” on the album “Resonance Big Band Plays Tribute to Oscar Peterson” (Resonance Records). He was nominated for a Grammy in 2010 for Best Instrumental Composition for his concerto for trumpet and orchestra, “fourth stream … La Banda,” performed by Terell Stafford and the Temple University Symphony Orchestra (BCM+D Records). The Los Angeles Jazz Society honored Bill in 2010 with its Composer/Arranger Award. That year he was also named a Distinguished Faculty Member of the College of the Arts at Cal State Fullerton. Bill grew up in Andover, Mass. He studied jazz at Duke University with pianist Mary Lou Williams and received his master’s degree from the Eastman School of Music. For more information, please visit http://www.billcunliffe.com

Bobby Matos

Bobby Matos

Biography

Bronx-born Bobby Matos began playing music beating on pots and pans in Grandma’s apartment and went on to backstage informal lessons with conga drum masters Patato Valdez and Mongo Santamaria.

His first gigs were in the early ’60’s 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 ’60s attended the New School and Manhattan School of Music studying composition and arranging. Around this exciting time for Latin Music in N.Y., he recorded “My Latin Soul” for Philips Records. This recording eventually became a much prized cult classic influencing many ’70’s and ’80’s 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 relocated to Los Angeles where he began experimenting with an Afro-Cuban Jazz band where he could blend (and bend) 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 ’80’s and ’90’s, 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. In 2004 he released the critically acclaimed “Made By Hand,” a live recording on the artist’s collective Life Force Jazz records, Bobby continues recording and releasing new music on the LifeForce Jazz imprint including “Acknowledgement” 2005, “Charanga Chango” 2006, and “Gratitude” 2007.

Mambo, Bembe, and Jazz Latino represent healing energy, meditation, and medicine encoded as music. When musicians listen and communicate with each other and their audience on this spiritual level, the music becomes much more than a performance.

Bobby Rodriguez

Bobby Rodriguez

Biography

Born and raised in East Los Angeles, Latin legend and Grammy Nominated Artist, Dr. Bobby Rodriguez is a trumpeter, dynamic leader, charismatic performer, entertainer, gifted composer/arranger, author and educator. He is an active speaker and clinician who has dedicated his life to help promote music. His latest textbook “ABC’s of Brass Warm-Up” One Note Approach, is a valuable new addition to the pedagogical literature for aspiring brass players. “ABC’s of LatinJazz,” his first textbook, teaches the basics of how to play LatinJazz music and how to create an ensemble based upon this music.

Dr. Bobby’s newest release is “Celebration!” This CD reflects who I am and what my music is today, says Rodriguez. It’s a combination of hot Latin rhythms, screaming horns, sophisticated Jazz chordal structures, great modern voices, new style LatinJazz compositions, brilliant solos and pop elements that add up to what I call “21st century LatinJazz.”

“Trumpet Talk” featuring Kenny Burrell and Alex Acuña. Other CD’s include “LatinJazz Romance” and his Grammy Nominated “LatinJazz Explosion.” Winner of numerous awards, the Los Angeles New Times Salsa/Tropical Artist of the Year, Lifetime Achievement Award in Jazz from Drew University, KLON’s Best New Latin Jazz Artist and “Jazz Educator of the Year.” Rodriguez has earned a Gold and three Platinum records, produced six of his own recordings and has produced countless recordings for other artists. Dr. Bobby Rodriguez is on a roll.

Rodriguez is very active in the community. Some of the areas where his expertise has been invaluable are as a member of the Board of Governors of the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (NARAS), member of the Board of the California Institute for the Preservation of Jazz, an educator in the City of Los Angeles Jazz Mentorship Program, and Buddy Collette’s Jazz America.

He is presently director of LatinJazz Music and Jazz Trumpet at UCLA, UCI and Pasadena City College, director of the Jazz Adventure, and president of the Hispanic Musicians Association, Inc. And Rodriguez spent four years touring around the world on the “Love Boat.”

His fiery and sensitive brand of trumpet playing along with his special ability to communicate with students and adults is amazing. He makes learning and performing fun.

He is very concerned with the musical future of children and has dedicated his life to promoting the Art form of Music and to motivate and educate young musicians.

EDUCATION

University of California at Los Angeles – UCLA (2003-2006), Los Angeles, California, USA
Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)
California State University at Los Angeles (1999-2001), Los Angeles, California, USA
Master of Arts-Music

University of Southern California – USC (1998-1999), Los Angeles, California, USA

California State University, Long Beach (1975-1977), Los Angeles, California, USA
Bachelor of Arts-Music,

Rio Hondo Community College (1973-1975), Whittier, California, USA
Career Academy School of Broadcasting (1968-1969), Hollywood, California, USA,
Bobby Rodriguez Charts

Channing Booth

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Channing Booth

Biography

Channing Booth is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of the Berklee School Of Music program where as a young pianist he not only received his Masters degree, but also developed a reputation as an outstanding pianist in the Afro-Caribbean and jazz genres. Channing Booth has already performed and recorded with the best musician in the Afro-Caribbean industry including Giovanni Hidalgo, Tito Puente, Horace “El Negro” Hernandez, Poncho Sanchez, Francisco Aguabella, Marc Quinones, Robert “Bobby” Allende, Victor Mendoza, Ed Uribe, Casey Scheuerell, Michael Spiro, and Oscar Stagnaro.

Channing Booth has also performed with jazz greats such as Roy Hardgrove, Mark Whitfield, Loren Pickford, Don Weed, Greg Hopkins, and Wayne Naus. As a student at Berklee Channing Booth instructed advanced classes in piano, theory, music history, Jazz and Afro-Caribbean studies. Channing also taught advanced courses at the New England Conservatory of Music. As a clinician and guest artist, Channing has given workshops on Afro-Caribbean styles at schools such as Berklee College of Music, Eastern Illinois State University, California State University, and Fresno City College

Channing Booth continues his performing, compositional and research career where he is now working on an instructional textbook on Afro-Caribbean and Salsa music styles.

Chano Pozo

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Chano Pozo

Biography

“Chano” Pozo was a singer/dancer/rumbero born on January 7, 1915 in the Vedado neighborhood of Havana. It was in “El Africa” in the barrio “Pueblo Nuevo” that Chano got his playing experience with the local “comparsas” or carnival troupes. During his time in Cuba, Chano Pozo played with Los Dandys, Conjunto Azul, Felix Chappotín and other Cuban luminaries. It was a famous singer by the name of Miguelito Valde´z that invited Chano to New York in December of 1946 after they recorded together in Havana. While in New York, Chano’s introduction to Dizzy Gillespie by Mario Bauza melded two musical worlds together, bebop and Cuban music. Their collaboration created hits such as “Manteca”, “Tin Tin Deo”, “Cubana Be”, and “Cubana Bop”. It is rumored that Chano Pozo’s temper and involvement with drugs led to a fight in a Harlem bar and cost him his life at the age of 33. He is buried in Colon, Cuba and is survived by his son Joaquin, also a gifted percussionist, and sister Petrona.

Christian Tumalan

Christian Tumalan

Biography

Christian Tumalan was born in Celaya, Guanajuato, Mexico.  In addition to his piano studies, Christian felt a powerful attraction to the art of composition. During a period of seven years, he studied classical piano at the “Escuela Superior de Musica” in Mexico City. He later turned his interests towards Jazz, a musical language where he felt a deep compassion and freedom. He then further developed his skills in live performance, Jazz and Big Band arranging. Currently, Tumalan performs actively in the United States, where he has shared the stage with numerous professional musicians including John Santos, Giovani Hidalgo, Pete Escovedo, Los Adolescents Orchestra, Eddie Santiago, Tony Vega, and many other local and international artists. His most recent participation as a leader includes two very successful Latin projects in the Bay area such as Montuno Swing and the Pacific Mambo Orchestra.

Christopher Washburne

Chris Washburne

Biography

Chris Washburne is one of those rare musicians whose musical activities cross many styles and cultural borders. From early in his career, he refused to be pigeon-holed as just being a jazz or classical player but instead has continually pursued a diverse path. Chris is currently freelancing as a studio musician and performing trombone, bass trombone, tuba, didjeridu and percussion with various classical, jazz, rock and Latin groups in New York City. He also tours extensively with various groups and has concertized throughout the North America, Europe, Asian, Africa, South America, Central America and the Caribbean.
Chris received his Bachelors of Music in classical trombone performance from the University of Wisconsin where he studied with William Richardson, Richard Davis and Les Thimmeg. In 1988, he completed a Masters degree from the New England Conservatory in Third Stream Studies where he studied with John Swallow, Ran Blake and Bob Moses. He was the winner of the 1988 New England Conservatory Graduation Concerto Competition. He spent two months living in Zambia in 1985, studying the traditional music of that region, and in 1993, received a Mellon Fellowship to travel to and explore the rich musical traditions of Cuba.

In 1999 he completed his Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology at Columbia University. He is currently Associate Professor of Music and Found Director of the Louis Armstrong Jazz Performance Program at Columbia University in New York. He has published numerous articles on jazz, Latin jazz, and salsa. He is the author of the book “Sounding Salsa: Performing Latin Music in New York” (2008) and editor of the book “Bad Music” (2004).

David Torres

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David Torres

Biography

David Torres has been the musical director and pianist for the Poncho Sanchez band for the last several years. His compositions have been very popular in both the collegiate and high school levels because of the catchy melodies solid arrangements. Not only has David Torres continued to be a musical force behind the Poncho Sanchez band but has also been a clinician for colleges and high schools throughout the world. David Torres’ recent arrangements have made Poncho Sanchez and his band one of the top Latin Jazz ensembles in the world.

Doug Beavers

Doug Beavers

Biography

GRAMMY® Award winner and trombone master Doug Beavers is widely recognized as a cutting-edge trombonist, composer, and arranger. His new release, Titánes del Trombón, honors fellow trombone greats of the jazz and Latin idioms while highlighting his own skills as an orchestrator.

This brilliant album reflects the heritage of trombone luminaries such as J.J. Johnson, Barry Rogers, and Slide Hampton. Beavers brought in a battery of horn players — including fellow trombonists Conrad Herwig, Luis Bonilla, Reynaldo Jorge and Rey David Alejandre — plus several vocalists, orchestral instrumentalists, and an ace rhythm section.
Across his career, Beavers has performed with and arranged for the likes of Eddie Palmieri, Spanish Harlem Orchestra, Rosemary Clooney, Paul Simon and countless others. In addition to receiving several orchestral commissions, the composer has released three solo projects, the most recent of which peaked at #33 on the Jazzweek national radio charts.

A strong advocate for music education, Doug Beavers has served as an adjunct professor, lecturer, and advisor at prominent institutions including the Manhattan School of Music and California State University, East Bay. He established the Harlem School of Urban Music and Recording Arts, enabling urban students of Harlem and the South Bronx to study urban jazz, salsa, hip-hop and rock.

Eddie Palmieri

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Eddie Palmieri

Biography

Visionary Maestro of Latin Music He has been termed the “madman” of Latin Music- an inspired virtuoso circumventing musical boundaries, submerged in the avant-garde and deeply rooted in the Afro-Latin tradition. Eddie Palmieri’s courageous effort to fuse a wealth of unorthodox instrumentation and genres take him beyond eccentricity securing him a position as an outstanding leader, pianist and composer. Vortex, his newest release on the RMM/TropiJazz label, concludes a three-part series of Afro-Cuban jazz albums produced by Palmieri’s acclaimed octet (the two previous releases are Palmas, released in 1994 on the Elektra/Nonesuch label and Arete, released on RMM/TropiJazz in 1995). He says: “Everyone in music today is trying to interpret Afro-Caribbean rhythms and song that have been with us for thousands of years. What I’m bringing in Vortex is the incredible range that our music embraces.” Eddie Palmieri’s latest release includes seven new instrumental compositions that extend the pianist’s interpretation of Latin Jazz. It is a homage to the deity Oya, ruler of the wind and a tempestuous goddess of the Afro-Caribbean pantheon. Weaving a rich web of jazz phrasing, classical and progressive elements, a Palmieri composition most resembles an orchestra suite, frequently beginning with a classic tango or danzon , venturing suddenly into an explosive melange of stabbing horn riffs, percussive piano and, always, the unremitting pulsing rhythm that binds those elements. The immediacy and intensity of his music seek to drive, stir and inspire; a rejuvenator of the soul, Palmieri captures your heart through song and your feet through dance. The opening composition, “Dona Tere”, is pure Palmieri, beginning with an introspective piano solo that segues into an Afro-Caribbean dance structure. “Displacement” expresses Palmieri’s exploration of the mathematical models expounded by the late Russian composer Joseph Schillinger. “Minuet in G” is Beethoven’s well-known piece rhythmically transformed into a Cuban-style danzon, realizing Palmieri’s long time plan to create “classical blasphemy” by revolutionizing the music of his favorite classical composers. “Whirlwind” the albums final composition, opens with a powerful solo on udu drum that calls out to Oya, and concludes with a storm of percussion suitable for this Afro-Caribbean goddess. Eddie Palmieri’s musical career spans three decades as a leader of jazz/salsa orchestras. His voluminous discography is equally impressive with 30 recordings to his name. He has won five Grammies, including the first presentation in the Best Latin Album category for his 1975 release The Sun of Latin Music and again the following year for Unfinished Masterpiece for his 1984 release Palo Pa’ Rumba , for Solito in 1985 and for La Verdad in 1987. He was also awarded the Eubie Blake Award by Billy Taylor in 1991 and he is the only Latin musician recognized by the Legislative Assembly of Puerto Rico and the New York State Assembly. The Smithsonian Institute in 1988 recorded and documented two of Palmieri’s performances for their catalog of the National Museum of American History in Washington D.C., a rare public honor bestowed on few Latin artists. Most recently, in his position as Vice-President of the Board of Governors of the New York chapter of the National Association of Recording Arts and Science (NARAS), Palmieri worked to establish a new Grammy category recognizing Latin jazz. His 1994 album, Palmas, was among the nominees for the first award presented in that category in March 1995; his next release, Arete, also was named a nominee in that category in 1996. Born in Spanish Harlem in 1936, Eddie Palmieri and his celebrated older brother, the late salsa legend and pianist Charlie Palmieri, began piano studies at an early age. For Latin New Yorkers of Eddie’s generation, music was a vehicle for out of the barrio. At age 11 he made his classical debut at Carnegie Hall, a venue as far from the Bronx as he could imagine. Possessed with an urgency to play the drums, Palmieri joined his uncle’s orchestra, where he played the timbales and memorized percussion solos by Tito Puente. Says Palmieri, “By 15 it was good-bye timbales and back to the piano until this day. I’m a frustrated percussionist, so I took it out on the piano.” He began his professional career as a pianist in the early ’50’s with Eddie Forrester’s Orchestra and with Johnny Segui in 1955 and spent a year with the Tito Rodriquez Orchestra before embarking on his own in 1961 to form the legendary “Conjunto La Perfecta,”. La Perfecta featured a trombone section (fronted by the late Barry Rogers) in place of trumpets, something that had been rarely done in Latin music and demonstrated the early stages of Palmieri’s unconventional means of orchestration. They were known as “the band with the crazy roaring elephants” for the configuration of two trombones, flute, percussion, bass and vocalist. With an infectious and soaring sound, Palmieri’s band soon joined the ranks of Machito, Tito Rodriquez, and other major Latin orchestras of the day. Palmieri’s influences not only include his older brother Charlie but Jesus Lopez, Chapotin, Lili Martinez and other Cuban players of the 1940’s; and jazz luminaries Art Tatum, Bobby Timmons, Bill Evans, Horace Silver, Bud Powell, McCoy Tyner, Herbie Hancock and Miles Davis. Equally important were influences derived from Palmieri’s curiosity and incessant search to unearth his family roots and seek out the origins of the music that profoundly inspired him. Says Palmieri, “In Cuba, there was a development e no musical boundaries. Biographical Information: Courtesy of Eddie Palmieri © 1997 PALMAS FLORIBE (BMI)/Administered by BUG All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission. Recordings for “Palmas”, “You Dig”, “Doctor Duck”, “Bolero Dos”, “Bouncer”, found on the Three-Two web site were written and performed by Eddie Palmieri. © 1994 PALMAS FLORIBE (BMI)/AdministeredBUG All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission. The recording for “Slowvisor” found on the Three-Two web sight was performed by Eddie Palmieri. “Slowvisor” was written by Eddie Palmieri and Joshua Evan Freifield © 1994 PALMAS FLORIBE (BMI)/Administered by BUG All Rights Reserved. Used by Permsion.

Eugene Marlow

Eugene Marlow

Biography

Dr. Marlow’s jazz compositions span a wide range of styles. His compositions include charts for big band in various genres as well as ballads, swing tunes, blues, and Latin-jazz flavored compositions for small ensembles. He has also arranged numerous Hebraic melodies in various jazz, Afro-Carribean, Brazilian, and classical styles.

Eugene Marlow has studied jazz with NEA Jazz Master Dr. Billy Taylor, Andy LaVerne, Harold Danko, and Marty Sheller (jazz composition), Milt Hinton and Laurence Hobgood (jazz performance), multi-Grammy nominees Manny Albam, Michael Abene, and Jim McNeely, and Grammy-winner Maria Schneider. He has studied music scoring for film and television with Paul Chihara (at ASCAP), Scott Smalley, and Jack Smalley.

He is a former member of the BMI Jazz Composers Workshop and the International Association for Jazz Education, and current member of the Jazz Journalists Association (former treasurer), the Jazz Education Network, the New York Composers Circle, Chamber Music America, the American Composers Forum, the National Music Publishers Association. He has been a voting member of the National Academy for Recording Arts and Sciences since 2006.

