The personal attractions which originate with music can have life altering consequences, leading to total immersion in another culture and the discovery of oneself in the process. Trombonist May Peters is a perfect case in point. Born and raised in Holland, with extensive musical training, she has had a lifelong fixation with salsa music, which led her to relocate to Puerto Rico, culminating in her production of Tributo de Tambor y Trombon en Clave de Mujer Boricua.
This is an instrumental compilation of songs composed and performed by female Puerto Rican cabaret singers during the golden days of radio on the island, which was saturated with boleros, danzas, and mambos. Dramatic liberties were taken with the arrangements by pianist/producer Eric Figueroa, who set up all the songs with a dominant percussion factor and has Peters leading the charge with a ferocious combination of energy and finesse. Having paid her dues with numerous salsa, bomba, and plena bands, she obviously thrives in this environment and the results are impressive.
The musicians on this record are some of the best in Puerto Rico. Anchored by veteran bassist Ramon Vazquez and conga master Paoli Mejias, they are all experts in the Afro-Caribbean tradition and know precisely how each complex rhythmic variation should be executed. Peters melodically improvises through the songs as if surfing on a pulsing wave.
Starting off with "Dí Corazon," by the revered Sylvia Rexach, and going right into "Caramelo y Chocolate," by the risqué vedette Iris Chacon, Peters and company firmly lay down the familiar lyric lines, then the heat is turned up. The standout number is Lucy Fabery's "La Oportunidad"; clocking in at over eight minutes, it has plenty of room for stretching out and developing a solid groove. The pace is slowed down for "Medly Myrta Silva," a steamy bolero dedicated to the legendary Myrta Silva, who was known for her showmanship and flamboyant personality.
Though perhaps not familiar outside of Latin music aficionados, these women were influential artists and composers, and admired by generations. This tribute by Peters is exceptional and indicates her profound knowledge---both of the music and where it can be creatively transported.
Track Listing: Di Corazón; Caramelo y Chocolate; Estoy Enamorado; La Oportunidad; Si Tu No
Hubieras Ido; Medley Myrta Silva; Nací & Así Hoy; Tu Equivocación; Medley Myrta Silva
Radio Version; Nací & Así Hoy Extended.
Personnel: May Peters: trombone, producer; Eric Figueroa: piano, arranger, producer; Ramón
Vázquez: bass; Paoli Mejías: tumbadoras, congas, buleador, panderos; Tony Escapa:
drums; Manolito Rodríguez: timbales; Daniel Díaz: bongos, buleador, panderos, quinto,
seguidor, tumbador; Pablo "El Indio" Rosario: maracas, guïro, clave; Greg Schmitt:
electric guitar; Pedro Guzmán: Puerto Rican cuatro; Mickey Alvarado: surdo, tamborine,
shekere, caxixi, cuica, whistles, percussion effects; Raul Berrios: cuica, shekere;
Cándido Reyes: guicharo.
Year Released: 2013
| Record Label: Self Produced
| Style: Big Band
I was first exposed to jazz when I was tiny. My earliest memory is watching Ella Fitzgerald scat on a Christmas special when I was no older than four. Like many who are from tiny towns, my first extended exposure was listening to the high school jazz band when I was a kid
I was first exposed to jazz when I was tiny. My earliest memory is watching Ella Fitzgerald scat on a Christmas special when I was no older than four. Like many who are from tiny towns, my first extended exposure was listening to the high school jazz band when I was a kid. For some reason I remember an arrangement of Hey Jude they did. My first real exposure was Stan Kenton in the Smithville, MO high school gym. Kenton and the band director there were old friends, so he would play there from time to time. My dad took me without telling me where we were going and it was the only show he ever took me to. I remember that Bobby Shew played Send In Clowns and I damn near levitated I was so excited. The huge sound and amazing chords floored me. I believe I was 13 at the time. I immediately started practicing and taking lessons. Music became a passion and nearly a career. I also listened to Dick Wright's Jazz Show on KANU every night. I can't even start to explain what I learned lying in bed listening to Dick talk about jazz. I met him once when I was struggling to put together a solo for Joy Spring playing in a combo at KU. Stopped by his office and asked for recommendations. He showed up at my jazz ensemble rehearsal the next day with a tape with example solos. What a kind man Dick Wright was.
My advice to new listeners is to stop worrying about what music is important and focus on music you like. I spent quite a bit of my music life listening to important music I didn't necessarily like. Must say I have quite a bit more fun now listening to music that I deeply enjoy. Some of it is even important.
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