Drummer, percussionist, composer, educator, Bobby Sanabria has gained renown and respect from fans and musicians alike as one of the foremost proponents of what is labeled Afro-Cuban/Latin Jazz. Born and raised in the South Bronx, Sanabria performed with a veritable Who's Who in the world of jazz and Latin music, as well as with his own critically acclaimed ensembles. His diverse recording and performing experience includes work with such legendary figures as Dizzy Gillespie, Mario Bauzá, Tito Puente, Paquito D'Rivera,, Mongo Santamaría, Ray Barretto, and a myriad of other Latin and jazz greats. Inspired and encouraged by Tito ...read more
There must be something in the jny: Detroit water, because the Motor City has probably produced more bass players per capita than any other American city. Not only in sheer numbers and variety, but also in terms of musical style and innovation. While Paul Chambers and Ron Carter would suffice for a locale in terms of civic pride, the city can also claim Motown session man James Jamerson as well as second generation players Robert Hurst and Rodney Whitaker. Then there is Ralphe Armstrong, who is probably the most prolific bass man of whom nobody has heard. ...read more
Branford Marsalis Quartet Max Fisher Music Center Detroit, MI October 11, 2013 The Branford Marsalis Quartet is arguably the best small unit working in jazz these days, as proven by the performance of the BMQ in Detroit. This concert was the opening event for the superb jazz series presented by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. The emcee for the concert just happened to be renowned trumpeter and (Marsalis home-boy) Terence Blanchard, who unbeknownst to the audience was to be a participant in the evening's show. Marsalis is well known ...read more
Detroit Jazz FestivalDetroit, MIAugust 30-September 2, 2013You have read the news and heard the stories on radio and TV. Detroit is bankrupt and going into ruin. However, Gretchen Valade definitely doesn't appear to believe the hype, as she managed to fashion the Detroit Jazz Festival (DJF) into one of the largest, most star-studded musical parties in North America, with four stages scattered all over downtown Detroit over the Labor Day weekend.In 2012, newly-appointed artistic director Chris Collins kicked off his rookie year with an extravaganza which featured the likes of Sonny Rollins, Wynton Marsalis, and ...read more
In a career spanning almost 40 years, percussionist John Santos has gained world-wide renown and acclaim as one of the great composers and bandleaders in the Afro-Cuban jazz idiom. The four-time Grammy nominee is one of the foremost proponents of Afro-Latin music in the world today, known for his innovative use of its traditional musical forms and instruments. Santos has performed, recorded and studied with acknowledged Afro-Latin and Jazz masters such as Cachao,Dizzy Gillespie, Tito Puente, Bebo Valdés, Armando Peraza, Eddie Palmieri, Patato Valdés, Francisco Aguabella, Max Roach, Steve Turré and Alfredo Chocolate" Armenteros.Born in San Francisco to ...read more
For over 30 years, conguero/bandleader Poncho Sanchez has been the premier proponent of West Coast Latin Jazz. Growing up in Norwalk, California, Sanchez was exposed to and influenced by two very different styles of music: Afro-Cuban music and bebop, as well as R&B. Originally a guitarist, Sanchez taught himself the flute, drums, and timbales before finally deciding to pursue conga playing in high school. In 1975, Sanchez's idol, vibraphonist Cal Tjader invited him to perform with his band. Sanchez played with Tjader for several years until Tjader's death in 1982.Thanks to Tjader, Sanchez signed with Concord Picante Records, ...read more
Drummer/composer/bandleader Ralph Peterson has got to be one of the hardest working men in jazz today. He seems to drop a new CD every few months, and the kicker is that the theme and product are markedly different than his previous efforts. In addition, he changes lineups like guys change socks. The band on ALIVE At Firehouse 12 Vol. 1--The Unity Project is not the same one on his previous outing, 2012's The Duality Perspective (Onyx). As a matter of fact, Peterson uses the same instrumental lineup that the late legendary organist Larry Young used on his classic Unity (Blue ...read more