Hilario Duran

micHilario Duran

Biography

Two JUNO Award 2010 nominations for the Hilario Durán Trio album “Motion” (Alma/Universal Records). Best Contemporary Jazz album of the Year & Recording Engineer of the Year. Named #1 Latin Jazz Best Recording of 2010 by Latin Jazz Network. Grammy nomination in 2007 for his Latin Jazz Big Band album, “From The Heart”, (Alma/Universal Records) featuring Paquito D’Rivera and Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez. Juno Award Winner (Canadian Grammy equivalent) “Contemporary Jazz Album of the Year”. Won two JUNO and over a dozen National Jazz Awards in Canada. Honoured with prestigious 2007 Chico O’Farrill lifetime achievement award in Miami for his outstanding contributions to Afro-Cuban jazz and Latin Jazz. Awarded “Premio EGREM” for Best Arranger of the Year 1982-83—one of Cuba’s most prestigious music prizes. Performed with Cuba’s legendary “Orquesta Cubana de Música Moderna”. Invited by former leader Chucho Valdés to replace him as pianist when he started the famous group Irakere. Arranger, pianist, musical director with Arturo Sandoval for nine years, touring worldwide. Performed with “greats” Dizzy Gillespie, Michel Legrand, among many others. Performed with and studied composition and arranging at Amadeo Roldan conservatory and under the musical directors of some of Havana’s great cabaret and theatre orchestras. Created extensive library of original compositions/arrangements. Adjunct piano professor and ensemble director in jazz faculty at Humber College, Toronto, Ontario. Born 1953, Havana, Cuba. Immigrated in 1998 to Toronto, Canada. Named one of the 10 most influential Hispanic Canadians in 2009. Performance Formats Hilario Durán 13-piece Latin Jazz Band & Special Guest Jane Bunnett. Afro-Cuban & Latin Jazz. Hilario Durán 20-piece Latin Jazz Big Band. Grammy-nominated. Afro-Cuban & Latin Jazz. Hilario Durán Trio. Contemporary Afro-Cuban, Latin Jazz and Modern Jazz. Hilario Durán Havana Remembered. The sound and savor of the “Golden Age” of Old Havana. Hilario Durán. Solo piano and duos of Cuban Classics, Latin Jazz. Hilario Durán. Theatrical Music composition, performance and accompaniment.

Hilton Ruiz

Hilton Ruiz

Biography

Jazz pianist Hilton Ruiz was a musician of uncommon versatility, shuttling seamlessly between the complex improvisations of the avant-garde and the relentless rhythms of Afro-Cuban music. Born in New York City on May 29, 1952, Ruiz was a child prodigy who performed at Carnegie Recital Hall at age eight. In addition to classical studies, he explored jazz under the tutelage of the legendary Mary Lou Williams, and at 14 made his recorded debut with the Latin soul outfit Ray Jay and the East Siders. His remarkable improvisational gifts nevertheless cemented Ruiz’s decision to pursue a career in jazz, and while still in his teens he backed everyone from Freddie Hubbard to Joe Henderson. Ruiz vaulted to global renown in 1973 when he joined the famously eclectic saxophonist/flutist Rahsaan Roland Kirk, proving his mettle as a gifted interpreter of a repertoire spanning from the blues to the avant-garde via cult-classic LPs including The Case of the 3 Sided Dream in Audio Color and The Return of the 5000 Lb. Man. After a four-year tenure with Kirk, Ruiz toured Egypt and India with Clark Terry; upon his return to New York, he was a first-call sideman for acts including Betty Carter, Abbey Lincoln, and Chico Freeman, and also founded his own group, continuing a headlining career that began with the 1975 Steeplechase effort Piano Man. Over the span of acclaimed LPs including 1977’s Steppin’ Into Beauty, 1988’s El Camino (The Road) and 1991’s A Moment’s Notice, Ruiz honed a Latin jazz fusion approach that resulted in collaborations with Tito Puente and Paquito d’Rivera; he also moonlighted in film, contributing to the soundtracks of Woody Allen’s Crimes and Misdemeanors and Sam Mendes’ Oscar-winning American Beauty, and with Richard Bradley authored 1987’s three-volume Jazz and How to Play It. During a visit to New Orleans, where he was scheduled to work on a Hurricane Katrina benefit project, Ruiz suffered a fall in front of a French Quarter bar and slipped into a coma. He never regained consciousness, dying just a week after his 54th birthday on June 6, 2006.

Artist Biography by Jason Ankeny

Horace Silver

Horance SilverHorace Silver

Biography When Horace Silver once wrote out his rules for musical composition (in the liner notes to the 1968 record, Serenade to a Soul Sister), he expounded on the importance of “meaningful simplicity.” The pianist could have just as easily been describing his own life. For more than fifty years, Silver has simply written some of the most enduring tunes in jazz while performing them in a distinctively personal style. It’s all been straight forward enough, while decades of incredible experiences have provided the meaning. Silver was born in Norwalk, Connecticut on September 2, 1928. His father had immigrated to the United States from Cape Verde—and that island nation’s Portuguese influences would play a big part in Silver’s own music later on. When Silver was a teenager, he began playing both piano and saxophone while he listened to everything from boogie-woogie and blues to such modern musicians as Bud Powell and Thelonious Monk. As Silver’s piano trio was working in Hartford, Connecticut, the group received saxophonist Stan Getz’s attention in 1950. The saxophonist brought the band on the road and recorded three of Silver’s compositions. In 1951, Silver moved to New York City where he accompanied saxophonists Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young and many other legends. In the following year, he met the executives at Blue Note while working as a sideman for saxophonist Lou Donaldson. This meeting led to Silver signing with the label where he would remain until 1980. He also collaborated with Art Blakey in forming the Jazz Messengers during the early 1950s (which Blakey would continue to lead after Silver formed his own quintet in 1956). During these years, Silver helped create the rhythmically forceful branch of jazz known as “hard bop” (chronicled in David H. Rosenthal’s 1992 book, Hard Bop: Jazz and Black Music, 1955-1965). He based much of his own writing on blues and gospel—the latter is particularly prominent on one of his biggest tunes, “The Preacher.” While his compositions at this time featured surprising tempo shifts and a range of melodic ideas, they immediately caught the attention of a wide audience. Silver’s own piano playing easily shifted from aggressively percussive to lushly romantic within just a few bars. At the same time, his sharp use of repetition was funky even before that word could be used in polite company. Along with Silver’s own work, his bands often featured such rising jazz stars as saxophonists Junior Cook and Hank Mobley, trumpeter Blue Mitchell, and drummer Louis Hayes. Some of his key albums from this period included Horace Silver Trio (1953), Horace Silver and the Jazz Messengers (1955), Six Pieces of Silver (1956) and Blowin’ The Blues Away (1959), which includes his famous, “Sister Sadie.” He also combined jazz with a sassy take on pop through the 1961 hit, “Filthy McNasty.” But it was a few years later when Silver would record one of his most famous songs, the title track to his 1964 album, Song For My Father. That piece combined his dad’s take on Cape Verdean folk music (with a hint of Brazilian Carnival rhythms) into an enduring F-minor jazz composition. Over the years, it has become an American popular music standard, covered not only by scores of instrumentalists, but also such singers as James Brown. As social and cultural upheavals shook the nation during the late 1960s and early 1970s, Silver responded to these changes through music. He commented directly on the new scene through a trio of records called United States of Mind (1970-1972) that featured the spirited vocals of Andy Bey. The composer got deeper into cosmic philosophy as his group, Silver ‘N Strings, recorded Silver ‘N Strings Play The Music of the Spheres (1979). After Silver’s long tenure with Blue Note ended, he continued to create vital music. The 1985 album, Continuity of Spirit (Silveto), features his unique orchestral collaborations. In the 1990s, Silver directly answered the urban popular music that had been largely built from his influence on It’s Got To Be Funky (Columbia, 1993). On Jazz Has A Sense of Humor (Verve, 1998), he shows his younger group of sidemen the true meaning of the music. Now living surrounded by a devoted family in California, Silver has received much of the recognition due a venerable jazz icon. In 2005, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) gave him its President’s Merit Award. Silver is also anxious to tell the world his life story in his own words as he just completed writing his autobiography, Let’s Get To The Nitty Gritty (University of California Press, scheduled for fall 2006 release).

Humberto Ramirez

Humberto Ramirez

Biography

Mention the name Humberto Ramírez to Latin Jazz fans, and it’s his virtuous, hard bop rooted skill as a trumpet soloist and leader of the innovative Jazz Project that will quickly come to mind. Aficionados of contemporary tropical Latin dance music will instantly recognize his contributions as an arranger, composer and producer for such tropical music icons as Willie Colón, Gilberto Santa Rosa, Tony Vega, Marc Anthony, Olga Tañon, Domingo Quiñones, India, Rubén Blades, Victor Manuelle and a multitude of other salsa luminaries. He brings to Latin Jazz the very best of many different musical genres to create a unique style. Ramírez grew up in a household steeped in the music of Tito Rodríguez, Machito, Tito Puente, Miles Davis, Lee Morgan and John Coltrane. His father, a saxophonist and bandleader, inspired a young Humberto to take up the flugelhorn at age 11. By the age 14, Humberto was performing professionally with his father’s band. By 19, his interest in composition and arranging led him to Berkley College of Music in Boston and later on to Los ángeles to attend the Dick Grove School of Music. Since then, Ramírez has shared the stage with great Jazz star such as: Freddy Hubbard, Justo Almario, Alex Acuña, Chick Corea, McCoy Tyner, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Tito Puente, Michel Camilo, Herbie Hancock, Eddie Gómez and Herb Alpert with whom he recorded the album Passion Dance, as well as joining him on Alpert’s 1997 world tour.

Jan Hartong

Jan Hartong

Biography

Led by pianist Jan Laurenz Hartong (b. c.1941, Netherlands), eight-piece band Nueva Manteca are a Netherlands-based Latin jazz outfit who produce a highly authentic distillation of Latin music and also embrace traditions such as Arabic, classical, Dutch Antillean and salsa. As Hartong told the press in 1996, ‘It’s the same situation as hearing a Korean violinist playing a Beethoven concerto. It’s already accepted in the jazz world. In the whole world music development, a lot of people are digging into all kinds of cultures.’ Hartong began playing dixieland piano at the age of 12, before progressing to bebop by 15, at which time he began to work professionally. He played alongside Jan Hammer and Joachim Kühn in a 1966 international jazz festival judged by Cannonball and Nat Adderley where he won a medal. A fan of Latin music since his childhood, Hartong formed a 10-piece salsa band in Rotterdam in 1983. He also visited the music’s home in Cuba in 1984 and 1987, which led to him switching to a Latin jazz style and changing his group’s name from Manteca to Neuva Manteca. For the first three years of the group’s existence he was joined by highly respected New York timbales player Nicky Marrero. The group won its live reputation playing festivals throughout Europe, also performing alongside guest artists including Giovanni Hidalgo, Juanito Torres, Orestes Vilató, Armando Peraza and Bobby Sanabria as part of the state-sponsored Nueva Manteca Meets The Legends series. The group also toured the USA in 1995, preparing for the release of Let’s Face The Music And Dance. Dedicated to Vernon Boggs, the late New York professor who championed salsa in Scandinavia, it featured Latin-flavoured treatments of material by Duke Ellington (‘Caravan’), Miles Davis (‘All Blues’) and an Irving Berlin medley. Previous albums included Porgy & Bess, a revision of the George Gershwin opera set to a Latin rhythm.

Jeff Fuller

Jeff Fuller

Biography

Jeff Fuller is a jazz bassist with an impressive list of credentials. He has toured worldwide and recorded with master saxophonists Lou Donaldson and Paquito D’Rivera, with each of whom he recorded three albums. Fuller’s swing and big bass sound, combined with his versatility, enable him to blend with jazz artists from all styles and eras. He has appeared with such diverse artists as Dizzy Gillespie, Mose Allison, Scott Hamilton, “Papa” Jo Jones, Gerry Mulligan, Randy Brecker, Larry Coryell, and “Big Nick” Nicholas. He frequently performs with jazz singers such as Giacomo Gates, Marlene ver Planck, and Steve March Torme. Besides jazz, Fuller has gained wide experience in Latin music, both Afro-Cuban and Brazilian. He currently performs with the popular Brazilian trio, Sambeleza, which features Brazilian singer Isabella Mendes and guitarist Joe Carter. In addition to having toured and recorded with Paquito D’Rivera, he has performed with the Hilton Ruiz group, Daniel Ponce’s Jazzbatá, Mario Rivera’s Refugiados de Salsa, and Puerto Rican singer Roy Brown. He composes and arranges for the top salsa group, Irazú, whose numerous CDs have featured soloists Arturo Sandoval and Tata Güines. Fuller’s Latin big band and combo arrangements are frequently performed and sold world-wide. He played, sang and arranged for the popular Hartford CT group, Samba Brasil, seven-time winner of the “Best Latin” category in the Hartford Advocate Reader’s Poll. A native son of Connecticut, Fuller holds a master’s degree in Composition from Yale University, and is widely respected as a teacher and clinician. Since 1996 he has taught Composition, Jazz Arranging and Jazz Theory at the Educational Center for the Arts (ECA), an area magnet high school in New Haven. He has been commissioned to write many orchestral suites and jazz arangements for ECA, and has been the recipient of music composition grants from sources including Three-Two (Latin) Music, Florida International University, Meet The Composer, The New Haven Symphony, Hartford Symphony Orchestra, and the Connecticut Commission on the Arts.

Jeff Parthun

Jeff Parthun

Biography

Jeff Parthun is a music teacher/percussionist/composer living in Lafayette, Indiana. He is a band director and department chairman in the Lafayette (IN) School Corporation. During his 30+ years as a public school teacher he has taught instrumental music at every level from elementary band and orchestra through teaching applied percussion at Purdue University. Jeff holds degrees from Butler University and Northwestern University where he studied band arranging with John P. Paynter, Don Owens and Don Casey. He was a private percussion student of Roy C. Knapp (PAS Hall of Fame), Bob Tilles, Dr. Terry Applebaum and Tony Caselli.

Jeff has performed and recorded with many regional jazz and concert groups including the Los Blancos Latin Jazz Band and the Bach Chorale Singers and Orchestra. He is a member of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) and is a multiple recipient of the ASCAPLUS award. His educational music is currently published by Three-Two Music, Per-Mus Publications, BRS Music, Jon Ross Music and is also distributed by pdfbandmusic.com. His pieces are on required lists in Indiana, Texas, Ohio and New York and his compositions have been reviewed in the professional journals Percussive Notes, Instrumentalist and Horn Call. He is very active as a music contest judge for jazz, marching, concert and indoor percussion events. He can be seen (briefly!) as the band director in the Paramount movie “Blue Chips” with Shaquille O’Neil and Nick Nolte.

Jeremy Fletcher

Jeremy Fletcher

Biography

Jeremy Fletcher is an accomplished performer, educator, and composer. He has worked as a woodwind doubles specialist for such Pittsburgh Musical Theater productions as Westside Story and Hello Dolly, played saxophone weekly with the Roger Humphries Big Band, appeared as a soloist with the Altoona Symphony Orchestra, and performed with visiting acts including Bernadette Peters and Jerry Vale. He also worked as the primary arranger for The Chapel of Blues house band. Jeremy graduated with his M.M. in the spring of 2004 from the Manhattan School of Music and was awarded the Manny Albam Prize for jazz composition. In the fall of 2004 he returned to MSM to begin his doctorate in Jazz Arts Advancement and was awarded an ASCAP scholarship to attend the Henry Mancini Institute in Los Angeles, California as a composer. He completed his D.M.A. in the spring of 2008.

Jeremy has written commissions for the New York City All-City High School Jazz Band, the College of New Jersey Big Band, and the 90th anniversary of Manhattan School of Music. Recently, he contributed one original and one arrangement to the Grammy-nominated album Big Band Urban Folktales by Bobby Sanabria. The original composition D Train was also licensed by the Bose Corporation for use in their product demonstrations. Throughout his graduate and doctoral studies, Jeremy continued to work as an educator in both public and private schools as well as on the jazz faculty of the Manhattan School of Music Precollege. His students have received national recognition in Downbeat Magazine. Currently, Jeremy is the instrumental music director at St. Benedict’s Preparatory School in Newark, New Jersey.

Below are two charts from Jeremy. “Jump Shot” was a commission for the NYC All City High School Jazz Ensemble and is a medium level chart with doubles; tenor 1 on soprano and tenor 2 on clarinet. “D Train” is a difficult level chart and was recorded on Bobby Sanabria’s “Big Band Urban Folktails” CD.

