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Artist Profile · Humberto Ramírez

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Humberto Ramírez

Mention the name Humberto Ramírez to Latin Jazz fans, and it’s his virtuosic, hard bop- rooted skill as a trumpet soloist and leader of his innovative group that will quickly come to mind. Aficionados of contemporary tropical latin dance music will instantly recognize his contributions as an arranger, composer and producer for such tropical music icons such as Willie Rosario, Tony Vega, Olga Tañón, Marc Anthony, India, Rubén Blades, Cheo Feliciano, Willie Colón, Brenda K. Starr, Roberto Roena and a multitude of other salsa luminaries. He brings to Latin Jazz the very best of many different musical genres to create a unique musical style.

Ramírez grew up in a household steeped in the music of Tito Puente, Tito Rodríguez, Machito, Cal Tjader, Miles Davis, Lee Morgan, Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane. His father, a saxophone player and bandleader inspired a young Humberto to take up the flugelhorn at age 11. By age 14, Humberto was already performing professionally with his father’s band and taking orchestration courses with bass player Inocencio “Chencho” Rivera. At age 18, after graduating from Escuela Libre de Música in San Juan, he pursued a career in music enrolling at Berklee College of Music in Boston where he earned a Bachelor of Music Degree with a Major in Jazz Composition and Arranging in 1984. He also studied Film Music Composition at Dick Grove School of Music in Los Angeles, California.

After getting his college education, Humberto returned to Puerto Rico and in 1985 began working with Master timbalero and band leader Willie Rosario, one of the most popular salsa orchestras at the time. In 1989 he became musical director for salsa sensation Tony Vega and in 1999 musical director for tropical music star Olga Tañón. During that period he established himself as one of the top producers /composers/arrangers in the industry collaborating also with reaggeton artists such as Daddy Yankee, Tito El Bambino and Zion showing his proven ear working with different musical styles.

His dream was always to develop a career as a Jazz musician. In 1992 he released his first recording as a leader for the Tropijazz Label, Jazz Project. He has since shared the stage or has recorded with Jazz and Latin Jazz greats such as Freddie Hubbard, Eddie Gómez, Alex Acuña, Chick Corea, Justo Almario, McCoy Tyner, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Tito Puente, Airto Moreira, Flora Purim, Herbie Hancock, Michael Brecker, Michel Camilo, Dave Valentín, Hilton Ruiz, Paquito D’Rivera, Ray Santos, Gato Barbieri, Terence Blanchard, Chucho Valdés, Stanley Clarke, Ray Barretto, Gato Barbieri, Eddie Palmieri, Mario Rivera and Herb Alpert with whom he recorded the album Passion Dance, as well as joining him on Alpert’s 1997 world tour.

His music has received unprecedented attention from major publications and music journals including, Down Beat, Jazz Times, New York Daily News, Jazziz, CD Review, Latin Beat, The Plain Dealer, The Boston Globe, Miami Herald, Austin Chronicle, USA Today and Hispanic Magazine. He has 26 recordings as a leader where he has performed with many ensemble formats, duets, trios, quartets, quintets, sextets, octets, strings orchestra, and his favorite, Big Bands.

In 2005 he founded Nilpo Music, his own record label. Based in Puerto Rico the label only releases Jazz recordings. In 2008 he started performing every week with his Big Band in a one of a kind event. Today Big Band Mondays is a huge success in Puerto Rico where every Monday night music lovers listen to the unique sound of a Big Band live. He also produces his own Jazz Festival every year the last weekend of January, Puerto Rico Jazz Jam at legendary and beautiful Tapia Theater in Old San Juan and his radio show airs live every Wednesday at 7PM on WORO 92.5FM in Puerto Rico, Jazz Intimo con Humberto Ramírez.

Humberto has received four Grammy nominations for his production work including Willie Rosario Nueva Cosecha in 1986, Willie Colón Hecho in Puerto Rico in 1993, Tony Vega in 1996 and Olga Tañón Olga Viva, Viva Olga in 2000. He won the Grammy in 2000 with Olga Tañón’s album. He received a Latin Grammy nomination in 2013 for his album Sentimentales with Lucy Fabery. Other awards include, twelve gold records, six platinum records, four Visionary awards and one Ampex Golden Reel award. He has also had the honor to play at the White House for President Bill Clinton in 1997 and for President Barack Obama in 2009.

Over the years Humberto Ramírez has showed that his music is a portrait of Latin Jazz roots, its place in the music world today and what the future holds for the genre.

