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Dominican Jazz Project

- Nominated for the 17th Annual Latin Grammy® Awards in the categories of “Best New Artist” and “Best Jazz CD.” - “Full of creative energy and the joy of musical discovery”—Mark Sullivan, All About Jazz

The Dominican Jazz Project began when Dominican born jazz artist, Guillo Carias, invited American jazz pianist, Stephen Anderson, to perform with him and local players for the 2014 Jazzomania Jazz Festival in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, that was hosted by the Quisqueya 96.1 FM jazz radio program. The concert and associated clinic went beautifully, and the drummer, Guy Frómeta, invited Anderson to return to Santo Domingo to perform with him in his group for the Casa de Teatro Jazz Festival a few months later. It was there that Anderson met Sandy Gabriel, tenor saxophonist. Their collective friendship grew further with that experience, and following the festival, they agreed to record together. The result was their 2016 self titled CD release, The Dominican Jazz Project, that was recorded in the days following the UNC Summer Jazz Workshop where the artists served as guest faculty and where Anderson serves as director. The recording represented Summit Records on the ballots of the 17th Annual Latin Grammy Awards as well as on the ballots of the 59th Grammy Awards. It was listed in Ken Frackling's "2016's Best Latin/Brazilian jazz recordings," was decribed as being "full of creative energy and the joy of musical discovery" by Mark Sullivan at All About Jazz, and the band was called a "national pride" at the 2019 Dominican Republic Jazz Festival. Since 2014, the DJP has performed at numerous festivals in the Dominican Republic and has toured performing at universities and jazz clubs across the United States.

What intrigued Anderson when he first visited the Dominican Republic is that while Dominican musicians are very much at home playing Afro-Cuban/clave-based music, their traditional music also has a variety of other lesser known grooves that are not commonly played in Latin jazz today outside of the Dominican Republic. And while the Dominican piano tumbao patterns sound similar to Cuban montuno patterns, they are constructed differently harmonically and rhythmically. Anderson was also surprised that these Dominican were so interested in modern American jazz, and that Sandy Gabriel’s compositions, in some ways, were very similar to the aesthetic that he had been developing in the Stephen Anderson Trio recordings in recent years. Sandy is an entirely self- taught saxophonist, having no formal training. When asked how he learned to play so well, Sandy relayed that he learned from transcribing Michael Brecker solos, responding affirmably, “He was the best.” After returning home, Anderson spent several months deeply researching Dominican music, transcribing various piano tumbao patterns, as well as other traditional grooves, like the Mangulina, Pambiche, Ga-Ga, and the Palo. Based on these and other grooves, he composed five new charts for the project, and Sandy Gabriel, Guillo Carias, and Carlos Luis contributed the other six compositions found on the recording.

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“Can you think of a better close [to the festival] than this? The Dominican Jazz Project is a national pride that delights us today.” —The Dominican Republic Jazz Festival (Sosúa, DR)

“Full of creative energy and the joy of musical discovery” ​—Mark Sullivan, All About Jazz


Album Discography

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Desde Lejos

Summit Records


Un Cambio de Ritmo

From: Desde Lejos
By Dominican Jazz Project


From: Dominican Jazz Project
By Dominican Jazz Project


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