Joe Fiedler

Joe Fiedler

Biography

Trombonist/composer Joe Fiedler is known to critics as “among the most impressive trombonists to emerge in the past couple of decades” (Harvey Pekar, Signal to Noise) and “an MVP in configurations that range from salsa bands to the jazz avant-garde” (Time Out New York). Based in New York since 1993, he has performed and recorded in a long and eclectic list of musical settings ranging from pop (Firewater, Wycleff Jean, Jennifer Lopez) to Afro-Caribbean (Celia Cruz, Ralph Irizarry, Eddie Palmieri) to jazz (Andrew Hill, Lee Konitz, Maria Schneider) to the avant-garde (Borah Bergman, Anthony Braxton, Cecil Taylor). In addition to work as a solo trombonist and leader of the groups the Joe Fiedler Trio and Big Sack, Fiedler is an active member of such ensembles as Fast and Bulbous, Chris Jonas’ The Sun Spits Cherries, and the big bands of Satoko Fujii, Ed Palermo and Charles Tolliver among others. His diverse discography features more than 70 recordings, including three as a leader. The latest is his 2007 trio release, The Crab (Clean Feed), featuring bassist John Hebert and drummer Michael Sarin. “When you listen to the music on The Crab,” writes AllAboutJazz-New York’s Editorial Director Andrey Henkin in the liner notes, “you know you’re hearing the work of a major innovator. And few players on any instrument write tunes with as much breadth and diversity, using mutes, multiphonics, bravado on burners, avant musings, subversive marches and poignant ballads.” Critics called the band’s first CD, Plays The Music of Albert Mangelsdorff (Clean Feed), ”triumphant” (Jay Collins, One Final Note), “involving” (Nate Chinen, New York Times), ”a memorable and brilliant tribute” (Scott Yanow, All Music Guide) and “a survey that is at once deep and uncompromising and still decidedly accessible throughout, traits emblematic of the dedicatory maestro himself” (Derek Taylor, Bagatellen).

Joey Calderazzo

Joey Calderazzo

Biography

A native of New Rochelle, New York, Calderazzo first became inspired to take up piano by a musical next-door neighbor and began his classical studies at age six. Improvisation came naturally even then; long before he began any formal jazz training, the young pianist was making up his own variations on Mozart.

Fueled by his growing interest in artists like McCoy Tyner and John Coltrane, Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea, Calderazzo visited friends at Berklee College of Music, growing close with then students Branford Marsalis, Wallace Roney, Donald Harrison and Jeff “Tain” Watts.

After dropping out of Long Island University, Calderazzo earned his big break came after meeting and jamming with legendary saxophonist Michael Brecker at a clinic. Brecker was deeply impressed by the young pianist and offered him the piano chair in his touring quintet after Kenny Kirkland left the group in 1987. Just over ten years later, Calderazzo joined the Branford Marsalis Quartet, replacing Kirkland a second time after the pianist’s untimely passing.

Calderazzo’s work has been just as notable in the studio as on stages around the world. He recorded three albums for Blue Note Records in the early 1990s, In The Door, To Know One, and The Traveler, also releasing Secrets on Audioquest and Joey Calderazzo on Columbia Records before signing to Branford’s Marsalis Music record label in 2002; working with the company, he released Haiku and Amanecer in 2003 and 2007 respectively. Calderazzo’s co-leader credits include 2011’s duo with Marsalis, Songs of Mirth and Melancholy. Calderazzo’s Sunnyside debut was 2013’s Live, a trio recording featuring Le Fleming and drummer Donald Edwards. His diverse sideman recording credits include the likes of Arturo Sandoval, Bob Mintzer, Bob Belden, Vincent Herring, Jeff “Tain” Watts, and Jerry Bergonzi— as well as Marsalis and Brecker.

With firm roots planted in North Carolina, Calderazzo currently splits his professional time between teaching as an adjunct professor at North Carolina Central University, working with Marsalis and company, and pushing his own trio art to new heights.

John Calloway

John Calloway

Biography

John Calloway is a multi-instrumentalist, composer and arranger who has performed with renowned jazz artists Israel Cachao Lopez, Max Roach, Omar Sosa and Dizzy Gillespie. In the San Francisco bay area, John has built a solid foundation as a performer/arranger including work with Pete Escovedo, Jesus Diaz, John Santos, Quique Cruz, Rebeca Mauleon and Wayne Wallace. As a faculty member at San Francisco State University, John founded the university’s Afro-Cuban ensemble, which has enjoyed wide acclaim and popularity for many years. He has also done extensive theatre work with Teatro Arcoiris of SFSU, including the critically acclaimed theatre piece Poeta Pan, based on the life and poetry of Pablo Neruda that was performed in the United States and Chile. His recording credits as a performer and composer include his two CD projects, Diaspora and the Code, and longtime collaborations with John Santos, Jesus Diaz and Omar Sosa. Included in his recording and writing credits are the Grammy nominations given to “SF Bay” (2003) with the Machete Ensemble, and Ritmo y Candela (1996) and Ritmo y Candela II (1998), produced by Greg landau and featuring Cuban percussionists Changuito, Patato, and Orestes Vilato. As an educator, John currently teaches Afro-Cuban music and Latin American music courses at San Francisco State University and at the Jazz School in Berkeley, CA. He is also a clinician at the Stanford Jazz Workshop and a longtime faculty member of Jazzcampwest. He has frequently traveled to Cuba as program coordinator for Plazacuba, an arts company that offers courses in conjunction with the National School of the Arts in Havana, Cuba. John holds A.B.A. In music from the City University of New York, an M.A. in music from San Francisco State University and a Doctorate in education from the University of San Francisco. He currently serves as an arts commissioner for the city of San Francisco, and is on the advisory boards of the San Jose Jazz Society and the Arts Education Master Plan for the San Francisco School District.

John Worely

John Worley

Biography

John L. Worley Jr. is an accomplished trumpet/flugelhorn/post-horn artist and leader of the bands Mo-Chi Quartet, WorlView and Bari Bari. John has played in many of the Bay Area’s creative music ensembles for the last 20+ years. Being adept at a multitude of styles, he has played with national and international artists in Canada, Europe, Central and North America. His band WorlView made its debut performance at the 2004 San Jose Jazz Festival and has played at prestigious venues including the 2007 San Jose Jazz Festival’s Smith Dobson’s Tribute Stage, 2007 Pacific Northwest tour, and the Monterey Jazz Festival in 2006. John is a member of the music faculty at Stanford University and Hope St. Studios in Mountain View, CA, BMI and a member of AFM Locals 6 and 153. John’s debut CD “WorlView” was released in 2003 on his label, Dancing Sumo Records. He also produced Sebastien Lanson’s debut recording “In Transition” on Dancing Sumo Records in 2004.

Performance Credits & Recordings
    • Mo-Chi Quartet Jazz Katsu fund raiser for Japan Tsunami relief fund (2012)
    • Lila Downs Herbst Theater (2012)
    • San Jose Jazz Winter fest Red Dragon Quintet (2012)
    • SF Jazz Hot Plate series presents ” Larry De La Cruz plays Cannonball Adderley” (2012)
    • World Premiere “Clementine in the Lower 9” at TheaterWorks, Mountain View, CA (2011)
    • Jon Jang and Unbound Chinatown at the 2nd Annual Chinatown Music Festival (2011)
    • Three Horns, No Limits – Jazz on Main St, Redwood City featuring Wayne Wallace, Kristen Strom and John Worley (2011)
    • WorlView Pac NW tour (2010)
    • Bari Bari –SJJ “Jazz at the Improv” series (2010)
    • Hedley Club Jazz Jam – co-leader (2010 – present)
    • Dave Pell Octet at the San Jose Jazz Festival (2010)
    • Ed Johnson and Novo Tempo “Illuminados, a tribute to Ivan Lins” Yoshi’s (2010)
    • Tribute to Freddie Hubbard, Yoshi’s (2009)
    • Pete Escovedo Orchestra – San Jose Jazz Festival (2009)
    • “Birth of the Cool Revisited” at the 2009 Sunday Jazz at the Improv presented by San Jose Jazz
    • Bari Bari at the 2008 Sunday Jazz at the Improv presented by San Jose Jazz
    • “Re-Birth of The Cool” project co-leading with Wayne Wallace at the Stanford Jazz Festival in 2006
    • Carla Bley/Steve Swallow Big Band and The Jon Jang Seven at the 2005 Monterey Jazz Festival
    • West Coast tours with Ed Johnson and Novo Tempo in 2003, 2004 and 2005
    • Maria Schneider and Ingrid Jensen at the San Francisco Jazz Festivals Women In Jazz concert series
    • Don Byron at the Monterey Jazz Festival 2002
    • Stanley Clarke at Yoshi’s
    • Mel Martin Big Band, Sam Rivers Big Band at the 2001 Stanford Jazz Workshop
    • Wayne Shorter Sextet and the Monterey Jazz Festival Chamber Orchestra at the 2000 Monterey Jazz Festival

 

Josh Schwartzman

Josh Schwartzman

Biography

Bass player, arranger, and composer, Josh Schwartzman has worked extensively in and around the East Coast Latin and jazz scenes for many years. Best known as founder, bassist and contributing arranger and composer for Rumba Club since its inception eighteen years ago, he can also be found performing in a variety of musical settings playing acoustic bass, Ampeg Baby bass or piano. Josh studied at the Creative Music Studio in Woodstock, New York in the early eighties and lived in Spanish Harlem where his interest in Latin music was nurtured. For several years, Josh studied arranging and composition privately with the late Dr. Asher Zlotnik alumnus of the Peabody Institute of Music. He has had the honor of sharing the stage with well-known jazz and Latin musicians alike (Tito Puente, Billy Higgins, Giovanni Hidalgo, David Williams, Nestor Torrez, John Faddis) As a member of Duende Quartet Josh has toured the world as part of Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rhythm Road:American Music abroad program co-sponsored by the US Department of State 2007:Turkey, Albania, Cypress, Bosnia 2009:India, Bangladesh, Philippines, Taiwan. In 2008 Josh played bass in the theater presentation “David in Shadow and Light” at the J Theater in Washington DC. Josh is also an accomplished pianist and appears as a solo pianist in Baltimore area restaurants and as a combo pianist.

Jovino Santos Neto

Jovino Santos Neto

Biography

Three-time Latin Grammy nominee Jovino Santos Neto, a master pianist, composer, and arranger, is among the top Brazilian musicians working today. Currently based in Seattle, Washington, he has throughout his career been closely affiliated with the Brazilian master Hermeto Pascoal. He was an integral part of Pascoal’s group from 1977 to1992, where he fine-tuned his artistry, performing around the world and co-producing several legendary records.

Jovino’s personal style is a creative blend of energetic grooves, deep harmonies, telepathic improvisation, lyrical melodies and great ensemble playing, always inspired and informed by the colorful richness of Brazilian music. His compositions include samba, choro, baião, xote, forró, marcha and many more styles, rooted in centuries-old musical tradition while pointing to new and adventurous harmonic languages.

Currently, Jovino leads his Seattle-based Quinteto and teaches piano and composition at Cornish College of the Arts. He can also be heard around the world as a piano soloist, working with symphony orchestras, jazz big bands, chamber music groups, and in collaboration with musicians such as his mentor Hermeto Pascoal, Bill Frisell, Paquito d’Rivera, Airto Moreira, Claudio Roditi, David Sanchez, Joe Locke, Marco Granados and many more.

Since moving to the US from his native Rio de Janeiro in 1993, Jovino Santos Neto has continued to tour the world and to record prolifically. He has recorded multiple CDs with his Seattle-based Quinteto, including Canto do Rio, nominated for a Latin Grammy in 2004. In 2006 Adventure Music released Roda Carioca with an all-Brazilian lineup including Joyce, Hermeto Pascoal and several other notable musicians and long-time colleagues, earning him a second Latin Grammy nomination. In 2007, after receiving a special commission from Brazil’s Petrobras, Jovino composed and recorded Alma do Nordeste, a musical journey translating the essence of Northeastern Brazil into melodies, rhythms, and improvisations – connecting regional, universal, imaginary and real stories. In 2008 he released a piano duo with Weber Iago, Live at Caramoor, also nominated for a Latin Grammy award in 2009. In 2010 Veja o Som (See the Sound) was released, a double disc collection of duos with musicians such as Bill Frisell, Joe Locke, Paquito d’Rivera, Anat Cohen, João Donato, Airto Moreira, Joyce, Paula Morelenbaum and Monica Salmaso, among others. In 2011 Adventure Music released Corrente (Current) featuring his Quinteto performing all new original music. Jovino’s latest recording is a solo piano recording, Vol. 4 of Adventure Music’s Piano Master Series

Jovino’s compositions have been performed by the Seattle Symphony, NDR Big Band in Hamburg and by numerous jazz and chamber music groups. Jovino gives lectures, clinics and master classes worldwide on a variety of musical topics.

Jovino has received commissions by the Cheswatyr Foundation, IAJE, ASCAP, CMA/Doris Duke Foundation, Jack Straw Foundation, the City of Seattle, 4Culture, Artist Trust and Meet the Composer. He has been artist in residence at some of the most prestigious music schools in the world. In 2012 he was inducted into the Seattle Jazz Hall of Fame and in 2011, 2012 and 2016 the Jovino Santos Neto Quinteto won as Best Northwest Acoustic Group in the Golden Ear Awards by Earshot Jazz. He also was awarded an Artist Trust Fellowship in Music in 2012.

He is currently working on writing his musical memoirs, to be published in the near future

Jules Rowell

Jules Rowell

Biography

San Francisco Bay Area native Jules Rowell first began playing music on the violin in the 1950s. During high school, his music instructor encouraged Jules to play the valve trombone, which he has done ever since.
In addition to a Master’s Degree in music from San Francisco State University, Jules has put in several years of study at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. His Master’s Degree specialized in the music of Duke Ellington. Jules has literally taken hundreds of private lessons with such symphonic performers as Will Sudmeier and Ned Meredith and with jazz artists Phil Wilson and Don Doane.

Jules has spent time touring the nation and the world with the orchestras of Woody Herman and Ray Charles, while those gentlemen were both still alive. He has also performed with the innovative Latin rock band Azteca, for which he took part in the making of a documentary on Union Film (released August 2008) in Los Angeles.

Jules has also performed with such artists as Eddie Palmieri, Francisco Aguabella, Woody Shaw, Tom Harrell, Joel Dorham, Lenny White, Eddie Marshall, Art Lande, The Supremes, Bobby Vinton, Tony Bennett, Ed Kelly, Bert Wilson, Sonny Simmons, John Tchicai, Jack Walrath and The Joe Henderson Memorial Orchestra led by Warren Gale, Jr.

In addition to winning the first and second places in the 1999 John Lennon Song contest, Jules has composed and arranged material for Pete Escovedo, Mark Little, Louie Romero and Masacote, The Hot Club of San Francisco, the Kronos String Quartet, the Mike Vax Orchestra, and Francisco Aguabella.

Jules has co-led the Kenny Dorham Project with percussionist Bill Belasco featuring vocalist Valeriana Quevedo. This was a project which highlighted and paid respect to the great compositions and vocal stylings of legendary jazz trumpeter Kenny Dorham.

Kenny Goldberg

Kenny Goldberg

Biography

Sometimes it takes a particular formative experience to turn a young musician into a true artist. For jazz saxophonist,flutist, and composer Kenny Goldberg, that experience came in the form of travel. When Goldberg graduated from the University of Washington in the 70’s, he already had a deep interest in Latin music. But it took an eye opening trip to Latin America to turn the interest into a career focus. “I’d loved Brazilian and Afro-Cuban music since I was a little kid” said Goldberg. I wanted to go to the source, to explore a different part of the world,to become an adventurer, and that was the place to do it.” Immersing himself in the musical culture of the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela, this confident young musician showed up at clubs with his saxophone and flute “and just jumped in”. I really didn’t have any fears about it,” he said. “People were very hospitable. It was exciting to the musicians there to see a young guy interested in their music.” For six months Goldberg performed throughout Latin America, and he wrote music for some of the region’s hottest acts, including the #1 salsa group La Dimension Latina. Brimming with musical ideas, Goldberg returned to the United States and dug deeply into the Latin bag. He joined the pioneering Latin jazz group Tolu, led by Weather Report drummer Alex Acuna and saxophonist Justo Almario. During this experience he caught the ear of renowned percussionist Poncho Sanchez, who invited Goldberg to join his band. This began a three-year association that would further solidify Goldberg’s interest and expertise in the Latin musical idiom. The two albums he recorded with Sanchez included four of his own compositions. The next step for this developing musical talent was to pursue his own solo career, and the result was his 1992 Positive Music release”Tropical Winds”. This soulful,and spicy recording had the highest chart debut in the Gavin Report’s listing of Adult Alternative radio stations, and garnered critical acclaim from such publications as Jazz Times Magazine and the Los Angeles Times. Born in Seattle, Washington, Goldberg began taking piano lessons at the age 5 and took up the alto saxophone three years later. He demonstrates his aptitude for jazz improvisation at an early age, and received an award for his efforts at 14 from the Seattle Arts Commission. Today Goldberg is busy touring with his quartet, with recent appearances in France, Holland, Germany, and the Blue Note in Jakarta, Indonesia. His unique blend of tasty Brazilian sambas and sizzling salsa, Afro-Cuban style, is in full force on his latest Cezzanne Records release, “Full Moon”. The Album, which features nine of Kenny’s original compositions, is a spicy collection of tropical grooves. “It’s jazzier, even more Latin oriented than my first record,” Kenny noted. ” We’re very adventurous within the music. After all that’s my style.”

Louie Ramirez

Louie Ramirez

Biography

Louie Ramirez was born in New York in 1938 and started playing classical piano at the age of seven. After attending Julliard, Louie started his musical career as a vibraphonist with Joe Loco’s quintet from 1956 to 1959. Louie Ramirez released several of his own recordings; “Introducing Louie Ramirez”, “Good News”, “Vibes Galore” and “Latin Au –Go-Go.” On many recordings you can hear Louie playing solos not only on vibes, but on piano and timbales as well. Many artists played his compositions, some of who were Tito Puente, Tito Rodriquez, Tito Allen, Jimmy Sabater, Alberto Santiago, Cheo Feliciano, Celia Cruz, Ruben Blades, Charlie Palmieri, and many others in the Latin music industry. After gaining recognition as a skillful composer and arranger, Louie Ramirez was recruited by Jerry Masucci to write for many of the artist recording for the Fania label. Louie Ramirez composed and arranged classic salsa, Latin jazz, and boogaloo charts, some of which were, “El Titere”, “It’s Not What You Say”, “Times Are Changin’”, “Azucar En Nueva York”, “Salsa Vibes”, “Juan Pachanga” and many others. Louie Ramirez passed away suddenly in 1993 cutting short the life of a skilled composer and popular musician.

