Meet Cesar Orozco:
Orozco, a prolific pianist, composer, and arranger, fuses jazz with Cuban and Venezuelan musical styles in unexpected ways that fans in North and South America find irresistible. Born in Cuba in 1980, he moved to Venezuela in 1998, then to the United States in 2012. He has performed and recorded with numerous international artists and toured extensively (United Kingdom, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Scotland, The Netherlands, Colombia, Argentina, and Mexico). He holds music degrees from both Peabody Institute in Baltimore and from the National School of Arts in Havana, Cuba. Orozco has been a guest artist on more than 50 recordings and has produced two other albums with his band, Kamarata Jazz: Son Con Pajarillo
(2007) and Orozcojam
(2010). The latter received four nominations and was awarded Best Vocal-Instrumental Album at Cubadisco 2012, the most important event of the Cuban recording industry (similar to the Grammy Awards in the U.S). Orozco's third album a leader, No Limits for Tumbao, comes out in August 2015 on the new international label Alfi Records. Orozco has worked with such names as Paquito D'Rivera
, Pedrito Martinez
, Gary Thomas
, Yosvany Terry
, Luisito Quintero, Giovanni Hidalgo
, Alex Norris
and Paul Bollenback
. He wrote music for a highly successful musical in Venezuela and has begun working on a similar project in New York City Orozco is releasing his latest CD, No Limits for Tumbao,
on the new international label Alfi Records in early September. He has just moved to New York to work on a musical there and to be able to more easily perform in New York City
venues with his band. Instrument(s):
Piano Teachers and/or influences?
I have a lot of influences, but I would say that some of the most important pianists I've been listening to for years are Chucho Valdes
, Chick Corea
, Michel Camilo
, Michel Petrucciani
, Otmaro Ruiz (Venezuelan pianist based in L.A), and Bill Evans
. Although I was playing Jazz and popular music from many years ago, the first time I formally went to any school to study Jazz was when I attended the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore. My teachers there were Tim Murphy, Alex Norris, and Gary Thomas. However, more than ten years ago I had the opportunity to study with a great Cuban trumpet player Julio Mendoza, who is based in Venezuela. I knew I wanted to be a musician when...
I knew I wanted to be a musician when I was 2 or 3 years old. Music was part of my life from the very beginningI was always listening to my older brother and sister practicing the violin and piano at any time at home. Also, my father was a very well-known musicologist in Cuba. Therefore, I also grew up listening to the recordings he played at home from all his musical research and works. Your sound and approach to music:
It's difficult to me to define my own sound, but if I have to do it in a sentence I would say that my playing and writing style is a blend of Cuban, Venezuelan, and other Latin-American genres along with a strong Jazz influence. All those elements (but not at the same time) can be heard when I improvise a solo or when I'm accompanying any music style, and even arranging or composing a song Your teaching approach:
I always recommend that my students listen to as much different kind of music as they can. That way, they may be able to know and play not only one type of music, but also music and genres of other countries or areas. It's a wide world out there and they should be prepared to face any musical challenge they could have. In my experience, being a versatile musician allows you to have bigger jobs opportunities. It enriches your creativity and increases your possibilities to achieve a successful career as a musician. Your dream band:
My dream band involves not only musicians with a musical approach and influences similar to mine, but also with strong personal connection. In other words, the musicians of my dream band have to be my friends. When I'm playing music, especially if I'm playing my own music, I need to feel that special connection between me and the musicians I'm playing with.