Conceived at SIR Studios in New York City on November 23rd, 1997 by Chilean-Cuban drummer and composer Alejandro “Alex” García, AfroMantra has been acclaimed for his masterful ability to combine rich harmonies with the powerful rhythms and flavors of North and Latin America. With a contemporary outlook, AfroMantra incorporates a wide variety of Jazz elements into its work, creating a palate that highlights the group’s stirring inspirations and spiritual creativity.
The group skillfully balances original compositions, drawing from Cuban, American and South American traditions and influences. AfroMantra has been playing extensively throughout New York City area and the Northeast for the past seven years in several Jazz festivals, hitting such venues as El Taller, Latinoamericano, The Izzy Bar, Zinc Bar, 17 Main, Studio 54, Arka Lounge, Nell’s, Nuyoricans Poets Café, Jazz Gallery, Satalla, Bubble Lounge and Town Hall Theater among others. They were also featured artists on Jazz at Noon, a popular New York City Jazz television show, on NBC Telemundo Network and CUNY TV. Additionally they performed at the Chenango Valley Music Festival with Grammy nominee and Master Cuban trombonist Juan Pablo Torres, San Jose Jazz Festival 2004, Festival Internacional de Santander 2006, in Spain, Latin Jazz USA Festival 2006 and Hell’s Kitchen Rhythm & Music Festival 2007. The band also appears in the books Caliente “Una historia del Jazz Latino” and “Carambola”, by critic and writer Luc Delannoy.
This project serves as a testament to this young, yet progressive and innovative enclave of instrumentalist that enriches the soul and the human spirit with music that is dynamic and powerful, crafting beautiful solos and establishing a conversation whose versatility seems to have no limits. AfroMantra’s second release, Alignment, their previous self-entitled album, AfroMantra Latin Jazz Ensemble, and his latest CD, “Uplifting Spirit”, has received extensive air-play in the national radio station around the United States and Canada. Jesse “Chuy” Varela, from the San Francisco Chronicle, Jazz Times and Latin Beat Magazine highlights this “Uplifting Spirit” as “an entrancing album full of sonic magical realism. The pieces traverse ideas and moods that stretch from one end of the hemisphere to the other taking the listener with facility and imagination through unlikely plots and connections”.
Alex Garcia’s AfroMantra latest release Uplifting Spirit/Espiritu Optimista was the #1 jazz add at college radio the week of its release and spent 5 weeks in the in the College Music Journal Jazz Top-25, 3 weeks the Top-20 and peaked at #11. The CD reached #7 on the Earshot Jazz Top-10 chart of radio airplay in Canada. The CD was in regular rotation at KSJS in San Jose, and KCSM in San Francisco, KEWU in Spokane, KUVO in Denver, WGMC in Rochester, WDNA in Miami, WRTI in Philadelphia, WNCU in Raleigh-Durham, WGBH and WFNX in Boston and WHRV in Roanoke Virginia and was featured on the nationally syndicated program “Jazz After Hours” hosted by Jim Wilke. The CD was selected as one of the top world jazz CDs of 2006 by Jeff Turton host of the weekly program “Jazz Brunch” on WFNX. Critics have hailed “Uplifting Spirit”, and Latin Beat Magazine has included it in best top 9 Latin Jazz releases of 2006. Ed Trefzger from Jazz Week raises his voice saying “Some stations still avoid Latin Jazz; if there were a release to change that tendency, this one would be it.” Curtis Davenport, from Jazz Improv Magazine believes that this last work is “a tribute to the outstanding writing and to the all-star musicians who bring the vision to life. If this is a new experience for you, I advise you to open up your mind as well as your ears and enjoy a joyous, life-affirming musical ride.” And Danilo Navas, from “LatinJazzNet.com” confirm that Afromantra, with their last creation takes “a big leap again. Solid, cohesive playing; great compositions and arrangements (all of them penned by Alex Garcia). In short, great musicianship. What else can we ask for?”