Luis Bonilla

Luis Bonilla

Biography

If ever an artist could be called an octopus, Luis Bonilla is it. The California raised, Costa Rican trombonist, composer and arranger has sought out, taken in and mastered an incredible array of musical styles. His success as a sideman with such greats as McCoy Tyner, Dizzy Gillespie, Lester Bowie, Tom Harrell, Freddie Hubbard, Astrud Gilberto, Willie Colon and Toshiko Akiyoshi attests not only to the skill and variety of Bonilla’s talent, but also to a mind restlessly committed to exploring some of the most complex and demanding music of our time. Yet there is nothing rarefied about the Bonilla experience. He has worked as a studio musician with Tony Bennett, Marc Anthony, La India and Mary J. Blige and understands and exploits the liveliness of pop as well as the rhythmic sway and punch of Latin Jazz. Currently a member of the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra under Arturo O’Farrill’s direction (both 2009 Grammy winners) and Dave Douglas’s latest group (Dave Douglas & Brass Ecstasy), Bonilla is one of those rare artists whose work is always expanding, taking in more and more while remaining singular and focused: “Bonilla may be a trombonist used to handling that big long sliding thing, but when it comes to execution of his ideas, he lets nothing slide” (All About Jazz). Critics praised his first two albums on the Candid label, Pasos Gigantes (1998) and iEscucha! (2000), acknowledging Bonilla’s ability to give voice to radically different musical sensibilities with an ease and seamlessness that belies the rigor and sophistication of the music. Pasos Gigantes made Jazziz’s top ten Latin list of 1998. Even as early as these first two albums, critics noted Bonilla’s leadership and sophisticated use of tonal colors. As a faculty member at both Temple University and Manhattan School of Music, Bonilla has an intuitive sense in how to bring out the best in those working with him. Listen to any of his albums and you will hear an extraordinary level of trust and inspiration in each band member’s playing. As the critic for All About Jazz noticed, “Bonilla gives his colleagues ample space to breathe, adding momentum to the flow of his compositional ideas.” His next album, 2007’s Terminal Clarity was a celebration, reflection and aesthetic extension of his years working with Lester Bowie. While retaining the brash harmonic structures of his mentor’s work from Brass Fantasy to his earlier and justly famous work with the Art Ensemble of Chicago, Bonilla adds a “contagious exuberance” (Jazzwise magazine) that is at the heart of his artistic vision. Without in any way diminishing Bowie’s audacity , Bonilla manages to balance “the cerebral and the down-and-dirty (Jazz Times), taking “bold steps to merge Latin genres, free jazz and a variety of other influences (Latin Jazz Corner). In Bonilla’s latest album, I Talking Now! (2009), he pushes these disjunctions even harder, politely demanding that we feel connections between wildly disparate styles of music. A heady mix of swing, rock, free jazz, funk, movie soundtracks, avant-garde noise and ballads, I Talking Now, for all its musical diversity, speaks with one voice. It is a distinctly American vision, a gentle craziness that suggests that every one and every sound can co-exist if we just keep on taking in more and more. Luis Bonilla is moving in directions that are expanding our notions of jazz and leading us into startling new realms with “remarkable creativity and versatility” (Newsday).

Luis Perdomo

Luis Perdomo

Biography

Ever since he came to New York in 1993 from Venezuela, Perdomo has emerged as one of the most in-demand sidemen – as evidenced by his celebrated work with a wide array of jazz and Latin stars – from Ravi Coltrane to Ray Barretto, and by his six critically- acclaimed recordings as a leader. The release of his magnificent new, Hot Tone label debut CD, 22, features bassist Mimi Jones’ supple, deep basslines and drummer Rudy Royston’s quicksilver rhythms, in a trio he christened The Controlling Ear Unit. “I wanted to create an environment where a sensitive player could make his own musical choices, without fear of the consequences,” Perdomo says. “The word ‘unit’ is appropriate because although the current group is a trio, it doesn’t really have to be restrained to that. It could have a different format, depending on what the music calls for.”

On 22, save for his elegant rendition of the Bees Gees’ classic ballad “How Deep is Your Love,” Perdomo delivers a stunning set of original compositions, mostly inspired by his adopted and native hometowns, and that mysterious number.

“2015 marks my twenty-second year living in New York City, and I left my hometown when I was twenty-two years old,” he says. “I remembered the exact moment when I moved, and the feelings I had had at the time…especially during the last two days in Caracas and the first two days in New York City. There again, I saw the two and two formula, and realized that there was a little recurring theme there. So I began scoring all of those memories and trying to convey them through music: translating some dates that were very significant to me into notes.”

Perdomo’s lyrical and logical pianism embodies Bud Powell’s bop-at-the-speed-of- swing, Oscar Peterson’s technical brilliance, and Ahmad Jamal’s melodic genius. And his numbers-into-notes compositional technique, which he learned from Richard DeRosa, an instructor from his Alma Mater, the Manhattan School of Music, forms the basis of two songs: “Cota Mil” a funky, labyrinthine, Patanemo-grooved number named after a prominent highway north of Caracas, which derives its compositional motifs from the dates of the Venezuelan Battle of Independence in 1821 and the Batalla de la Juventud/Battle of the Youth in 1814. The martial, “Days Gone Days Ahead,” was inspired by the day Perdomo got his US Student Visa on 8/13/93.
The rest of the CD’s tracks showcase the infinite variety of Perdomo’s musicality. “Love Tone Poem” is a wistful, 5/4-metered ballad dedicated to Jones, and “Two Sides of a Goodbye” is a funereal, avant-garde work that conjures up Perdomo’s melancholy when he left his family at the airport in Venezuela. In contrast, “Old City” is an uptempo sound portrait of an un-gentrified Manhattan of the early nineties, where jazz clubs like Bradley’s, The Village Gate, Fat Tuesday’s and Sweet Basil’s reigned supreme. Perdomo’s evocative sound on the Fender Rhodes is also featured on the bouncy backbeat of “A Different Kind of Reality,” the contrapuntal “Light Slips In,” “Brand New Grays,” and the funkified “Looking Through You.”
Two tracks, “Weilheim (to Gerry Weil)” a reverent mid-tempo piece dedicated to Perdomo’s first teacher, the Austrian-born jazz pianist/educator Gerry Weil, and “Aaychdee (to Harold Danko)” – named after jazz Danko’s publishing company,” are Perdomo’s sonic shout-outs to his former piano teachers. “The biggest lesson I received from Gerry Weil in Venezuela, was to keep my mind open to all types of music,” he says. “With Harold (who was his instructor at MSM), that was the first time I actually heard jazz from an American point-of-view. That was a total revelation to me.”

Born in 1971 in Caracas, Perdomo, from the age of 12, was playing on Venezuelan TV and radio stations, but he eventually realized that he would have to travel to New York City to fulfill his musical destiny. “Being in a more competitive and challenging environment was a big change that I welcomed,” he says.

In 1993, Perdomo relocated to New York and enrolled with a full scholarship to the Manhattan School of Music, where he studied with Harold Danko and classical pianist Martha Pestalozzi, and earned his earned his BA Degree in 1997. Perdomo later studied with pianist extraordinaire, Sir Roland Hanna at Queens College, and received his Masters Degree in 2000. “Studying with Sir Roland Hanna …“I began to look at jazz and classical music in a new and more in-depth way and my playing evolved accordingly,” he says. Perdomo has appeared on over two hundred records and has become a first-class sideman to artists like Dave Douglas, David Sanchez, Tom Harrell, Steve Turre, Ben Wolfe, Ray Barretto, Brian Lynch, David Gilmore, Conrad Herwig, Ignacio Berroa, Ralph Irizarry and Timbalaye and other great musicians. He was a member of Ravi Coltrane’s Quartet for ten years and is a founding member of the Miguel Zenon Quartet. Perdomo recorded on three Grammy-nominated CD’s: Coltrane’s Influx, and Zenon’s Esta Plena, and Alma Adentro: The Puerto Rican Songbook.

Perdomo’s recordings as a leader include: Focus Point (2005), Awareness (2006), Pathways (2008), the critically-acclaimed Universal Mind (2012), with Jack DeJohnnette and Drew Gress, The Infancia Project (2012) and Links (2013).

Which brings us to 22: an amazing recording that shows how far Luis Perdomo has come and forecasts where he is going.

Manuel Valera

Manuel Valera bio pic

Manuel Valera

Biography

Based in New York City, Grammy nominated artist, pianist and composer Manuel Valera was born and raised in Havana, Cuba. Since arriving in NYC, he has become well known in the NYC modern jazz scene, garnering national reviews and lending his talents as a pianist and composer to such notable artist as Arturo Sandoval, Paquito D’Rivera, Brian Lynch, Dafnis Prieto, Jeff “Tain” Watts, John Benitez, Samuel Torres, Joel Frahm, Yosvany Terry among many others.

Valera is also the leader of his working band Manuel Valera and the New Cuban Express, a project deeply influenced by the experiments of Cuban artists from the 70s and 80s. While inspired by artists Irakere, Emiliano Salvador and AfroCuba, this touring band creates a unique and distinctive style that mixes elements of Jazz, R&B, fusion and funk with Cuban music styles. Expectativas (MAVO 2013) is the follow up and seventh recording as a leader to his 2013 Grammy nominated New Cuban Express (MAVO 2012) which was up for Best Latin Jazz Album of the Year.

His critically acclaimed debut cd in 2004 Forma Nueva (MAVO) features John Patitucci, Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez Bill Stewart and Seamus Blake. Historia (Fresh Sounds New Talent 2005), a jazz quartet with Antonio Sanchez, Seamus Blake and Ben Street. His third release Melancolia (MAVO 2006)—employs a string quartet incorporating world rhythms and classical concepts in the jazz idiom. Vientos (Anzic 2007), representing a new working quartet, features bassist James Genus, drummer Ernesto Simpson, saxophonist Joel Frahm and a woodwind quartet. His fifth and trio recording Currents (MaxJazz 2009) features Ernesto Simpson and James Genus

In addition, he has been awarded several grants for composition most notably Chamber Music America’s New Jazz Works and the ASCAP Young Jazz Composer Award. Manuel has travelled the world performing in over 30 countries at some of the biggest international venues and festivals.

Marcus Persiani

Marcus Persiani

Biography

As a piano player, Marcus has been a steady, vital presence in New York City’s uptown jam-session scene. As house pianist with the Sugar Hill Jazz Quartet led, by Patience Higgins, he appeared every Monday night at the historic Lenox Lounge in Harlem. Marcus was the pianist for the house band in the newly renovated Minton’s Playhouse, playing alongside James Carter and Andy McCloud. In his years of steady uptown jamming, Marcus has played with Wynton Marsalis, Cassandra Wilson, Lewis Nash, and many others.

Steeped in the traditions of jazz and the blues, Marcus Persiani possesses an expansive musical vocabulary that allows him to move deftly across genres. As a testament to his versatility, he has played with artists that include Jerry Gonzalez, the Impressions, Dizzy Gillespie, Max Roach, Cecil McBee, Tito Puente, Carlie Persip‘s Supersound, Vanessa Rubin, and the Apollo Theater Showtime Band.

Marcus Persiani has toured and recorded with the late Mario Bauza, Joseph Bowie’s Defunkt, Willie Colon, and the Sugar Hill Jazz Quartet and has traveled throughout Europe, Japan and the United States. His compositions and arrangements are featured on the brilliant trilogy of albums recorded by Bauza’s legendary Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra, one of which (“944 Columbus”) was nominated for a Grammy award. As an arranger, his gifts have been enjoyed by the thousands of listeners who’ve heard the Afro-Latin Orchestra at Jazz at Lincoln Center.

Marcus received his musical education in the clubs of New York City and Chicago. He attended the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago, Illinois, receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree. In his role as leader, Marcus has just released a new CD, “Uptown Suite” through Truth Revolution Recording Collective.  It features original compositions that capture Harlem in its many musical tones and colors, from the blues, “Stoney Island,” paying homage to his Chicago roots, to the Latin-jazz-waltz “Mineret.”

Mario Bauzá

Mario Bauzá

Biography

More than likely, Mario Bauzá was the one musician responsible for mixing jazz with Afro-Cuban music. Stan Kenton, another legendary big band leader, called Mario Bauzá “the greatest exponent of Afro-Cuban Jazz”. Mario Bauzá was a multi-instrumentalist that got his start on woodwinds with the Havana Philharmonic from Cuba. Mario moved to New York in 1930’s and found work with Chick Web as musical director, Cab Calloway, and with his brother-in-law Frank “Machito” Grillo. He also worked with many other jazz artists such as Ella Fitzgerald and Don Redman. It was with the Cab Calloway orchestra where Mario befriended Dizzy Gillespie and introduced Dizzy to percussionist, Luciano “Chano” Pozo Gonzalez, whom together collaborated on one of the first Afro-Cuban hits “Manteca” and “Tin Tin Deo”. It was however Mario Bauzá who during his time with Machito (1941-1976) encouraged Machito to use jazz soloists such as Charlie Parker and Flip Phillips in the solos of his recordings thus planting the seed for the emergence of Afro-Cuban jazz or Latin jazz.

Mark Levine

Mark Levine

Mark Levine

Biography

Mark began playing jazz as a teenager in Daytona Beach, Florida. Continuing his education in Boston and New York, Mark studied with Hall Overton, Herb Pomeroy and Jaki Byard, before moving to California in 1966. A key phase in Mark’s education was a year spent in Woody Shaw’s quartet. “Every night was serious school,” says Mark. Mark spent significant time working with Joe Henderson, Blue Mitchell, David Liebman and Harold Land, composing all the while. Joe recorded two of Mark’s tunes on “Canyon Lady,” the late tenor giant’s only Latin jazz album. Mark returned the favor by playing two of Joe’s classic compositions, “Inner Urge,” and “A Shade Of Jade,” on his 2000 release, “Serengeti.” His interest in Latin jazz led to work with Mongo Santamaria, Willie Bobo, Moacir Santos, Francisco Aguabella, Pete Escovedo, and Cal Tjader (including Cal’s Grammy-winning Concord Jazz recording “La Onda Va Bien”). Mark has continued to pursue the Latin side of his craft, attending Centro Nacional de Escuela de Arte in Havana, Cuba in 1997. Twice, Mark has been the recipient of a National Endowment For The Arts Grants (1975 and 1977) and was awarded a “Jammie” as Best Bay Area Jazz trombonist, 1983-1984 (no, he no longer plays trombone, but he has taken up the gimbri, a Moroccan 3-stringed lute).

Mark Levine has played/recorded with:

Woody Shaw, Mongo Santamaria, Joe Henderson, Willie Bobo, Bobby Hutcherson, Moacir Santos, Freddie Hubbard, Cal Tjader, Wallace Roney, Tito Puente, Milt Jackson, Francisco Aguabella, Harold Land, David Liebman, Blue Mitchell, Pete Escovedo, James Moody, Art Farmer, Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Fortune, Eddie Harris, Stefon Harris, Eddie Henderson, Conrad Herwig, Clark Terry, Ingrid Jensen, Charlie Rouse, Bobby Watson, Chet Baker, Philip Harper, Mark Murphy, Art Pepper, Julian Priester, Bobby Shew, Steve Turre, Madeline Eastman, Enrique Pla and Poncho Sanchez

Mark’s compositions have been recorded by:

Joe Henderson, Blue Mitchell, Cal Tjader, Tito Puente, Pete Escovedo, Mongo Santamaria, Nuyorican Soul, Joanne Brackeen, Moacir Santos, Tom Lellis, Poncho Sanchez, Esencia, Chuck Clark, Jerry Rusch, Linda Goldstein, Bobby Shew, Ellis Island, Que Calor, Leslie Lewis, Mike Morris, Houston Person, Don Menza, Al Cohn, Luka Bloom, Mark Weinstein, Ritmo Caliente, Bob Ferrel, Wolfgang Meyer, Wayne Burgess and Kidd Kareem. As an educator, Mark authored “The Jazz Piano Book,” which has become the bible for jazz pianists all over the world. Available in English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Japanese and Korean. In 1996, he completed “The Jazz Theory Book,” with similar success. Jazz Times named “The Jazz Theory Book” as the #1 choice in its “recommended basic jazz library.”

Mark’s faculty affiliations include:

 

  • San Francisco Conservatory of Music, 1992-2009
  • Monterey Jazz Festival Foundation Traveling Clinicians, Monterey, CA 2002-2007
  • University of California at Berkeley, 2000-present
  • Jamey Aebersold Jazz Camps, 1977-2002
  • Stanford Jazz Workshop, Stanford, CA, 1982-2003
  • Jazz Camp West, La Honda, CA, 1982-2002
  • Jazz Studio Summer Camp, Dworp, Belgium, 1993-2004
  • The Jazzschool, Berkeley, CA, 1997-2010
  • Jazz Flute Camp, Carmel Valley, CA, 2003-present
  • Mills College, Oakland, CA, 1986-present

Guest Clinician and residencies at schools in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Colombia, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Germany, Holland, Ireland, Italy, Iceland, Mexico, Sweden, New Zealand, Switzerland, and Wales. In the early ’90s, Mark produced The Jazz Masters Clinic Series, a combination workshop and master class taught by touring artists passing through the Bay Area. Featured artists included Cedar Walton, Mulgrew Miller, Kenny Barron, Elvin Jones, Eddie Palmieri, and Tommy Flanagan. Additionally, Mark is the pianist on more than a dozen of Jamey Aebersold’s play-along series.

