All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review


William Cepeda and Afrorican Jazz: My Roots & Beyond


Sign in to view read count
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 rhythms such as the Bomba and the Plena and layers melodies and improvisations on top of the rhythms and creates a dynamic music, bright with the festivity of the horns, and rumbling with the polyrhythms of the percussionists. The album is catchy and entertaining - only the most determined of listeners will be able to sit still - but it's more than that too. Michelle Rosewoman's composition "For Now and Forever" is given an arrangement which shows off the depth of this music. The melody instruments weave together multiple lines, while the percussion instruments echo the melody lines with multiple rhythms. The result reminds us that while Latin Jazz is often presented as something hot and entertaining, but not as serious as the real thing, that's far from the truth: Latin Jazz can be just as demanding as any other form of Jazz. It just makes the hard work fun by keeping the listeners dancing.

This album is best listened to as a companion to Cepeda's Afro Boricua ensemble disc. On this disc Cepeda presents the various rhythms of Puerto Rican music in a more pure form. Together both discs present an education in Puerto Rican music that will keep the student dancing.

Visit the Blue Jackel website (Cepeda is the featured artist this month) at

Personnel: William Cepeda: trombone, cua, conch shell, percussion, vocals; Donny McCaslin: saxophone; Omar Kabir: trumpet, conch shell; Raul Romero: guitar; Uli Gussendoerfer: piano, keyboards; Ruben Rodriguez: bass; Mark Walker: drums; Juan Gutierrez: bomba drums; vocals. Special Guests: Slide Hampton: trombone (1, 8); Paquito D'Rivera: alto saxophone, clarinet (4, 6); Yomo Toro: Cuatro (2). Additional Musicians: Luis Bonilla: trombone (3, 11); Tony Lujan: trumpet (2, 5, 6, 7, 11); Luis Aquino: trumpet (4, 6, 11); Luis Disla: saxophone (2, 9); Eric Figueroa: piano, keyboards (1); John Benitez: bass (6, 10, 11); Bobby Sanabria: bongos, vocals (1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 11); Edgardo Miranda: cuatro (2); Tito Matos: pandereta, bomba drums, vocals (1, 4, 6, 7); Cita Rodgriguez: vocals (1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 11); Richie Viruet: vocals (1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 11); Juan Usera: vocals (1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 11); Julio Merced: verso negro (1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 11).

Track Listing: Bomba Swing, Ponta Pa'l Monte, Pa' Mi Cuembe, Waiting For Carmen, Toca Mi Caracol, Quasi Plena, For Now And Forever, Sara, Pa' Mi Gente, Colors, Afrorican Jam. Total time: 74:12.

Title: My Roots & Beyond | Year Released: 1999 | Record Label: Blue Jackel


comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Wherever You're Starting From CD/LP/Track Review
Wherever You're Starting From
by Troy Dostert
Published: March 21, 2018
Read Live in Miami @ the WDNA Jazz Gallery CD/LP/Track Review
Live in Miami @ the WDNA Jazz Gallery
by Jerome Wilson
Published: March 21, 2018
Read From Silence to Somewhere CD/LP/Track Review
From Silence to Somewhere
by Glenn Astarita
Published: March 21, 2018
Read Never Bet The Devil Your Head CD/LP/Track Review
Never Bet The Devil Your Head
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 21, 2018
Read The Questions CD/LP/Track Review
The Questions
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 20, 2018
Read Meerkat Parade CD/LP/Track Review
Meerkat Parade
by Geno Thackara
Published: March 20, 2018
Read "Live In Belgium" CD/LP/Track Review Live In Belgium
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 4, 2018
Read "Pigs & Fairies" CD/LP/Track Review Pigs & Fairies
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 16, 2017
Read "Live from Stern Grove Festival" CD/LP/Track Review Live from Stern Grove Festival
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: January 7, 2018
Read "Joey.Monk.Live!" CD/LP/Track Review Joey.Monk.Live!
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: October 14, 2017
Read "Green Moss Black Sand" CD/LP/Track Review Green Moss Black Sand
by Chris Mosey
Published: July 30, 2017
Read "To the Bone" CD/LP/Track Review To the Bone
by John Kelman
Published: August 26, 2017