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Artist Profile · Leandro Saint-Hill



Musician & Composer, Leandro Saint-Hill

Musical talent and a passionate connection to the music was literally born to Leandro Saint-Hill Montejo. In Camagüey, Cuba, at the age of seven he first got violin lessons from his father Marcelo Saint-Hill Sweeney. At eleven he was introduced to the basics of saxophone playing by Mario Lombida, and a few years later J. Blanco & A. Thompson took over as mentors. The way was paved for an extraordinary development as a musician and composer.

After graduating from the Escuela Profesional de Musica in Camagüey, Cuba Leandro worked as a lecturer at the Conservatory in Las Tunas. He moved to Havana and worked with great musicians such as the bolero singer Beatriz Márquez, salsa star Manolín “El médico de la Salsa” or the Carlos Maza Jazz Quintet.

Leandro Saint-Hill moved to Hamburg in the mid-1990s. From here, his unique style made him one of the most sought-after saxophonists on the Latin funk scene in Europe. He expanded his instruments to include clarinet and flute and incorporated them into his studio and stage work. And he develops sophisticated compositions that are able to combine European-inspired jazz with Afro-Cuban yearning and originality.

In 2008 Leandro received a Grammy nomination for Best Instrumental Album and Best Contemporary World Music Album with Omar Sosa. With his band Saint-Hill Colectivo, he was placed on the shortlist of the Latin Grammies in 2011 in the categories of Best Engineered Album, Best New Artist and Album of the Year.

Leandro also wrote soundtracks for the road movie Cuban Dreams and the arte documentary Das Mafia-Paradies. On stage and in the studio he has been with Patrice, Jamaica Papa Curvin, Klazz Brothers, Nena, Modern Talking and Helene Fischer, among others.

Leandro tours worldwide with stars like Omar Sosa, Trilok Gurtu, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Tony Martinez and The Cuban Power, R. Santamaria or Julio Barreto. This lively international exchange also benefits his own new project: the Leandro Saint-Hill Quartet.

Leandro Saint Hill Quartet: Cadencias

New Cuban Jazz in an extraordinary mix: The top-class and international Leandro Saint-Hill Quartet from Hamburg, Germany presents his debut album Cadencias.

His international experience with renowned and top-class jazz greats led Leandro Saint-Hill to found his own quartet – with double bass player Omar Rodriguez Calvo (jazz echo winner with the Tingvall Trio), pianist Matthäus Winnitzki and percussionist Nené Vasquez.

Leandro and his musicians not only contribute their individual virtuosity as instrumentalists, they create a homogeneous, organic interplay. This creates refined interpretations full of elegance. That is why interaction with the audience on stage is of great importance. In the spirit of the music, his sophisticated compositions always have a bit of Cuban sunshine.

With this debut, Cadencias, Leandro Saint-Hill and his colleagues manage to combine the sophistication and emotional depth of modern Afro-Cuban jazz with the lightness of traditional rhythms to create an innovative style.

The album offers a carefully balanced balance of instrumental and vocal pieces that can also inspire the live audience. Traditional genres of Cuban music and their rhythms such as Danzòn, Habanera, Rumba, Son and Chachachá give the album a special lightness.

The compositions achieve a fine harmonic and melodic catchiness at the highest musical level. They also give the very charming lyrics of the vocal pieces a harmonious home.

The album is released by the Hamburg label German Wahnsinn Records.

Leandro Saint-Hill Quartet
Leandro Saint-Hill: saxophone, flute, clarinet, vocals
Matthew Winnitzki: piano
Omar Rodriguez Calvo: double bass
Nené Vasquez: percussion

Guest Musicians on the album Cadencias: piano & percussion: Omar Sosa  (3,8); violin: Marcelo Saint-Hill Sweeney (13); piano: Sandor Saint-Hill Montejo (13); backing vocals: Jocelyn Saint-Hill (3,8,12); vocals & percussion: Arturo Martinez (4,14); vocals: Fernando Spengler (2); batá: Silvano Mustelier Cabreja (8); percussion: Maurice Remedios Sarria (2,4,6,10,12,14); violin: Yanara Figueroa (13); cello: Annika Stolze (13); tres & guitar: Dany Labana Martinez (14); congas & back vocals: Elio Rodriguez Luis (1);  drums & percussion: Raul Pineda (7,8,13); percussion: Jesús Díaz (7);  alto sax & vocals: Antonio Lizana (7); piano: Tony Martinez (7).

The Saint-Hill Colectivo

Leandro realized his first own musical concept in 2008 with his band Saint-Hill Colectivo, which impressively combines different genres and styles in soul and funk. Groovy beats of the radio merge with Afro-Caribbean rhythms and form a dynamic basis for the feeling of soul, the improvisation of jazz and above all for the expressive lyrics.

The Saint-Hill Colectivo stands for a variety of musical styles. Even so, Leandro’s Cuban and Afro-Caribbean roots shine through and inspiration from great musicians like The Brothers Johnson and Maceo Parker. There is not only space here for fine solos and powerful soneos, but also for guest appearances by international greats such as Omar Sosa, Arturo Martinez, Nené Vasquez and Tony Martinez.

Saint-Hill Colectivo therefore stands for an effective symbiosis of funk / soul and Caribbean music, with a good pinch of contemporary jazz and blues. The septet is not only convincing in the studio, but above all on stage. The charming performance in connection with sophisticated music inspires every audience.

Latin Jazz Network is a project dedicated to the advancement of Latin jazz and its creators. Since 2000 LJN has been spreading the word about this wonderful music known under the umbrella term: LATIN JAZZ.

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