For the last decade, saxophonist Miguel Zenón has distinguished himself as one of the most innovative and creative musicians in the modern jazz idiom. The Puerto Rican-born altoist accomplished this feat by reaching back to the musical and cultural traditions of his island. On groundbreaking recordings such as Jibaro (Marsalis Music, 2005) and Esta Plena (Marsalis Music, 2009), Zenón paid musical homage to the rich rhythms of Bomba and Plena. Alma Adentro (Marsalis Music, 2011) was a heartfelt tribute to great Puerto Rico composers such as “Tite' Curet Alonso, Bobby Capo and Rafael Hernandez. The music world was also paying ...read more
Tenor man David Murray is considered to be one of the most prolific and innovative players and composers of the last 40 years.Not only has he distinguished himself as an inventive leader of the avant-garde movement, he has become a veritable Renaissance man just based on the myriad of projects he has undertaken in the last few years. He composed and performed music for a tribute held in London for Emory Douglas, the legendary illustrator for The Black Panther publications, and he also collaborated with Afro-Cuban musicians to perform Nat “King" Cole's Spanish songs. That's in addition to ...read more
On an island known for its extensive array of virtuoso pianists, Cuban-born Aruan Ortiz distinguishes himself from the pack by a transcendent approach to his instrument, and an encyclopedic knowledge of styles ranging from traditional Afro- Cuban and classical to bop. He's also a prolific composer. Having roared into New York City and taken it by storm in a variety of settings, he now holds down the piano chair for the visionary Afro Horn MX group, composed a collection of Afro-Haitian vocal and chamber music from his hometown of Santiago with the Urbana Camerata Ensemble, and he has recorded electronic ...read more
Detroiter Robert Hurst has been considered one of the best bassists to come out of the Jazz Renaissance of the '80s. His melodicism, technique, and harmonic acumen positioned him as a first- string bass man. Trumpeter Wynton Marsalis made him his bottom man for the better part of the '80s, and as part of saxophonist Branford Marsalis' fabled X-men," Hurst, pianist Kenny Kirkland, and drummer Jeff “Tain" Watts were considered to be arguably the best rhythm section in jazz during that period.After his fabled stint on The Tonight Show, Hurst has spent the last 10 years teaching at ...read more
Planet D NonetPlanet D Nonet Do-RaDetroit Institute of ArtDetroit, MIDecember 28, 2012The Detroit music scene is well known for its firm groundings in blues R&B, rock and hard-bop, which includes a large community of musicians as well as a solid fan base. What isn't as well known is that there is a sizable following for avant-garde jazz, especially for the music and mystique of Sun Ra. This interest in the legendary bandleader and visionary dates back to the early '70s when his Arkestra played the Ann Arbor Blues & Jazz Festival. In addition, ...read more
There are a lot of jazz players out there who for gotten tired of waiting for some label to record them and take decided to do it themselves. Philadelphia's Suzzette Ortiz, who has been laboring in the trenches for the past two decades, took it upon herself to record her own music. The Puerto Rican-born pianist came to Philly to study music, and racked up some heavy duty credentials along the way. She studied choral conducting at Julliard and Temple, took an apprenticeship in piano with the legendary “Pupy" Pedroso, of Los Van Van fame, and studied vocal improvisation with ...read more
Michael Hanna & FriendsBaker's Keyboard LoungeDetroit, MichiganNovember 9, 2012In jazz circles, as within most artistic idioms, talent can be generational. The most apparent example of this is the Marsalis clan. Other notable father-son duos include John and Ravi Coltrane, Chico and Arturo O'Farrill, as well as Dewey and Joshua Redman. The latest to delve into the family business is singer Michael Hanna, who is the son of pianist Sir Roland Hanna. Instead of taking up piano, he steered toward the vocal arts, and it was not his first choice of careers. Hanna, who has loved ...read more
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