Marty Sheller

Marty Sheller

Biography

Marty Sheller was born in Newark, NJ, on March 15, 1940. His first instrument was snare drum, which he took up in school at age ten. Shortly thereafter he switched to trumpet, and made his professional debut in 1958, playing a summer gig at the Woodbine Hotel in the Catskill Mountains. That fall, he joined a combo led by tenor saxophonist Hugo Dickens, a bandleader who performed jazz, R&B, and Latin musics for black social club dances in Harlem. Sheller next hooked up with timbales and vibraphonist player Louie Ramirez, and they collectively formed a group whose intent was to interpret jazz songs with a Latin rhythm section. That group included conguero Frank Malabé, who Sheller cites as an important early influence. Conga master Sabu Martinez, however, did hire the whole group, minus Malabé, to play on Sabu’s Jazz Espagnole, originally issued on the Alegre label. Sheller was also working with another timbalero/vibraharpist, Pete Terrace, when he first met Mongo Santamaria at a club in the Bronx in 1961. Cuban conga great Santamaria had recently come from San Francisco to New York with a charanga band. Not too much later on, Sheller got a call from Santamaria; the percussionist had dropped the flute-and-violins lineup of the charanga band in favor of a Latin jazz sound with a front line of trumpet, alto saxophone, and tenor saxophone. At Sheller’s first rehearsal with Santamaria, Herbie Hancock brought in an arrangement of a tune he’d recently recorded for Blue Note — “Watermelon Man” — changing the original phrasing. Pete Long, Santamaria’s manager, phoned Orrin Keepnews at Riverside Records with the news and persuaded the producer to promptly record the song for release as a single. Issued on Riverside’s Battle subsidiary, “Watermelon Man” became a Top Ten pop hit featuring Sheller’s famous trumpet solo, inspired by Melvin Lastie’s funkier solo from the Barbara George AM radio R&B pop hit “I Know.” Sheller played with Santamaria, as well as composed, arranged, and served as his musical director, through 1968. It was then that he was forced to abstain from playing the trumpet due to embouchure problems. He continued, however, working with Santamaria until the conguero’s death in 2003. Among Sheller’s productions was the Santamaria album Amanecer, which won a Grammy for Best Latin Recording of 1977. Since laying down his horn, Sheller has been much in demand as an arranger and composer. His charts laid the foundation and were signatures to the success of the salsa music issued by Fania Records from the late ’60s through the late ’80s. Besides scoring the 1989 hit “El Gran Varon” and many other recordings by Willie Colón, Sheller’s arrangements can be heard on recordings by Joe Bataan, Rubén Blades, Larry Harlow, Ismael Miranda, Hector Lavoe, and Giovanni Hidalgo, as well as jazz stars Shirley Scott, George Benson, Jon Faddis, Idris Muhammad, Steve Turre, T.S. Monk, and Latin jazz maven David Byrne. On the recommendation of Bobby Porcelli, Sheller began writing for Tito Puente in 1993, and was with Puente up to the time of his passing. Sheller’s music is identified by depth and substance, the layering of horns, and a thorough understanding of the many rhythms of Afro-Cuban, Puerto Rican, and Caribbean musics that have infiltrated jazz since the ’40s beboppers adopted those forms. He easily remains one of the top three arrangers in this unique genre of American music.

Michael Francis

Michael Francis

Biography

Michael Francis grew up in the Mexican border town of El Paso, Texas where he began playing Ragtime and traditional jazz piano at 17 in a local melodrama theater. Soon after discovering Earl Hines, Teddy Wilson, Thelonious Monk, Horace Silver, Art Tatum, Oscar Peterson, Bill Evans and others, he formed the Mike Francis Quartet. Besides playing jazz standards, this group needed to be versatile in Cumbias, Merengues, Cha Chas etc. to perform at weddings. While studying music at the University of Texas at El Paso, a Latin pianist friend turned him on to Eddie Palmieri. After listening to Eddie’s records and attending concerts by Palmieri, Tito Puente and others, Michael discovered his passion about Latin Jazz and Salsa. “I spent years mystified about why I felt such a strong connection to Latin piano classics, to the “Spanish tinge” of Jelly Roll Morton’s haunting tangos, and the fiery Afro-Cuban rhythms, brassy horn figures and call and response vocal patterns of the Salsa genre. In my quest for the answer, I even speculated that there could be a secret Latin connection in the family tree but this simply was not the case. At long last, the light bulb went on! My late mother, a brilliant concert-level pianist, had performed great Latin classics in my presence, beginning months before I took my first breath and continuing for years thereafter. The mystery was solved. These impressive works had become a permanent part of me, thanks to my mom’s precious gift.“

In the 1980s he opened Señor Blues, El Paso’s best-known jazz club, where he booked and often performed with major jazz artusts. He also produced major concerts by Count Basie, Ray Charles, Dave Brubeck, Chick Corea, Pat Metheny and many others. During this period he formed Spice of Life, a 9 piece unit that continues to perform an entirely Latin repertoire of classic Latin Jazz and Salsa. Writing for this band, he befriended fabulous Latin Jazz arranger Marty Sheller and they
have worked together over the years, adding Marty’s great arrangements to the group’s book. Michael’s composition, Purgatory is a fine example of one of these collaborations.

Michael has been performing and promoting jazz for 50 years. He has been Artistic Director of the Roswell, NM Jazz Festival since it began in 2005. He has journeyed to both San Juan and Havana to pursue his studies of Latin music. As CEO of Blue Heron Records, Michael is currently planning a cultural exchange project with jazz musicians from the United States and Havana.

Michael Philip Mossman

Michael Philip Mossman

Biography

Philadelphia born trumpeter, trombonist and composer Michael Philip Mossman has been active on the international scene since the age of 17. Mr. Mossman has performed and recorded with his own groups and with bands led by a virtual who’s who of the music industry. Michael’s new group, Metaphysical Mambos has completed its newest album, the Orisha Suite for the Connector label. The album features Ray Barretto, Paquito D’Rivera, Patato Valdez and many others. Earlier releases by Michael Mossman were Mama Soho, on the TCB label and Springdance, released on the Claves Jazz label. Both feature Michael’s much sought after work as composer/arranger in Afro-Cuban and Brazilian jazz. Michael currently publishes music with the Hal Leonard Corp. Three-two Music, Really Good Music, and his own Ryamos Music Co. A National Merit Scholar, Michael graduated cum laude from Oberlin College and Oberlin Conservatory with degrees in Sociology/Anthropology as well as Orchestral Trumpet and Jazz composition. He studied with Vincent Cichowicz of the Chicago Symphony before moving to New York. Michael completed his Master’s degree at Rutgers University and studied film scoring with Don Sebesky. Michael is also a graduate of Anthony Robbin’s Mastery University. Following stints as lead trumpet with the Machito Orchestra, Toshiko Akiyoshi, and with the Lionel Hampton Orchestra, Michael became the musical director of Blue Note Record’s “young lion” group, Out of the Blue (OTB). He recorded four albums for Blue Note with this group before disbanding to join the Horace Silver Quintet. In addition to Horace’s group, Michael has toured and recorded with Dizzy Gillespie, Art Blakey, Joe Henderson, McKoy Tyner, Gerry Mulligan, Joe Zawinul, Slide Hampton, Toshiko Akiyoshi, George Gruntz, Bob Mintzer, Steve Turre, Anthony Braxton, Roscoe Mitchell, Tom Pierson, The Carnegie Hall Jazz Orchestra, the Charles Mingus Orchestra, Benny Carter, the Gil Evans Orchestra, and the Count Basie Orchestra. Michael has also been a key performer in Latin Jazz since his days with Machito. Michael has performed and recorded with Tito Puente, Eddie Palmieri, Chico O’Farrill, Ray Barretto, Daniel Ponce, Israel “Cachao” Lopez, Paquito D’Rivera, Bebo Valdez and Michel Camilo (including a screen appearance in the motion picture “Two Much”). Michael is featured in the highly acclaimed documentary on contemporary Latin Jazz “Calle 54” as both performer and commentator. Michael served as staff arranger and trumpet soloist for the legendary innovator of salsa, Mario Bauza and his Afro Cuban Jazz Orchestra. Michael has composed and arranged scores for Joe Henderson’s Grammy winning Big Band album, the Carnegie Hall Jazz Orchestra, the Count Basie Orchestra, The Charles Mingus Orchestra,Tito Puente, Mario Bauza, Slide Hampton and the Jazz Masters Orchestra, Paquito D’Rivera and the United Nation Orchestra, the UMO Orchestra of Finland, the NDR Big Band of Hamburg, Germany, the Heineken Jazz Festival Orchestra in Puerto Rico, Giovanni Hidalgo, and Ray Barretto’s New World Spirit. Michael has also arranged music for the film Bossa Nova. Michael has performed classical and contemporary classical pieces with the Chicago Chamber Orchestra, the Naumburg Orchestra, the Jupiter Symphony Orchestra, the New Jersey Composer’s Guild, the Garden State Chamber Orchestra, the New Jersey Symphony, the National Symphony of the Dominican Republic, and the contemporary classical ensemble “Secret Cosmos.” Michael has recorded the Daniel Schnyder Trumpet Sonata on the Koch Schwann label and has recorded two solo classical albums for MM1. Michael has been active in music education throughout his career. Michael has held positions on the faculties of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Rutgers University, The New School for Social Research, Bloomfield College, Manhattanville College, and the New Jersey Summer Arts Institute.

Oscar Hernandez

Oscar Hernandez

Biography / Composer Website

Oscar Hernández has long been considered one of the most gifted and prominent pianist/ arrangers on the contemporary latin,latin-jazz and salsa music scene. Since its inception in the early 1980’s, Oscar has been responsible for charting the musical course of the Rubén Blades Band. Increasingly in demand as a pianist, arranger and producer ,the Bronx native has produced such artists as Ruben Blades/Willie Colón “Carabali”, Daniel Ponce, Rafael Dejesus, Eddie Torres, Phil Hernandez, Steve Kroon,etc. and has made a more personal statement with the debut CD’s “Decision” and “Alternate Roots” by his band Seis Del Solar the Rubén Blades Band sans Rubén, and now with his Grammy Award nominated band ”The Spanish Harlem Orchestra”. In addition to being Rubén Blades pianist, arranger and musical director, Oscar Hernández has enjoyed a prolific musical career recording and performing with such world renown artists as Latin music king Tito Puente, Queen of Salsa Music Celia Cruz, Latin Pop Star Julio Iglesias, Juan Luis Guerra, Ray Barreto, Earl Klugh, Dave Valentin, Johnny Pacheco, Ismael Miranda, Pete”Conde” Rodríquez, Oscar De’leon, Luis “Perico” Ortiz, “Libre’ “Grupo Folkorico Experimental”, Willie Colón, Kirsty MacColl, etc….. More recently, Oscar’s musical exploits include working as Musical Director/Conductor, arranging and producing the music for “The Capeman,” pop-rock icon Paul Simon’s Broadway musical. In addition, Oscar is also the music producer of “The Capeman” cast recording. Oscar was Musical Director/Arranger for the hit shows “Quien Mato A Hector Lavoe” and “La Lupe” at the 47th Street Theatre. He was also,Music Supervisor/Arranger for the show “Four Guys named Jose & Una Mujer named Maria” . He is currently working on the Broadway bound version of “Mambo Kings” Oscar’s work as a studio session player can also be heard on numerous commercial jingles, some of which he has written and arranged. Among those are The hit show “Sex and the City”,Dunkin Donuts, Waldbaums, General Motors, Cover Girl,1800 OK Cable, etc. In addition to having firmly established his reputation as an excellent musician and producer/arranger, Oscar has composed music for film having scored the music for the film documentaries, “If The Mango Tree Could Speak” by Pat Goudvis &”Angela Tiene Un Bebé” by Paula Heredia,and Cuban Roots/Bronx Stories by Pam Sporn. Currently, Oscar Hernandez is the leader of the world renown “Spanish Harlem Orchestra”. With their three CD’s to date, Oscar and SHO as they are commonly known, were nominated for a Grammy on their first CD “Un Gran Dia En El Barrio”, won the Grammy for their second CD release,”Across 110th Street” and nominated for their third CD “United We Swing”. Oscar was the music producer as well as pianist/arranger on all CD’s. Since the band’s inception in the year 2001, SHO have garnered numerous awards and world acclaim as one of the finest exponents of Salsa and Latin/Jazz music. Spanish Harlem Orchestra is generally considered one of the best Salsa orchestra today and one of the finest music ensembles in the world. In addition to leading New York’s Spanish Harlem Orchestra, Oscar also leads an All Star Salsa Orchestra in Los Angeles and performs with his Latin Jazz Quintet. As a musical director/arranger, he is in demand by many of today’s top Latino artists.

Papo Vazquez

Papo Vazquez

Biography

Trombonist, composer, and arranger Papo Vázquez is 40 year anniversary into a career spanning jazz, Latin, Afro-Caribbean and classical music and recordings.
Vázquez was born in 1958 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. After spending his early years in Puerto Rico, he grew up in the heart of North Philadelphia’s Puerto Rican community. He bought his first trombone from a friend for $5 and joined the elementary school band.
At the age of 14, an uncle recommended him to a local salsa band, where he met trumpet player Jimmy Purvis. Purvis inspired Papo’s lifelong passion for jazz by giving him two records: J.J. Johnson’s Blue Trombone and John Coltrane Live at the Village Vanguard. By 15, Vázquez was performing with local Latin bands in Philadelphia and accompanying visiting artists such as Eddie Palmieri. At only 17, he moved to New York and was hired to play for trumpet player Chocolate Armentero’s. Soon after began playing and recording with top artists in the salsa scene like The Fania All-Stars, Ray Barretto, Willie Colón, Grupo Folklorico Nuyorquino, Eddie Palmieri, Larry Harlow, and Hector La Voe. Vázquez also became a key player in New York’s burgeoning Latin jazz scene of the late 1970’s, performing with Jerry Gonzalez, Hilton Ruiz, Mario Rivera, Milton Cardona and more. He began studying with Slide Hampton, eventually recording and performing for Slide Hampton’s World of Trombones.

Vázquez went on to perform with jazz luminaries Tito Puente, Dizzy Gillespie, Frank Foster, Hilton Ruiz and tour Europe with the Ray Charles Orchestra. By the age of 22, Vázquez had traveled the globe.

He was a founding member of Jerry Gonzalez’ Fort Apache and Conjunto Libre as well as of Puerto Rico’s popular Latin fusion band Batacumbele, performing and recording several albums with the group from 1981 to 1985. Upon his return to New York, he joined Tito Puente’s Latin Jazz Ensemble, traveling with them as principal trombonist, and toured Europe with Dizzy Gillespie’s United Nations Orchestra.

Vázquez has always been deeply moved by jazz, and specifically cites the music of John Coltrane and J.J. Johnson as having most influenced him. In addition, his appreciation for and knowledge of the indigenous music of the Caribbean peoples provides him with a unique ability to fuse Afro-Caribbean rhythms, specifically those from Puerto Rico, with freer melodic and harmonic elements of progressive jazz.

During his time back in Puerto Rico with Batacumbele in the 1980s, he began to experiment with “bomba jazz,” a mixture of jazz and traditional Puerto Rican bomba. In 1993 he recorded his first album as a leader, Breakout. He continued collaborating with a variety of Latin Jazz artists, contributing Overtime Mambo to Hilton Ruiz’s Manhattan Mambo and Contra Viento y Mareo Descarga Boricua, Vol. 1. In 1999, he released a live recording featuring a number of important New York Latin and jazz artists, including bassist Andy Gonzalez, saxophonists Willie Williams and Michael Brecker, and drummer Horacio El Negro Hernandez. The release of Pirates & Troubadours – At the Point, Vol. 1 was followed next year with At The Point, Vol. 2. This project evolved into the Pirates Troubadours, an “Afro- Puerto Rican jazz band” including musicians such as Roberto Cepeda from the famous Familia Cepeda from Puerto Rico, Milton Cardona and Anthony Carrillo on percussion, John Benitez on bass and Dafnis Prieto on drums, The group performed at festivals around the world and released Carnival in San Juan in 2003, followed by From The Badlands in 2007.

Interest in Vázquez as a composer grew. He was the first artist to receive a composer’s commission (Iron Jungle) for the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra, then a resident orchestra at Jazz at Lincoln Center. His first classical composition, Palomita – Afro-Caribbean Suite, which to this date has not been credited with being the first time Bomba and Plena were performed with a Chamber Orchestra, was commissioned by the Bronx Arts Ensemble and premiered at the Hostos Center for the Arts and Culture in the Bronx in 2004. In 2007, on a commission from the Bronx River Arts Center, he wrote Sube el Rio (River Rising) for his Mighty Pirate Orchestra for their 20th Anniversary “Bronx River Sounds” concert.