Reconocido como uno de los músicos más innovadores de su generación, Humberto Ramírez creció en un hogar donde se escuchaba la música de Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane, Lee Morgan, Tito Puente, Tito Rodríguez, Cal Tjader y Machito. Su padre, quien es saxofonista y director de orquesta, fue quien lo inspiró a tocar el “flugelhorn” a los 11 años. Ya a los 14 años, Humberto se presentaba profesionalmente con la orquesta de su padre y a la misma vez tomaba cursos de orquestación con el bajista Inocencio “Chencho” Rivera. A los 18 años, luego de graduarse de la Escuela Libre de Música de San Juan, su interés en componer y hacer arreglos musicales lo motivó a matricularse en Berklee College of Music en Boston, Massachussets donde obtuvo su bachillerato en música, luego estudió composición y orquestación para cine y televisión en Dick Grove School of Music en Los Angeles, California.

En 1985, y por un periodo de cuatro años, Humberto trabajó con la orquesta de Willie Rosario, una de las bandas más populares de Puerto Rico. En 1989 se convirtió en el director musical de Tony Vega. Su admirable capacidad como productor y arreglista lo llevó a realizar importantes colaboraciones con grandes figuras de la música. En 1999 asumió la dirección musical de la estrella del merengue y de la música tropical Olga Tañón. Su trabajo como productor, arreglista, compositor y director para artistas de la música tropical como Willie Colón, Gilberto Santa Rosa, Marc Anthony, India, Domingo Quiñones, Lourdes Robles, Rubén Blades, Brenda K. Starr, Tito Nieves, Víctor Manuelle y otros, lo ha establecido como uno de los arreglistas y productores más activos de la industria. Además ha tenido la responsabilidad de dirigir los conciertos de importantes exponentes del reggaeton como Daddy Yankee, Tito El Bambino y Zion, lo que demuestra innegablemente su amplio dominio musical en diversos géneros.

Su gran sueño siempre fue desarrollar una carrera en el Jazz. En 1992, Humberto Ramírez debutó como líder de grupo en su primera producción para el sello Tropijazz titulada Jazz Project. Desde entonces ha compartido el escenario con importantes músicos de Jazz como Freddie Hubbard, Justo Almario, Alex Acuña, Chick Corea, McCoy Tyner, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Tito Puente, Hilton Ruiz, Michel Camilo, Herbie Hancock, Eddie Gómez, Michael Brecker, Paquito D’Rivera, Chucho Valdés, Ray Santos, Gato Barbieri, Terence Blanchard y Herb Alpert, con quien grabó el disco Passion Dance. Su música ha recibido excelentes críticas de prestigiosas publicaciones como, Down Beat, Jazz Times, Jazziz, Latin Beat, CD Review, Hispanic Magazine, New York Daily News, The Plain Dealer, Miami Herald, The Boston Globe y Austin Chronicle.

A partir del lanzamiento de su primera propuesta discográfica, Humberto Ramírez se ha consolidado como el más importante exponente e impulsor del Jazz en Puerto Rico. Ha grabado 26 discos en los cuales ha experimentado con todo tipo de formatos: duetos, tríos, cuartetos, quintetos, sextetos, octetos y Big Bands. Sus colaboraciones con el grupo Rumbantela y con la reina del filin, Lucy Fabery han recibido grandes elogios de la crítica especializada. En el año 2005 fundó su propio sello discográfico, Nilpo Music y el pasado año comenzó a presentar su propio festival de Jazz: Puerto Rico Jazz Jam marcando una nueva etapa en su carrera musical. Este año 2011 celebra sus 20 años cultivando la difícil expresión del Jazz, carrera que comenzó con su debut como líder en la primera edición del Puerto Rico Heineken Jazz Fest en junio de 1991. Este año 2016 celebra sus 25 años.

Humberto Ramírez ha recibido 4 nominaciones al premio Grammy como productor. Su primera nominación fue por el disco Nueva Cosecha de Willie Rosario en 1985, luego por Hecho en Puerto Rico de Willie Colón en 1993, Tony Vega en 1996 y Olga Viva, Viva Olga de Olga Tañón que lo hizo merecedor del premio Grammy en el 2000. En el 2013 fue nominado al Grammy Latino por su disco Sentimentales junto a Lucy Fabery. Entre los galardones que ha recibido se encuentran 6 discos de Platino, 12 discos de Oro, 4 “Visionary Awards” y seis premios “Tu Música”. Ha recibido homenajes por el representante del estado de Ohio, Dennis J. Kucinich y por el Senado de Puerto Rico.

En 1997 tuvo el honor de amenizar en la toma de posesión del Presidente de Estados Unidos, Bill Clinton en Washington, D.C. En octubre de 2009 fue invitado a tocar en la Casa Blanca para el Presidente Barack Obama.

