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William Cepeda's Afrorican Jazz: My Roots and Beyond

Joel Roberts By

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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, and one of the early Latin jazz innovators, Dizzy Gillespie.

Cepeda uses traditional Caribbean music as a departure point for some highly sophisticated jazz/world music arrangements, equally inspired by the spirits of bomba and bebop. And on original tunes like "Bomba Swing," "For Now and Forever," and "Colors" he takes his Puerto Rican roots music deep into the heart of modern jazz.

To perform his challenging high-energy compositions, Cepeda has assembled a top-flight lineup that includes an ecelectic mix of musicians from Puerto Rico (Bobby Sanabria, John Benitez, Yomo Toro), Costa Rica (Luis Bonilla), Cuba (Paquito D'Rivera), and the American jazz mainstream (Slide Hampton). Led by Cepeda's explosive trombone and a potent Latin percussion seciton, the Afrorican Jazz ensemble makes infectious, rhythmic music that will thrill dancers as well as jazz fans.


Title: My Roots and Beyond | Year Released: 1999

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