The same year, through a grant from The Painted Bride Art Center in Philadelphia, Vázquez was asked to expand Pirates Troubadours, and was commissioned to compose new music for a 19-piece, Afro-Puerto Rican Jazz Orchestra. The 2008 event was recorded live, resulting in Papo Vázquez Mighty Pirates Marooned/Aíslado, which received a Grammy nomination for Best Latin Jazz Album. The Mighty Pirates Orchestra continues to allow Vázquez the opportunity to blend multi-faceted compositions and trombone style with rhythms of Afro-Caribbean origins and jazz. Sometimes joined by folk dancers that enhance the music, the orchestra has garnered rave reviews. They are known for Papo’s variations on traditional themes, and terms like Yuba’ Jazz, Holande Pirata, Jibaro Waltz, Plena Funk and Mapeye Jazz are used to help describe his music.
In 2009, Vázquez premiered a composition “Oasis” with the Bronx Arts Ensemble at its Memorial Day Concert. It was his seventh year writing for this concert, held annually in Van Cortland Park in the Bronx. This work grew into the expanded Oasis Project, which had its 2010 premiere at the Pregones Theater in the Bronx with the Pirates Troubadours performing with the Bronx Arts Ensemble and Multicultural Music Group. Vázquez has also shared his compositions with Ruben Blades (Tengan Fe/Antecedente), Hilton Ruiz (Manhattan Mambo) and Dave Valentin (Tropic Heat), among others.

His song “Baila Plena” from At The Point, Vol I. is featured on the soundtrack for Free Enterprise. Other movie credits include playing on the soundtracks for The Mambo Kings and Spike Lee’s Mo’ Better Blues.

Paquito D'Rivera

Paquito D’Rivera

Biography

Born on the island of Cuba, Paquito D’Rivera began his career as a child prodigy. A restless musical genius during his teen years, Mr. D’Rivera created various original and ground-breaking musical ensembles. As a founding member of the Orquesta Cubana de Musica Moderna, he directed that group for two years, while at the same time playing both the clarinet and saxophone with the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra. He eventually went on to premiere several works by notable Cuban composers with the same orchestra. Additionally, he was a founding member and co-director of the innovative musical ensemble Irakere. With its explosive mixture of jazz, rock, classical and traditional Cuban music never before heard, Irakere toured extensively throughout America and Europe, won several Grammy nominations (1979, 1980) and a Grammy (1979).  

Awards and Grammys

Paquito D’Rivera’s first recognition as a solo artist by The Recording Academy (GRAMMYs) came in 1996 with the highly acclaimed recording Portraits of Cuba. Since then, Mr. D’Rivera has received many recognitions as an artist and composer, including two nominations for his most recent release, Jazz-ClaZZ (featuring Sabine Meyer and Trio Clarone). Funk Tango, the first release of D’Rivera’s new label, Paquito Records, recently won his 9th GRAMMY for “Best Latin Jazz Album” in 2007. An 8th GRAMMY came in 2005 for Riberas, for “Best Classical Recording” with the Buenos Aires String Quartet. He also won a GRAMMY for “Best Instrumental Composition” in 2004 for his “Merengue” as performed by the distinguished cellist Yo-Yo Ma. In 2000, D’Rivera’s Tropicana Nights received a GRAMMY. That same year, he received a nomination in the classical category for his Music of Two Worlds, featuring compositions by Schubert, Brahms, Guastavino, Villa Lobos, and Mr. D’Rivera himself. In 2001 the Latin Recording Academy awarded a GRAMMY for his Quintet’s recording of Live at the Blue Note along with a nomination in the Classical Crossover category for The Clarinetist Vol. I. In 2002, he won again as a guest artist on the Bebo Valdes Trio’s recording El Arte Del Sabor. The National Hispanic Academy of Media Arts and Sciences paid tribute to Mr. D’Rivera with their Annual Achievement In Music Award for his “outstanding body of work” along with Dizzy Gillespie and Gato Barbieri. Paquito D’Rivera is the first artist to win Latin GRAMMY’s in both Classical and Latin Jazz categories (2003), for Stravinsky’s Historia del Soldado (L’Histoire du Soldat) and Brazilian Dreams with the New York Voices. The other historic recipient who has won duo GRAMMY’s in both Classical and Jazz categories is Wynton Marsalis. Additionally, he has been awarded two Doctorate Honoris Causa in Music degrees; May, 2003 from the Berklee School of Music and May, 2008 from the University of Pennsylvania, with a third to be awarded by the City University of New York, Graduate Center, Summer 2010. D’Rivera is a recipient of the National Medal for the Arts, presented at the White House by President George W. Bush in 2005, and was named one of the 2005 NEA (National Endowment for the Arts) Jazz Masters. In both 2004 and 2006, the Jazz Journalists Association honored Mr. D’Rivera as the Clarinetist of the Year, and in March 2007 he was honored with the Living Jazz Legend Award in a ceremony at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. 2008 awards include the International Association for Jazz Education (IAJE) President’s Award, and the Frankfurter Musikpreis. In 2009, received the Medal of Honor from the National Arts Club, and Downbeat Magazine’s Clarinetist of the Year (Reader’s Poll- third year in a row!). In 2010, is named a Nelson A Rockefeller Honoree and given the African-American Classical Music Award from Spelman College. Classical Music and Ensembles While Paquito D’Rivera’s discography includes over 30 solo albums in Jazz, Bebop and Latin music, his contributions to classical music are impressive. They include solo performances with the London Philharmonic, the London Symphony, the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra, the Baltimore Symphony, the Florida Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Brooklyn Philharmonic. He has also performed with the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra, the Costa Rica National Symphony, the Simón Bolivar Symphony Orchestra, the Bronx Arts Ensemble, and the St. Luke’s Chamber Orchestra, among others. A 2008 tour of Japan includes Mr. D’Rivera conducting and performing Mozart concerti; the Concerto in A Major for Clarinet and Orchestra, and the Concerto in E flat Major for Piano and Orchestra. Additionally, D’Rivera tours worldwide with his ensembles: the Chamber Jazz Ensemble, the Paquito D’Rivera Big Band, and the Paquito D’Rivera Quintet. In 2005, he began touring with guitar duo Sergio and Odair Assad, in “Dances from the New World.” In his passion to bring Latin repertoire to greater prominence, Mr. D’Rivera has successfully created, championed and promoted all types of classical compositions, including his three chamber compositions recorded live in concert with Yo-Yo Ma at Carnegie Hall, September, 2003. In 2009, Mr. D’Rivera was honored by the National Flute Association’s annual convention in New York City, with a special concert dedicated to the composer’s works.  

Composer

In addition to his extraordinary performing career as an instrumentalist, Paquito D’Rivera has rapidly gained a reputation as a dynamic composer. The prestigious music house, Boosey and Hawkes, is the exclusive publisher of Mr. D’Rivera’s compositions. Recognition of his significant compositional skills came in 2007 with the award of a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in Music Composition, and the 2007-2008 appointment as Composer-In-Residence at the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s. His works often reveal his widespread and eclectic musical interests, ranging from Afro-Cuban rhythms and melodies, including influences encountered in his many travels, and back to his classical origins. Mr. D’Rivera’s most recent composition, a clarinet sonata titled “The Cape Cod Files”, was commissioned by the Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival in 2009, and given it’s world premier performance by Co-Artistic Directors Jon Manasse (clarinet) and Jon Nakamatsu (piano). A commercial recording has been made by Mr. Manasse and Mr. Nakamatsu, and is slated for an upcoming release on Harmonia Mundi. The sheet music is available through Boosey & Hawkes, Inc. “Conversations with Cachao,” a new concerto for double bass and clarinet/saxophone pays tribute to Cuba’s legendary bass player and received its premiere in June, 2007 at Caramoor. Inspiration for another recent composition “Three Poems from the New World” came from the writing of Fortunato Villarrondo, José Martí, and Dana Gioia. The three poems explore themes of societal struggles regarding racial intolerance, hate, injustice, and the appreciation of friendship, love, and life. The work was commissioned and premiered by the Chicago Chamber musicians at the Grant Park Music Festival in June, Another recent commission came about through ensemble Opus 21’s interest in building bridges between audiences of different backgrounds. Dedicated to the works and art music of the 21st century, Opus 21 commissioned “The Chaser” and premiered it in May, 2006. In 2005, Imani Winds, a woodwind quintet committed to the exploration of diverse world music traditions and the broadening of the traditional wind quintet literature, commissioned “Kites.” This work personifies freedom and the vision that liberty and independence have a foundation through culture and music. Just as a kite may fly freely, its path continues to be bound to the earth–its foundation, by the string. In 2002, the National Symphony Orchestra and the Rotterdam Philharmonic, commissioned Paquito D’Rivera to write a wind concerto entitled “Gran Danzón” (The Bel Air Concerto) for acclaimed flutist Marina Piccinini. The premiere was conducted by Leonard Slatkin at the Kennedy Center. The Baltimore Symphony and Ms. Piccinini recently presented the concerto at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center in April, 2006. “…Best that night was Paquito D’Rivera’s, ‘Gran Danzón’ (The Bel Air Concerto) in its world premiere. A spiky and imaginatively colored piece of Latin American orchestral writing…” (Joe Banno, Washington Post, February 11, 2002) “…’Gran Danzón’ …this dazzling work…reveals D’Rivera’s sophistication as a composer…” (L. Peat O’Neal, Washington Post, June 3, 2002) Other premieres include commissioned works for the Turtle Island String Quartet, The Ying String Quartet, and the International Double Reed Society’s 30th Anniversary in Banff, Canada. A 2002 Library of Congress commission resulted in “Fiddle Dreams” a jazz fantasy for violin and piano written for Regina Carter. Jazz at Lincoln Center commissioned D’Rivera’s “Panamericana Suite” for their “As of Now” series in 2000. It was premiered and recorded by National Public Radio. “…The centerpiece of the concert was La Jicotea a newly commissioned work composed by D’Rivera for the Turtle Island String Quartet. Well-crafted … the piece simmered with bits and pieces of Latin rhythms as the brief, but attractive, principal theme arched through flowing contrapuntal passages. As a showcase work, it will serve the TISQ well in future appearances. The most appealing segments of the program however were those in which D’Rivera performed with the quartet…the combination of clarinet and string quartet usually referred to as a Clarinet Quintet…” (Don Heckman, Los Angeles Times, 2002) In 1999, the Kammer Orchester Schloss Werneck presented a series entitled Paquito & Mozart, featuring his chamber compositions, along with those of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. It culminated in Paquito’s “Adagio,” which features elements of Mozart’s “Clarinet Concerto in A Major.” “…The orchestra as well as the soloist executed the work with perfect intonation and precise interpretation. At no time came the impression that two different musical worlds were colliding. The concert was an offering of excellence by virtue of the soloist and the orchestra, led by Ulf Klautsenitzer. With a focused tone and intonation, he effortlessly graced through the various registers unwavering…” (Peter Linhart, Main Echo Aschaffenburg Kultur, Montag, June 1999) His commission for the New Jersey Chamber Music Society, “Rivers, A Poetic Suite…”, premiered in 1998 for the organization’s 25th Anniversary Opening Concert. In 1994, the Aspen Wind Quintet commissioned and premiered his suite “Aires Tropicales” at New York’s Frick Collection. Often recorded, “Aires” is now the mainstay of many important wind ensembles including the New York Woodwind Quintet. Additionally, Mr. D’Rivera has written and arranged many chamber works which have become the standard repertoire of international ensembles including the Caracas Clarinet Quartet, Cuarteto Latinoamericano, and Quinteto D’Elas. In 1989, the Montreal-based Gerald Danovich Saxophone Quartet, commissioned and then recorded his acclaimed “New York Suite.” More Reviews “…Cuban reed player Paquito D’ Rivera has a foot in the classical world and a foot in the jazz world—and each foot is atop its respective world. With the Milwaukee Symphony Pops, he brought the two together in a thrilling and astonishing survey of music by George Gershwin. He did not so much bend Gershwin to his will as reconsider him in various lights…[with] D’Rivera, switching between clarinet and alto saxophone… The whole substantial set from Porgy and Bess was a fantastical journey among idioms. The pinnacle of it was the famous love duet, “Bess, You Is My Woman Now”…D’Rivera spinning circles around Porgy’s part. Note that as spectacularly virtuoso as D’Rivera was here, his part fit the whole beautifully. He’s no show –off; he balanced his part with the singer and the orchestra to make a beautiful whole. He has a concept that is bigger than his own voice, he hears the big picture…” (Tom Strini, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Music Critic, April 21, 2002) “…The Second half became a Paquito D’Rivera show. Mr. D’Rivera, a gifted saxophonist and clarinetist has become the man to call if you want a concert-hall presentation of Pan-Latin music. All in rich Carnegie Hall-style arrangements . . . Mr. D’Rivera is a formidable musician, and in his clarinet playing, with lovely, clear low registers and never a squeaked high note. He was at his best…” (Ben Ratliff, New York Times, Saturday November 3, 2001)  

Artist in Residence and Director

Mr. D’Rivera is Artist in Residence at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), and serves as a member of the board of directors of many influential artistic organizations in the United States, impacting both classical and jazz musical idioms. He has served as artistic director of jazz programming at the New Jersey Chamber Music Society and continues as Artistic Director of the famous world-class Festival Internacional de Jazz de Punta Del Este in Uruguay. Guest musicians there have included such luminaries as McCoy Tyner, James Moody, Phil Woods and many more. Additionally, he is Artistic Director of the Duke Ellington Jazz Festival in Washington, DC, a festival celebrating Washington DC’s rich Jazz history and native son Duke Ellington.  

Other Talents

A gifted author, Mr. D’Rivera’s book, My Sax Life, was published in Spain by the prestigious literary house, Seix Barral, and contains a prologue by Guillermo Cabrera Infante. Acclaimed by the public and critics alike, the English edition was released by Northwestern University Press in November 2005. Mr. D’Rivera’s reading of his book is available in Spanish by Recorded Books, LLC on both the Internet and in libraries. His novel Oh, La Habana is published in Spain by MTeditores, Barcelona and is also available in Spanish by Recorded Books, LLC. In 1999, and in celebration of its 500 year history, the Universidad de Alcalá de Henares presented Paquito with a special award recognizing his contribution to the arts, his humane qualities, and his defense of rights and liberties of artists around the world. The National Endowment for the Arts website affirms “he has become the consummate multinational ambassador, creating and promoting a cross-culture of music that moves effortlessly among jazz, Latin, and Mozart.”  

Concert review:

Familiarity Breeds Virtuosity By Don Heckman-Special to The Times-Jan 27 2005 Clarinetist Paquito D’Rivera and the Assad brothers – guitarists Sérgio and Odair – first got together in 2003 as participants in Yo-Yo Ma’s “Obrigado Brazil” project. The partnership was a logical one, in that all the participants – Ma, D’Rivera and the Assads – are eclectic artists, comfortable with music that ranges across genre boundaries. So it’s not surprising that D’Rivera and the Assads decided to take their creative relationship further, broadening the perspective to emphasize their common roots in the music of the Western Hemisphere. Their “Dances From the New World” concert program was the result, a collection of works reaching from Argentina and Brazil to Cuba and the United States. On Tuesday at UCLA’s Royce Hall, the trio played in a relaxed, even casual manner. D’Rivera is always an ebullient performer, and his easygoing manner – joking with the Assads and the audience, rolling his eyes after playing a particularly difficult passage – helped create a pleasing, in-your-living-room listening experience. The music was a fascinating mix of sounds and styles: tango-based pieces by Astor Piazzolla, offbeat contemporary Brazilian works by Egberto Gismonti and Hermeto Pascoal, classics from Cuba’s Ernesto Lecuona, Brazil’s Heitor Villa-Lobos and Argentina’s Alberto Ginastera, pivotal Brazilian works by Ary Barroso and Pixinguinha. The broad range of compositions, embracing myriad styles and rhythms – tangos, sambas, choros, Habaneras, boleros – was handled with great ease and subtlety. The Assads’ playing is so seamlessly integrated that their ensemble passages flowed with the living, vibrant voice of a single instrument. Their brief solo segments, as well as a duet rendering of Gismonti’s “Baiao Malandro,” were equally impressive examples of the sort of playing in which the music completely transcends the mechanics of music-making. D’Rivera added character and individuality to everything he played. Classically trained, he brilliantly executed rapid-fire, finger-busting passages in pieces such as Pixinguinha’s “Um a Zero,” without losing the jazz-tinged individuality of his sound and phrasing. In a few numbers, space was opened up for him to explore his extraordinary improvisational skills. One of the evening’s highlights was D’Rivera’s improvisation on themes by Dizzy Gillespie (including an effort to have the audience join in the vocal exclamations of “Salt Peanuts”). Call it one of the most engaging musical resentations of the season. Better yet, call it a stunning display of the music of the Western Hemisphere, performed by three of that region’s (and the world’s) finest artists. Copyright 2005 Los Angeles Times Biography 04/2010

Paul De Castro

Paul De Castro

Biography

Pianist, composer, arranger. Paul De Castro was born in Lima Peru. Started piano lessons at age 5 and continued studying throughout his life at diverse institutions including the Conservatorio Nacional de Musica (Peru), Pasadena City College, California State University, and University of Texas at Austin from where holds a doctoral degree in music from that institution.

Among his musical experiences are performances with Gary Foster, Bobby Shew, Airto Moreira, and Bobby Carcases. He was the founder and musical director of the Latin jazz group Rhubumba. Currently, he is the leader and musical director of Orquesta Dengue. He has performed and taught in many different countries including China, Cuba, Hungary, Romania, Taiwan, Australia, and Canada. Besides playing the piano, Paul De Castro also plays the Corneta China (Suona) in both Afro-Cuban and Chinese settings. He directs the Afro-Latin Music masters degree program at California State University, Los Angeles and was the Afro-Cuban expert on the IAJE Resource Team from 2004 to 2006.

