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ARTICLE: INTERVIEWS

Elio Villafranca: The Source In Between

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Cuban born pianist Elio Villafranca has spent a lifetime observing the space between different worlds. He spent his childhood in the small Piñar de Rio region on the Western coast of Cuba and then jumped into the centralized bustle of Havana. He went through a broad and varied musical education that not only focused on the ...

ARTICLE: INTERVIEWS

Steven Kroon: Looking Beyond

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Percussionist Steve Kroon has spent many years walking through a variety of musical worlds. He spent his childhood years surrounded by all sorts of musical figures, with connections to jazz, Cuban music, rhythm and blues, Brazilian music, and more. His deep involvement led to local performance and recording jobs, and eventually a high profile gig with ...

Jovino Santos Neto: Alma do Nordeste (Soul of the Northeast)

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Great composers take their listeners past the simple execution of traditional form; instead they vividly describe their subject matter. Musical building blocks like tempo, texture, and dynamics shape mood and guide the listener's feelings. Cultural instruments reference specific countries. Creative interpretation adds perspective and displays the subject through the composer's eyes. Personal expression invites creative interpretations ...

Omar Sosa: Afreecanos

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Forward-thinking Latin Jazz grows like a tree, starting with its roots and then the tree itself reaching high into the air. The roots represent the music's heritage; they are both the starting point and the foundation. The trunk symbolizes the musician's strongest connection to their roots, their background. The branches reach away from the tree, just ...

ARTICLE: CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Alfredo Naranjo: Y El Guajeo

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Pulling jazz and salsa into a unique mixture requires a balance between freedom and structure. Salsa recordings benefit from tightly arranged forms with commercially dictated norms. Jazz thrives upon variation and the liberty to explore new directions spontaneously. Vibraphonist Alfredo Naranjo and his musicians find an aesthetic balance between freedom and structure on Y El Guajeo, ...

ARTICLE: CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Luis Munoz: Of Soul and Shadow

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An artist's application of structure leaves both positive and negative impacts upon Latin jazz. Rhythmic structures dictate the embedded Latin style and determine melodic phrasing. The harmonic structure provides the improviser a reference point for melodic invention. Structure becomes dangerous when composers strictly impose it upon their performance. The expressive freedom of jazz becomes lost, and ...

ARTICLE: CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Insight: A Genesis

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Artists may travel different roads to create a unique Latin Jazz voice. Some musicians follow the established formula, repeating the success of the genre's “legends. Other artists explore a more unique approach, delving into influential musicians outside the genre's popular success stories. A smaller group looks into the most challenging avenues, finding connections between diverse concepts ...

ARTICLE: CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Suenos Latin-Jazz: Azul Oscuro

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Interpretation exists as both a necessity and a dangerous path for the Latin Jazz artist. Creativity and personalization are important tenants of jazz; artists cannot repeatedly perform songs the same way. An artist makes their statement by interpreting melodic phrasing, harmonic alterations, and the rhythmic feel. When an artist interprets stylistic elements, they run the risk ...

ARTICLE: CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jos: Tambolero

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All-star bands create music that brims with possibilities; yet the outcome runs the risk of positive or negative results. Combining high caliber musicians brings expectations of powerful music. Experience gives these artists knowledge and skill, increasing the chance of memorable music. When distinctive artists join forces, a possible mismatch can also occur. Groups sometimes lack a ...

ARTICLE: CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Wilson "Chembo" Corniel: For The Rest Of Your Life

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Our expectations shape our listening experiences, even before we hear an artist's recorded work. We anticipate musical genres based on a musician's past and assume that the bandleader will be featured prominently. We judge unfamiliar artists on their instrument, album covers, or websites; and then we decide whether that artist deserves our attention. Once we listen ...