William Cepeda is a man with a mission. His goal is aptly given by the title of his cd, his debut as a leader. He wants to introduce us to the music of his roots and beyond. Cepeda takes the rhythms, the dances, of Puerto Rican music, and uses them as the basis for Jazz. As Paquito D'Rivera tells us in the liner notes, Latin Jazz has been based on the music of Brazil and Cuba, but rarely on the musics of the other Latin American countries. Cepeda wants to rectify that deficiency with respect to his homeland. He takes ...read more
This CD represents William Cepeda's attempt to educate us in the ways and rhythms of the music of his native Puerto Rico. The music is based in the drums and rhythms brought to Puerto Rico as a consequence of the African slave trade. The melody instruments are, for the most part, limited to the voices of the lead vocalists. However, more often than not, these are used as percussion instruments as well: the vocals are dominated by call and response chants. The lead vocalist will chant a line, which is then echoed by a chorus. Occasionally the lead vocalist will ...read more
Look at the group name: it’s familiar, yet different. While this is Latin jazz, its flavors are not the usual – you get liquid synths and bomba drums, modern guitar and ancestral chants. “...[W]hile there are plrnty of jazz albums inspired by Cuban rhythms and music, there’s nothing quite of the same caliber out there for Puerto Rican music and jazz. And there should be.” Consider this a goal of William Cepeda, who plays trombone for the United Nation Orchestra. After this heady mix of influences you’ll want to hear more, and that is the point.
“Bomba Swing” opens with ...read more
My Roots and Beyond is the perfect title for the debut Blue Jackal recording by William Cepeda's Afrorican Jazz, one of the most exciting and original groups on the Latin jazz scene today.
As the title suggests, this album has somewhat of a historical focus, drawing on many of the traditional musical forms from Cepeda's island homeland -- bomba, plena, jibaro, danza. But Cepeda is no mere cataloguer of past styles. He's an accomplished trombonist and composer with an impressive list of jazz credits, having performed and studied with such masters as Lester Bowie, Jimmy Heath, David Murray, Donald Byrd, ...read more