Poncho Sanchez

Poncho Sanchez

Biography

For more than three decades as both a leader and a sideman, conguero Poncho Sanchez has stirred up a fiery stew of straightahead jazz, gritty soul music, and infectious melodies and rhythms from a variety of Latin American and South American sources. His influences are numerous, but among the more prominent figures that inform his music are two of the primary architects of Latin jazz – conga drummer and composer Chano Pozo and trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie. Sanchez pays tribute to these two titans on his new album, Chano y Dizzy!, his 25th recording as a bandleader on Concord Picante, set for release on September 27, 2011. For the first time, Sanchez and Francisco Torres, long time band member (trombone/vocals), join forces to produce the new album. Joining Sanchez on the 11-song set is multi-GRAMMY winning trumpeter Terence Blanchard. It makes sense that, for this project, Sanchez recruited fellow label mate Blanchard, a New Orleans native who literally grew up amid the Cuban and Latin jazz scene and a longtime fan of the music’s multicultural underpinnings. Blanchard has established himself as one of the most innovative and influential jazz musicians and film score masters of his generation. As a film composer, Blanchard has more than 50 feature film scores to his credit. Currently at work on the score for George Lucas’s long-awaited upcoming movie, “Red Tails,” the Golden Globe nominee and four-time Grammy winner’s music was recently featured on Broadway in Chris Rock’s Tony-nominated play, “The Mother****** With Hat.” Blanchard is currently at work on the music for the Broadway remake of A Streetcar Named Desire and has also been commissioned by the Opera St. Louis for a project that will premiere in 2012. His latest CD, Choices, was released by Concord Jazz in 2009 to widespread critical acclaim. “These two musicians were the pioneers of what is now known as Latin jazz,” says Sanchez. “Chano Pozo was a genius. He’s considered the godfather of conga drummers, and he’s someone whom I respect a great deal. And of course, Dizzy Gillespie was an iconic artist in American jazz. I had the honor and pleasure of working with him on several occasions. These guys were the first musicians to bring elements of Latin music to American jazz – which has resulted in some of the greatest music of the last 50 or 60 years. I felt that it was time to pay tribute to them and their accomplishments.” While the album includes songs originally written and performed by the two legends, it also showcases compositions crafted by other writers that capture the flavor of traditional Latin jazz. Sanchez’s touring band assists with the songwriting and arranging. The studio ranks include: pianist David Torres, saxophonist Rob Hardt, trumpeter Ron Blake, trombonist/vocalist Francisco Torres, bassist Tony Banda, timbalist George Ortiz, and percussionist Joey De Leon, Jr. “The great thing about this band is that they take a very traditional approach to Latin music,’ says Blanchard. “They pay a lot of attention to the detail of the specific rhythms they’re playing, and they understand the historical significance of keeping that heritage alive.” Although born in Laredo, Texas, in 1951 to a large Mexican-American family, Sanchez grew up in a suburb of L.A., where he was raised on an unusual cross section of sounds that included straightahead jazz, Latin jazz and American soul. By his teen years, his musical consciousness had been solidified by the likes of John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Cal Tjader, Mongo Santamaria, Wilson Pickett and James Brown. Along the way, he taught himself to play guitar, flute, drums and timbales, but eventually settled on the congas. At 24, after working his way around the local club scene for several years, he landed a permanent spot in Cal Tjader’s band in 1975. “I learned a great deal from Cal,” says Sanchez, “but it wasn’t as though he sat me down and taught me lessons like a schoolteacher. Mostly it was just a matter of being around such a great guy. It was the way he conducted himself, the way he talked to people, the way he presented himself onstage. He was very elegant, very dignified, and when he played, he played beautifully. The touch that he had on the vibes – nobody has that sound. To me, he was – and is, and always will be – the world’s greatest vibe player.” Sanchez remained with Tjader until the bandleader’s death in 1982. That same year, he signed with Concord for the release of Sonando, an album that marked the beginning of a musical partnership that has spanned more than 25 years and has yielded more than two dozen recordings. Chano y Dizzy! is the latest installment in that ongoing partnership. Sanchez, Blanchard and company set the tone early with an opening medley of lively Pozo tunes: “Tin Tin Deo,” “Manteca” and “Guachi Guaro.” Blanchard delivers down some sultry trumpet lines over Sanchez’s percussion and vocals, while the rest of the band lays down a solid and spicy rhythmic bed throughout. The followup track is a simmering rendition of Dizzy’s “Con Alma,” with numerous tempo changes that give Blanchard room to flex his muscles in varying rhythmic contexts within a single song. Further in, “Siboney” is an old Cuban song by Ernesto Lecuona that’s consistent enough with the overall vibe of the record to make the cut. “Ron Bake called me and said, ‘Poncho, I’ve always liked this tune, but Chano didn’t write it and neither did Dizzy.’ I said, ‘It’s alright. It fits. It’ll be fine.’ I’ve always liked the tune myself, so I was glad that we finally got a chance to record it. I think it complements the artists and the period we’re paying tribute to.” The light-hearted “Groovin’ High” is a Gillespie composition originally conceived as a swing tune, but Sanchez and company rearranged it here to fit more of a mambo vibe. The funky “Harris’s Walk,” another song penned by Blake, was written in the style of Eddie Harris, “but I liked it so much at rehearsal that I said, ‘We gotta put this on the record,'” says Sanchez. “Jack’s Dilemma,” written by Francisco Torres, came together on the fly with a stripped down rhythm section consisting of Sanchez on conga and Joey De Leon on trap drums. “There are no timbales, no bongos,” says Sanchez. “The engineers in the studio sort of slapped together a drum set. Joey tuned them the way he wanted, and man, ten minutes later we were recording. In the end, I think it sounded great.” The album ends just as it starts, with a staccato and highly rhythmic Pozo tune called “Ariñañara.” Recorded by several artists through the years, the song is what Sanchez calls “straight-up hardcore salsa music.” It serves close to a recording that celebrates some of the most innovative music to emerge from the 20th century. “To me, Latin jazz is the world’s greatest music,” says Sanchez. “It has the melodic and harmonic sophistication of jazz and American standards, and the flavor and energy of Latin American music. What I’m most proud of is that this music – while it may sound exotic at times – is from America. It was born in New York City, when Chano Pozo met Dizzy Gillespie for the first time in the mid-1940s. They created something that didn’t exist before in this country. I’m very proud to take this music all over the world all the time.” This biography is property of Concord Music Group, Inc.

Ray Obiedo

Ray Obiedo

Biography

Obiedo’s wide ranging sensibility derives from the broad exposure to music he had growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area. Miles Davis, Henry Mancicni, Antonio Carlos Jobim and the music of Motown were just a few of his early influences. After perfecting the funky James Brown-style of melodic/percussive rhythm guitar, Obiedo stretched out into the jazz world, never straying very far from his pop and r&b roots. During the 80’s, Obiedo emerged as one of Northern California’s prolific jazz,pop,and fusion musicians. His first major tours were with the great jazz organist Johnny “Hammond” Smith and with an ensemble led by ECM recording artist trombonist Julian Priester. He later formed the popular fusion band Kick , with Sheila E. on drums and perennial Sonny Rollins’ accompanist Mark Soskin on keyboards. He led another pop-rock ensemble called Rhythmus 21, which featured some of the area’s finest session vocalists and musicians. Obiedo’s career includes touring and/or recording with Herbie Hancock, George Duke, Brenda Russell, Lou Rawls, Harvey Mason, Rodney Franklin, Holly Near, and Marco Russo. In recent years, Obiedo’s talent as a composer has emerged full blown, attracting the attention of such peers as Sheila E.,The Wispers,percussionist Pete Escovedo,guitarist Bruce Forman,and saxophonist Alex Murzyn,all of whom have recorded his pieces. Obiedo has written source music for the films A Shock To The System, Internal Affairs,and has collaborated with lyricist Teresa Tull for the soundtrack to the film Clair of the Moon.

Ray Santos

Ray Santos

Biography

Mambo legend Ray Santos, the long-time leader of The City College of New York’s Latin Band, is a co-recipient of The Latin Recording Academy’s 2011 Trustees Award. He will be honored November 9 with fellow luminaries Manuel Alejandro and Jesus “Chucho” Ferrer at the Four Seasons Hotel in Las Vegas during the Latin GRAMMY® Awards celebration. The Trustees Award is a special honor whose recipients are selected by ballots cast by the Academy’s trustees. It recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions, other than performance, to the field of recording throughout their career. Known as “El Maestro” of the mambo sound, Mr. Santos has performed, composed and arranged music for dozens of premiere Latin orchestras in a career exceeding 50 years. Dr. Lisa S. Coico, President of The City College, hailed Mr. Santos as an incredibly talented musician who richly deserved the award. “He has taught at City College for more than 25 years and generations of students have been truly fortunate to have an opportunity to study with him. We are thrilled that the music industry is honoring his contributions, and, on behalf of the entire College community, I offer our congratulations on this achievement,” she said. Professor Stephen Jablonsky, chair of the CCNY Music Department, said: “Ray brings the salsa seasoning to our departmental course offerings. He has been leading our Latin Band for years and years and brings a lifetime of Latin experience to bear on our performance majors. I know his students appreciate the youthful vigor he brings to every rehearsal.” Other notable honorees on November 9 will include icons Joe Arroyo, Gal Costa, Jose Feliciano, Alex Lora, Les Luthiers, Ruben Rada and Linda Ronstadt who will receive Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Latin Recording Academy. “This year’s group of accomplished honorees are as diverse as they are influential creators of the most renowned and prominent recordings from across the globe,” said Gabriel Abaroa Jr., president/CEO of The Academy. “We are privileged and honored to recognize and celebrate the contributions of these true icons to the world of Latin music. Their legacies have affected multiple generations and will continue to influence musicians and music fans for years to come.”

About Ray Santos

A New York native and graduate of The Juilliard School, Mr. Santos is one of the leading authorities on Afro-Caribbean music. His impressive credits in a career spanning over half a century have earned him the nickname “El Maestro” of the mambo sound. He has notably performed, composed and arranged music for dozens of premiere Latin orchestras. Mr. Santos has also produced music for numerous projects, including films such as “The Mambo Kings” and arranged music on Linda Ronstadt’s “Frenesi” and Paquito D’Rivera’s “Tropicana Nights,” both GRAMMY-winning albums. He has taught at The City College for more than 25 years and frequently lectures at colleges and universities throughout the United States. Among his many accolades are the Chico O’Farrill Lifetime Achievement Award and Bobby Capo Lifetime Achievement Award. Mr. Santos was inducted into the International Latin Music Hall of Fame in 2003.

Rebeca Mauleón

Rebeca Mauleón

Biography / Composer Website

Rebeca Mauleón is an internationally acclaimed musician, bandleader, composer, GRAMMY-nominated producer and educator as well as author and reviewer. As a pianist Mauleon follows a long-standing tradition of Afro-Cuban and Latin Jazz performers, and her expertise in Afro-Caribbean and Latin American music places her at the forefront of the musicological community, resulting in a multidimensional career spanning over three decades. From her recording and performing work with an array of Grammy-winning legends including Tito Puente, Carlos Santana, Steve Winwood, Joe Henderson and Mickey Hart, to her diverse compositional projects (ranging from symphonic works and Afro-Cuban jazz to music for film, television and computer software companies), and her critically-acclaimed recordings, books and articles, Mauleon has carved a distinct niche as one of the most multi-faceted artists on the world music scene. She is the author of the critically acclaimed Salsa Guidebook and 101 Montunos, and is also musicological consultant and author to National Geographic, Time Life and other important institutions. Mauleon is also a freelance writer for mainstream music magazines including Keyboard, Bass Player, Mix Magazine and others. Rebeca’s compositional awards include Meet The Composer’s prestigious New Residencies Award, the Sundance Composers’ Fellowship, and a commission by the Oakland East Bay Symphony. In 2008 she was honored by the San Francisco Jazz Festival with its Beacon Award for artistic excellence and dedication to the community. In 2009 Rebeca received a Latin Grammy Nomination for her production of Orestes Vilató’s “It’s About Time.” In 2011 Mauleon was appointed as Director of Education at SFJAZZ, and is a tenured professor of Latin American music, composition and Latin Jazz piano, as well as an internationally sought-after as a lecturer and clinician on the subject of Latin American and Afro-Caribbean music history and performance. As a GRAMMY-nominated producer, Mauleón’s solo releases Round Trip, Latin Fire and Descarga en California have garnered international critical acclaim, earning top-ten status on the Latin Beat Hit Parade for seven consecutive months, including number one. Her 2006 release – Descarga en California – features some of Latin music’s legendary figures, including Armando Peraza, Orestes Vilató and Giovanni Hidalgo, and explodes with the passion and energy of the classic Cuban descarga. As the leader of her own ensemble, Rebeca has appeared at numerous renowned music festivals, including the Kennedy Center’s “Women in Jazz” festival, the Monterey Jazz Festival and San Francisco and San José Jazz Festivals. In 2001 she was the recipient of the prestigious Meet The Composer New Residencies Award, for a three-year residency at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and in 2008 Rebeca was the recipient of the SF Jazz Festival Beacon Award. As a composer Rebeca has written works for diverse clients (Electronic Arts, MSNBC, etc…) in addition to her own performing ensembles. Rebeca is also much in-demand as a teacher and clinician throughout the U.S. and Europe, specializing in Latin music performance and history, combining hands-on master classes with high- energy performances by her ensemble. She is the author of several texts on Latin music technique, including the highly acclaimed Salsa Guidebook (© Sher Music, 1993), the Latin Real Book (© Sher Music, 1997), 101 Montunos (© Sher Music, 1999) and Muy Caliente (© Sher Music, 2000). She is a regular contributor to several top industry magazines, including JazzTimes, Keyboard, Grammy Gateway, Modern Drummer, Mix en Español and Bass Player, and serves as musicological consultant and writer for National Geographic. Rebeca is a tenured professor of Latin American/Afro-Caribbean Music, Jazz/Latin piano and Composition at City College of San Francisco, a guest lecturer at U.C. Berkeley, and is a member of the Recording Academy as well as the Latin Recording Academy. Read Rebeca’s profile in the December 2008 issue of Mix Magazine.

Rick Davies

Rick Davies

Biography 

Rick Davies is a composer/trombonist who works primarily in the fields of Latin jazz, salsa, and Afro-Caribbean music. Chico Manqueros of Latin Jazz Club Magazine describes: “his line of attack is to play with a swing that is not only harmonic but also danceable.” In discussing Davies’ Latin trombone soloing, Chicago DJ El Caobo states: “during these parts of the song, I cannot resist the urge to dance.”

Rick has had an extensive career with major artists in New York City and around the world. Artists he has worked with include Wayne Gorbea, Tito Puente, Charlie Palmieri, Wyclef Jean, Arrow, Manny Oquendo’s Libre, Blondie, and many others. He has traveled extensively both in the United States and around the world.

Among the places he has appeared are Tokyo, Sydney, Budapest, Amsterdam, Paris, Great Britain, Mexico, Colombia, and throughout the Caribbean.

Salsa Norteña is his third CD release and contains eight high-energy salsa and Latin jazz songs. “The bright, colorful and irresistible collection of Latin grooves is delicately arranged and expertly, vibrantly executed with immaculate taste.” – Dan Bolles, Seven Days Magazine.

Rick Faulkner

Rick Faulkner

Biography 

Trombonist and composer Rick Faulkner has been active in the New York City Latin music scene for more than a quarter century. During that time, he has played and recorded with a wide range of salsa, Latin jazz, and Cuban artists: Raulín Rosendo, Orlando Marín, Pucho and his Latin Soul Brothers, Dave Santiago and Latin Affair, Frankie Vasquez, Gilberto “Pulpo” Colon, Ray Vega, Willie Martinez, Hector Martignon, Manny Duran, Roman Diaz, Lisandro y su Tratado, 1999 Grammy Award nominee Juan Carlos Formell, and many more. In addition to his freelance work, he is currently a member of Los Mas Valientes (led by his wife, flutist Jessica Valiente) and Victor Rendon’s Bronx Conexion Latin Jazz Big Band. Beyond the Latin world, he has performed with jazz giants Max Roach and David Murray; ska legends the Toasters, Derrick Morgan, Laurel Aitken, and the New York Ska-Jazz Ensemble (NYSJE); and Haitian stars Tabou Combo and Skah-Shah.

As a composer, he has contributed pieces to recordings by Los Mas Valientes, the Bronx Conéxion, Dave Santiago and Latin Affair, the Toasters, NYSJE, Annette A. Aguilar, and to television and film scores. His arrangements have been played by, among others, Michael Brecker and John Scofield. Every Saturday for more than a decade, radio listeners have heard his trombone and arrangement in the theme music for “Que Viva la Musica” on WFDU.

Scott Martin

Scott Martin

Biography 

Scott Martin plays Tenor, Alto, Baritone, Soprano Saxophone and flute. Scott Martin has seven CDs as a leader, “Live at Saville Theatre” “Dance!!”, “Only Trust Your Heart”, “Organic Voodoo Juice”, “Menudo & Gritz”, “Cafe Cubano”, and “A Martin Family Christmas”.