Luego de haber recibido varios premios y nominaciones, al igual de haber grabado éxitos discográficos propios, Humberto Ramírez demuestra que su explosión creativa aún está en sus comienzos.

Founder, Editor, Webmaster: Latin Jazz Network, World Music Report, That Canadian Magazine. A passionate and committed communicator with a sensibility for the arts based in Toronto, Canada.

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Artist Profiles

Artist Profile: Adrien Brandeis

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Pianist, composer, Adrien Brandeis
Jazz pianist and composer, Adrien Brandeis

Adrien Brandeis is a french jazz pianist and composer born in Annecy. After studying at the Nice conservatory, he moved to Paris in 2018 to study with Manuel Rocheman and graduated from the CRR conservatory in Paris.

In 2017, he produced and released his first album in quintet Euforia, which had great recognition and international success after performing in Asia (Jazzmandu Festival in Nepal, Kolkata International Jazz Festival in India).

Euforia put Adrien Brandeis, in the spotlight of the Jazz scene, and led him to be awarded the prestigious Letter One Rising Stars Jazz Award 2018. This award, which recognizes the best young European jazz artist of the year, opened the doors for him to share his music on the biggest European stages during the summer of 2019: Nice Jazz Festival (France), Umbria Jazz Festival (Italy), Leopolis Jazz Festival (Ukraine), Love Supreme Jazz Festival (England), Heineken Jazzaldia Festival (Spain), Kongsberg Jazz Festival (Norway), JazzOpen Stuttgart (Germany).

Adrien Brandeis: Euforia
Adrien Brandeis: Euforia

Subsequently, he toured Mexico to present Euforia in trio, at the International Jazz and Blues Festival of Zacatecas 2019 and in several theaters in the center of the country.

On the French scene, he has won numerous awards: first prize at the Jazz à Juan 2017, public prize at the Jazz 2017 in Porquerolles, among others.

In Paris, he has collaborated with numerous musicians such as Orlando Poleo, Inor Sotolongo, Damian Nueva, Arnaud Dolmen, Abraham Mansfaroll, Felipe Cabrera and Philippe Ciminato.

Very attached to Latin music, he went to study in Havana, Cuba, with Ernán López-Nussa to perfect his piano skills, in September 2019.

These trips and experiences enriched his piano playing and allowed him to write his second album Meetings, a quartet album with Damian Nueva, Arnaud Dolmen, Inor Sotolongo and special guest Orlando Poleo.

Adrien Brandeis featuring Orlando Poleo: Meetings
Adrien Brandeis featuring Orlando Poleo: Meetings

Meetings, released in October 2020, allows him to move towards a more modern sound while maintaining a certain freshness. It was selected as one of the best jazz albums in France in 2020 by TSF Jazz radio.

In 2021, Meetings is presented more than 30 times; including festivals and clubs in France (Altitude Jazz Festival, Festival Jazz en Sol Mineur, Festival Musique en Cour, Duc des Lombards) as well as in Mexico (Festival Internacional de Polanco, Festival Internacional de Irapuato, Ciclo de Jazz del Forum Cultural Guanajuato, Festival EuroJazz, Festival Cultural de Mayo in Jalisco).

After two tours in Mexico in May and November 2021, where he was very well received by the Mexican public, he created a strong bond with this country and was fascinated by its culture and the places he visited.

It is then, that he decided to record his third album Siempre más allá, a testimony of his experiences and his personal tribute to Mexico.

Adrien Brandeis: Siempre Más Allá
Adrien Brandeis: Siempre Más Allá

This album was recorded as a quartet, with the musicians with whom he had shared the stage a few months before: Giliard Lopes (Brazil), José Loria Triay (Mexico) and Roberto Vizcaíno Jr. (Cuba).

Roberto Jr. Vizcaino, Adrien Brandeis, Roberto Vizcaino Guillot, Giliard Lopes, Pepe Triay - Photo: Nayeli Mejia.
Roberto Jr. Vizcaíno, Adrien Brandeis, Roberto Vizcaíno Guillot, Giliard Lopes, Pepe Triay – Photo: Nayeli Mejia.

He also had the collaboration of two great Cuban musicians of the international jazz scene: Horacio “El Negro” Hernández and Roberto Vizcaíno Guillot.

In the summer of 2022, he had outstanding participations in the A to jazz Festival (Bulgaria), Jazz à Toulon (France) as well as a special invitation to the San Jose Summer Jazz Festival (USA). He even had the opportunity to arrange and present his music in Piano Solo in Portugal and England.

YouTube Video – Adrien Brandeis – Siempre más allá (EPK)

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