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Meet Alexis Cuadrado: Born in 1971 in Barcelona, Spain, and currently based in New York, Alexis is an active member of the New York jazz scene.
Since 1993 he has performed in Spain, Europe and the US with some of today's most outstanding groups and soloists such as Kurt Rosenwinkel, Bruce Barth, Ben Monder, Perico Sambeat, Jordi Rossy, Allan Skidmore, Dennis Rowland, Louis Stewart, Sean Levitt, Peter King and John Stetch to name a few.
Alexis graduated in Jazz Studies at Taller de Musics in Barcelona in 1993, and studied with bassists Mario Rossy, Larry Grenadier and Marc Johnson. For three years he took lessons with the legendary bassist Francois Rabbath at the International Rabbath Institut in Paris. He obtained a Master's degree in Jazz Performance at the Aaron Copland School of Music-Queens College in New York. He also taught for six years at the Taller de Musics in Barcelona.
From 1995 to 2000 he co-led the jazz quartet Alguamia in Spain. This group played extensively in Spain, recorded three CDs (U, Dos and Standards) and in 1998 was given the Best Spanish Debut CD award by the Spanish radio station RNE4. During that time, he was also part of the house band of the Spanish nationally syndicated TV talk show Parallel and led a weekly jam session at the Barcelona Pipa Club for three years.
Cuadrado has published two CDs as a leader: Metro (Fresh Sound New Talent, 2001) and Visual (FSNT, 2004). These CD include all-original compositions and have received enthusiastic reviews from both critics and fans.
Alexis also appears on several albums with many artists including the Ben Waltzer/Bill McHenry Quartet, Chris Kase, Orquestra de Cambra Teatre Lliure conducted by Lluas Vidal, Nuno Ferreira, Kris Bauman Quartet featuring Kurt Rosenwinkel, Erik Jekabson, Alan Ferber Nonet, and John Chin Trio featuring Mark Turner.
Alexis is currently working on a new album that will be published in 2006. His current quartet featuring cutting-edge New York musicians plays a new original repertoire and has gained enthusiastic audience reactions in recent performances in Europe and America.
He has recently joined the band of the three times Grammy Award nominee vocalist Angelique Kidjo, and keeps busy freelancing with different bands around New York, the US and Europe.
Instrument(s): bass (acoustic and electric). Futz around with guitar, piano and drums.
Teachers and/or influences? Bass teachers: Francois Rabbath, Marc Johnson, Mario Rossy. Clinics with Larry Grenadier, Ugonna Okegwo, and others.
Influences: All the great bass players in jazz... too long to mention them all.
I knew I wanted to be a musician when... I used to sing to the towel holder imagining that it was a microphone...I think I was five.
Your sound and approach to music: Music has to mean something... to the musician and the listener, but you can't make it mean something because you just want to. That's what I'm trying to find out about.
Your teaching approach: I combine a deep understanding of technique and craft with fun music making.
Your dream band: I'd love to play bass with The Police.
Anecdote from the road: Many years ago I was touring with a "summer hit covers" type band and suddenly the audience (about three or four hundred very drunken Spaniards) started throwing soda cans at us. That was fun.
Favorite venue: Smalls and Bar Next Door in Manhattan, Jamboree in Barcelona.
Your favorite recording in your discography and why? I'd say Kind of Blue. It just hits me like any other record ever.
Did you know... I used to play Gipsy weddings in Spain, where part of the ceremony was to show a handkerchief with the bride's blood, confirming her virginity. That was... let's say really eventful.
How you use the internet to help your career? It helps me be in touch with hundreds of people I'd never meet otherwise.
CDs you are listening to now: Bela Fleck & Edgar Meyer, Music For Two (Sony Classical); Glenn Gould, Bach's Two Part Inventions (Sony Classical); Joe Lovano, I'm All For You (Blue Note); All Beatles and also The Police on shuffle as well (because they're reuniting); The Matrix soundtrack.
Desert Island picks: Just my iPod please.
How would you describe the state of jazz today? Vibrant.
What is in the near future? New CD recording with my quartet (Loren Stillman, Brad Shepik and Mark Ferber).
New duo recordings with different musicians, hopefully in my own internet based label. Composing for my next project: Ibarico exploring Flamenco and Spanish music.
By Day: Practice, listen, swim, play soccer, eat good food.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.