Scott Martin has performed all over the world with many artists but is best known for his successful tenure with the Poncho Sanchez Latin Jazz Band for over fourteen years, winning a Grammy with the band for ‘Best Latin Jazz Performance’. Scott played on over ten of the band’s CDs, playing all sax parts and contributing compositions and arrangements for over 10 of the band’s CDs. They traveled all over the world and played such prestigious venues such as Carnegie Hall, Hollywood Bowl, Greek Theatre, as well as jazz festivals and clubs all over the USA, Asia, South America and Europe.

Besides playing Jazz Saxophone and Flute, Scott is a well rounded versatile performer who has played with many artists and performers such as Celia Cruz, Tito Puente, Jazz on the Latin Side All Stars, Mongo Santamaria, Francisco Aguabella, Ray Charles, Fred Wesley, Pee Wee Ellis, Maceo Parker, James Moody, Barry Manilow, Dr Dre, Arturo Sandoval, Eddie Harris, Chick Corea, Karrin Allyson, Diane Reeves, The Temptations, The Four Tops, Larry Coryell, Booker T, Joe Sample, Wilton Felder, Wayne Henderson, Joey Defrancesco, Eddie Floyd, Sam Moore, Billy Preston, Eddie Palmieri, Ry Cooder, Andy Montañez, Ben Harper, Michael Buble and many others.

Scott Martin is also a member of the Martin Brother Horns with his 2 brothers Stan Martin and Andy Martin and is also a longstanding member of Jazz on the Latin Side All Stars.

Scott’s compositions and playing have been featured on Television shows such as “Sex and the City’, “As The World Turns”, “The Jimmy Kimmel Show”, and many more.

He has also been an active studio musician playing on Television, Commercials and Film Productions. He also runs his own music production company ‘Scott Martin Music’.

Scott Martin Latin Soul Band can be seen performing at concerts and jazz festivals all over with his band. They have performed tours of Malaysia, Japan, Canada, played at the Hawaii International Jazz Festival, Borneo International Jazz Festival, Temecula International Jazz Festival, Oxnard Jazz Festival, Brea Jazz Festival and concerts all over California. He has also performed with the King of Thailand at His Majesty’s Summer Palace.

Shawn Purcell

Shawn Purcell

Biography

Shawn Purcell is a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He is a graduate of Duquesne University where he was awarded a Bachelor of Music in Recording Arts and Sciences in 1993. In 2006, Purcell earned a Master of Arts in Music, with an emphasis in jazz composition and arranging, from Middle Tennessee State University, and in 2011, he completed a Doctor of Musical Arts in Jazz Performance with a minor in ethnomusicology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Purcell is a jazz guitarist, bandleader, arranger, composer, and educator. He has been active as a featured soloist with small ensembles and jazz big bands, and he has shared the stage with many of the world’s top jazz artists including: Ingrid Jensen, Nicholas Payton, Tim Warfield, Terell Stafford, The Chicago Jazz Ensemble, Alan Baylock Jazz Orchestra, U.S. Army Blues Jazz Ensemble, The Capitol Bones, Jim Pugh, Chip McNeill, Dana Hall, Jeannie Bryson, Eddie Daniels, Bob Berg, James Moody, Jerry Bergonzi as well as many others. He has performed at jazz clubs and festivals throughout the nation including: The Jazz Kitchen, The Blue Wisp, The Jazz Factory, Blues Alley, IAJE, JEN, PASIC, and Indy Jazz Fest. Purcell has served on the jazz faculty at Towson University, Middle Tennessee State University, Tennessee State University, and was a Visiting Lecturer in Jazz Studies at Indiana University, Bloomington under the direction of David Baker. He has also led master classes at Duquesne University, Brigham Young University, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, Boise State University, Millikin University, and Texas Tech University. He has served on the faculty for The National Jazz Workshop, The National Guitar Workshop and as a columnist for Jazz Guitar Life and DownBeat Magazine. As a composer/arranger, Purcell’s works have been commissioned by The Chicago Jazz Ensemble, Tito Carillo, Joan Hickey, University of Massachusetts at Amherst Chapel Jazz Ensemble, and Texas Tech University Jazz Ensemble I, and are published by Pro Jazz Charts and 3-2 Music. Shawn can be heard on over twenty recordings, including Grammy Award-winner, Chip McNeill’s CD, The Whirl, jazz vocalist Darden Purcell’s CD, Easy Living, U.S. Army “Blues” drummer Steve Fidyk’s recent release “Heads Up!” on Posi-Tone Records, featuring Trumpeter Terell Stafford and Saxophonist Tim Warfield, and Alan Baylock Jazz Orchestra’s latest release “Prime Time,” featuring trumpet legend Doc Severinson!

From 1996-2004, Purcell was the guitarist in the United States Air Force premier jazz ensemble, The Airmen of Note, based in Washington D.C. During his nearly eight years with “The Note” Purcell performed throughout the United States as well as overseas. International tours included England, Germany, Turkey, Luxembourg, The Azores, Belgium, Oman, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Italy, Kuwait, and Bahrain.

In 2011, Purcell became the guitarist with the U.S. Naval Academy Band, Annapolis, MD. In 2013, Shawn auditioned and won the position as guitarist with the U.S. Navy Band “Commodores” jazz ensemble in Washington D.C. Purcell also currently serves as adjunct professor of jazz studies (jazz guitar and jazz arranging) at George Mason University.

Visit Shawn’s website for more information as well as audio/video clips and performances in the area.

Sonny Bravo

Sonny Bravo

Biography

Sonny Bravo’s first musical teacher was his father, Santiago “Elio” Osacar , bassist with the popular Cuarteto Caney. Sonny was arranger and pianist for Tito Puente for over 16 years until Tito’s passing. Prior to that, Sonny played with such luminaries as Jose Alberto “El Canario”, Alberto Santiago, Tito Allen, Azuquita, Papo Vasquez, Celia Cruz, Eddie Palmieri, and many other legendary artists. Sonny will probably be remembered most for being the founder and musical director of “Tipica 73”, one of the most popular salsa bands of the 70’s.

Steffen Kuehn

Steffen Kuehn

Biography

Steffen Kuehn was born and raised in Germany and began playing the trumpet at the age of eight. Twenty years later he received his Bachelor in Music from the prestigious University of North Texas in 1993; majoring in Jazz Trumpet and Jazz Studies. Being interested in Straight Ahead Jazz, Smooth Jazz as well as in Latin Jazz and salsa, Steffen scored big in 2002 with the CD release ‘Now or Later” from his Jazz Nonet. That recording featured 2001 Grammy Nominee Tim Hagans. That year also marked the inception of his own record label Stefrecords. In 2005 Steffen joined the Latin Jazz orchestra of legendary timbalero Louie Romero. The following year the band recorded its first album ‘Timbalero’ and released it on Stefrecords to rave reviews. His 2008 release ‘Trumpop’ was in the running for a Grammy nomination for ‘Best Contemporary Jazz Album’ and has been receiving national and international airplay and recognition. He has shared music moments with Jazz greats such as Tim Hagans, Brian Lynch, Claudio Roditi, The Temptations, and numerous other notable artists. While living in Europe, he played as a sideman for the Dusko Gojkovich Big Band, Al Porcino Big Band, Conexion Latina, and others.

Steve Kenyon

Steve Kenyon

Biography

Multi-woodwind player and composer Steve Kenyon has performed throughout the US, Europe and Asia with Maria Schneider, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Blood Sweat and Tears, Chuck Mangione, Ron Carter, Rachel Z, Philip Glass, New York City Ballet, Brooklyn Philharmonic, Concordia Orchestra, New Jersey Symphony, Westchester Symphony, Aretha Franklin, and Beyonce. He has led ensembles performing his original music at The Blue Note (NYC), Birdland, Carnegie Hall, and live on WNYC radio. He is also co-leader, composer and lead saxophonist with “NewYorkestra.” He has performed with dozens of Broadway shows, as well as many Original Cast recordings. In addition to his Quartet’s CD “Fidel’s Nightmare,” other recordings include Mike Holober’s “Thought Trains,” Andy Middleton’s “Terra Infirma,” The Gordon Project’s “I Can See Heaven from Here,” Audra McDonald’s “How Glory Goes” and Judy Collins’ “Classic Broadway.” Television work includes “Ed,” “Today,” “Letterman,” and many national jingles. He received B.M. and M.M. degrees from the University of Miami, graduating Magna cum Laude, and was awarded a Downbeat magazine composition award while at the University. He teaches privately at City College of New York.

Tito Puente

Tito Puente

Biography

Bandleader, percussionist, composer, and arranger. Born Ernesto Antonio Puente, Jr., on April 20, 1923, in New York, New York. Puente was a musical pioneer for mixing musical styles with Latin sounds and for his experiments in fusing Latin music with jazz. The son of Puerto Rican immigrants, Puente grew up in New York City’s Spanish Harlem and took piano lessons as a child and then studied percussion. He became a professional musician at age 13. and became a professional musician at age 13. Tito Puente later learned to play a number of instruments, including the piano, saxophone, vibraphone, and timbales (paired high-pitched drums). After an apprenticeship in the historic Machito Orchestra, he was drafted and served in the navy during World War II. Once he returned to New York in 1945, Puente used money from the G.I. Bill to study at the famed Juilliard School of Music. He formed a band that would later be known as the Tito Puente Orchestra in 1948. By the 1950s, crowds came to see his band play and Puente became a Latin music sensation. In 1958, his best-selling album, Dance Mania, was released. More hit records followed as the world enjoyed the way Puente put a big band spin on traditional Latin dances. He added other Latin and Afro-Cuban rhythms to his repertoire, including cha-cha, merengue, bossa nova, and salsa, and among his notable songs are “Babarabatiri,” “Ran Kan Kan,” and “Oye Como Va.” Puente also performed with leading jazz performers, including George Shearing and Woody Herman, as well as with many stars of Latin music and, in later years, with symphony orchestras. During a career that spanned more than five decades, Tito Puente became a musical legend in Latin music and jazz circles. He made more than 100 albums and created more than 200 compositions. Puente received numerous awards for his work, including five Grammy Awards. Sometimes called the “King of Latin Jazz” or simply “El Rey”—The King—he made an indelible mark on the popular culture. The writer Oscar Hijuelos made him a character in his 1989 novel The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love, and Puente appeared as himself in the 1992 film adaptation. He also guest starred on numerous television shows, such as The Simpsons. Tito Puente died on May 31, 2000, while in the hospital for heart surgery in New York, New York. Adored by his fans, many people waited in line for days to say good-bye to the popular bandleader. © 2012 A+E Networks. All rights reserved.

Tito Rodriguez

Tito Rodriguez

Biography

Born in January, 1923, Tito Rodriquez was a talented percussionist and vocalist who started gaining notoriety after moving to New York with his brother Johnny, also a gifted singer. Tito’s time in New York afforded him the opportunity to perform with Noro Morales, Tito Puente, Curbelo, Xavier Cugat, and many others. The Latin “Frank Sinatra”, according to his long time musical director and friend, Ray Santos, Tito Rodriquez was known for his velvety voice and romantic ballads. His contracts with the recording labels Tico, RCA, United Artist, Musicor and others led to many great hits such as “Inolvidable”, “Vuela La Paloma, “Cuando Cuando”, “Cara de Payaso”, to name a few. Tito also had his own variety show after moving back to Puerto Rico in 1966 which featured many American acts. His disappointment with the fans of Puerto Rico because of “ anti-Nuyorican” sentiment, and that he “sold out” to the American market, led to Tito Rodriquez leaving Puerto Rico and moving to Florida. He lived in Florida until his death in 1972 after losing his battle with Leukemia.

Victor Mendoza

Victor Mendoza

Biography

Considered by critics around the world to be one of today’s finest Latin jazz artists, Mexican-born vibraphonist and composer Victor Mendoza’s career includes performances with his own group and as guest soloist around the globe. Recent presentations include guest appearances with the World Festival Orchestra under the direction of Paquito D’Rivera, the Milan Svoboda Orchestra in Prague, sold-out shows at Queen Elizabeth Hall in London and in Tel Aviv, and as soloist with the Carlos Chávez Symphony Orchestra in Mexico City. Recent presentations include a solo appearance with the 85-piece Banda del Puerto in Valencia, Spain, under the direction of award-winning conductor Isidro Coll Ballesteros, as well as an upcoming guest appearance with the Granada Symphony in Spain. Previous recordings and performances with his own group, as well as with artists such as Paquito D’Rivera, Claudio Roditi and Giovanni Hidalgo have earned him the respect of critics and jazz fans around the globe. “This is Why,” one of Victor’s previous recordings, led Latin Beat Magazine to name him one of the Outstanding Latin Jazz Artists of the Year. Victor’s recording “Black Bean Blues” was named one of the best Latin jazz recordings of the year by Modern Drummer Magazine and led Jazziz Magazine to dub him “the genre’s leading vibraphone practitioner” and “one of today’s most resourceful composers.” As a Professor at the Berklee College of Music and as clinician for Yamaha and Vic Firth, Victor has earned an international reputation as a jazz educator, regularly conducting master classes at major music schools, universities and music conferences around the world. Victor Mendoza is a Yamaha, Vic Firth, Zildjian, Toca, and Shure performance artist.

Wayne Wallace

Wayne Wallace

Biography

Wayne Wallace is a much sought after San Francisco trombonist, keyboardist who’s list of countless performance and recording credits include greats such as Pearl Bailey, Sammy Davis Jr., The Count Basie Band, Pete Escovedo, Angela Bofill, Earth Wind and Fire, Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, Tito Puente, Machete Ensemble and many others. Wayne Wallace is also a much sought after educator and clinician. His educational workshops include UC Berkeley, Antioch, San Francisco School of The Arts,Santa Cruz Jazz Camp, Blue Bear School of Music, Stanford Jazz Camp and others. Mr. Wallace has also taught at workshops in West Germany, Havana Cuba.

Some of Wayne’s compositions include:
    • Little Girls/Laura Antonioli
    • SOUL EYES/Catero
    • I’m Leaving Baby/Con Funk Shun
    • Electric Lady/Polygram
    • Having A Good Time/Pete Escovedo
    • The Island/Esgo
    • Go Jamaica/Pete Escovedo
    • The Island/Esgo
    • Yesterday’s Memories, Tomorrows Dreams
    • Concord Jazz
    • Charango Sunrise
    • Concord Jazz
    • Take Some Time/Mr. “E”
    • Concord Jazz
    • Gingerbread Girl/Mr. “E”
    • Concord Jazz
    • Loves Got A Hold On Me/ F.D.R./F.D.R.
    • Fantasy Records
    • Screaming At The Moon/Phyllis Hyman
    • Living All Alone/Manhattan
    • Feel My Love/Stacey Lattisaw
    • Without you/Atlantic
    • Who’s Loving You?/L.J. Reynolds
    • Tell Me You Will/Fantasy
    • Our Love/Lenny Williams
    • Lenny Williams/Fantasy

 

SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENTS
    • Received 1993 N.E.A. grant for jazz composition to compose a three part suite reflecting the divers musical cultures of the San Francisco Bay Area.
    • Received a grant from the Zellerbach Foundation for composition of a Jazz/Afro-Cuban musical suite.
    • Composed and arranged the music for the 1991 Theater Works world premiere of the musical Go Down Garvey by Danny Duncan.
    • Received 1993 Bay Area Critics Award for best original score in a drama for the musical Pecong.
    • Taught a touring Afro-Cuban music workshop in West Germany, June-July 1989
    • Taught a Jazz and Blues Workshop at the National School of the Arts in Havana, Cuba, March, 1994
Luis Mario Ochoa

Luis Mario Ochoa

Biography

Vocalist, guitarist, composer, arranger and band leader Luis Mario Ochoa was born in Havana, Cuba and his earliest musical influences came from his father, Luis Ochoa Sr., one of the founders of Trio Voces de Oro. Luis Mario began his musical studies at some of Havana’s most prestigious conservatories, completing them in 1987, with a degree in classical guitar from the Instituto Superior de Artes(ISA).

Embracing Toronto as his new home in 1990, Luis Mario soon formed his band Cimarrón, recording three critically acclaimed CDs. His first two – A La Cubana and La Fiesta – were some of the earliest recordings to emerge from Toronto’s Latin music scene and tracks from these CDs were featured in film and television shows such as Traders, the US production Brave New Girl and Canadian production Bailey’s Billions, as well as in the TV series The Associates. His third CD Cimarrón, includes an all-star cast of jazz and Latin musicians from Toronto as well as special guests: Paquito D’Rivera, Guido Basso and Luis’ father. In 2008, he launched the Luis Mario Ochoa Acoustic Quintet and later that year he released his CD Momentos Cubanos featuring original and classic Latin American songs, he also loves to do sports betting, check the comparethebets bet365 for android details to learn more. The CD reached the # 2 spot on the world music charts at Earshot Canada!

Luis Mario has been featured at most of Canada’s major jazz and world festivals, including Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, Halifax and Ottawa’s Chamberfest. International highlights include the Barbados Jazz Festival and Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Dizzy’s Club in New York as a special guest of multi Grammy award winner Paquito D’ Rivera.

“With roots in Cuban popular music, Ochoa’s emotive voice and delicate touch on a nylon-stringed guitar, exhibit a change from Latin jazz standards. Ochoa has been hailed for his “…fire, finesse and authenticity” (Jazz Times) and for creating “…high caliber Latin jazz [that] cooks” (Descarg.com).

“Luis Ochoa has an exceptional voice. His soaring tenor rises above the horns and percussion, delivering the lyrics with sincerity and power.” Jazz Improv Magazine.

Luis Mario recently made Miami his second home and has put together his Miami Acoustic Quintet, which he introduced to the Miami audience in fall 2017.

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