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2016 Latin Grammys Best Latin Jazz Album

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The 17th Annual Latin GRAMMY Awards returns to Las Vegas

The big event will take place at the T-Mobile Arena on Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016, and will be broadcasted live on Univision Network from 8–11 p.m. ET/PT (7 p.m. Central). The nominees competing in the Best Latin Jazz Album category are all deserving of the coveted award, with a long trajectory in the musical scene and representative of the richness and diversity of the Latin American musical traditions. Here they are.

Jobim Jazz (Ao Vivo) – Mario Adnet – Label: Biscoito Fino

jobim-jazz-ao-vivo-mario-adnetFor the legions of Brasilian – and international – fans who think back nostalgically to Antonio Carlos Jobim and his music, and marvel at the enormous pleasures that they continue to enjoy, here is evidence that such musical magic exists today. Not surprisingly this comes from the pen of Mario Adnet, whose re-imaginings of Jobim’s repertoire extend to four albums to date. Jobim Jazz – Aõ Vivo is the most recent of the series. Mario Adnet pays much more than just reverent attention to Jobim’s extraordinary music, which not only introduced his genius to the world, but also put Brasilian music on the world stage… Read our full review

Tropical Infinito – Antonio Adolfo – Label: AAM Music

tropical-infinito-antonio-adolfoThat Antonio Adolfo should be paying homage to the Jazz side of his music should come as no surprise. Like that great Cuban piano master Frank Emilio Flynn, Adolfo’s pianism shows a strong Jazz influence. But more than the fact that he has imbibed the cadence of Jazz it is these arrangements that are so special on Tropical Infinito. They tell of the uniqueness of Adolfo’s genius, which is his ability to tell stories as if he has written them. Few pianists could pounce on these pieces with such joyful momentum. Try Benny Golson’s ‘Killer Joe’ for size. No less intensity marks both meditative lyricism and the agitated outbursts of Horace Silver… Read our full review

Between Brothers – Raul Agraz – Label: OA2 Records

between-brothers-raul-agrazRaul Agraz’s Between Brothers is welcome companion to his other releases. But more than that, it is an essential part of the growing trumpet repertoire on the sheer strength of these performances. In fact, I would go even further and say that there are few musicians who appear more steeped in their worlds than Raul Agraz. On evidence committed to disc here, one senses that the pure instrumental vein and gorgeous orchestrations free his spirit like none other. This is in no way meant to take away from the performances by the cast of luminous virtuosi including Paquito D’Rivera, Dave Samuels, Luis Perdomo, Luis Quintero and… Read our full review

Big Band – Carrera Quinta – Label: Corporación Carrera Quinta Rac Producciones

big-band-carrera-quintaMusic in North America has long been enriched by the rhythmic content from traditional South American song and dance forms. The biggest influences come from Brasil and Cuba, but as musicians dig deeper into other Latin American traditions, the musical topography of other countries augments popular music in many splendoured ways. The gorgeous textures of Colombian music is often heard in contemporary popular styles – notably Jazz – and the latest of these cultural collisions comes in the form of a big band venture by Carrera Quinta. The potent voices of the band’s two composers, guitarist Javier Pérez… Read our full review

Cuba: The Conversation Continues – Arturo O’Farrill & The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra – Label: Motéma Music

arturo-ofarrill-aljo-cuba-the-conversation-continuesThe year 2015 has seen two monumental musical works where Afro-Caribbean music collides with Jazz: The first is Elio Villafranca’s suite, Cinqué which was premiered at Jazz at Lincoln Centre and has since been performed in Bolivia with the Symphony Orchestra there. The second is Cuba – The Conversation Continues by Arturo O’Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra. This large ensemble led by Mr. O’Farrill, son of the legendary Chico O’Farrill is augmented by celebrated musicians from both Cuba – including the incomparable Bobby Carcassés – and the US – starring Rudresh Mahanthappa and Michele Rosewoman… Read our full review

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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Tribute to the Masters

Tribute to the Masters: Mario Rivera

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Mario Rivera "El Comandante"

Mario Rivera was a gifted musician, composer and arranger that played more than 15 instruments, which included piano, vibraphone, drums, trumpet, timbales, congas, flute, and piccolo. But Rivera was known for how he kissed and caressed the tenor, soprano, alto and baritone saxophones. He could play all of the family of saxophones on a virtuosic level as a soloist and section player and was one of the very few saxophonists who also mastered of the flute in the Cuban charanga style. Unlike most musicians, Rivera played all these instruments at an exceedingly high level of musicianship. Rivera dominated the “straight- ahead” jazz and Latin Jazz, Salsa and many other genres.

Mario Rivera "El Comandante"
Mario Rivera “El Comandante”

Mario was born July 22, 1939 in Santo Domingo, The Dominican Republic. After he arrived in NYC in 1961, he worked with Puerto Rican vocalist Joe Valle. His most significant musical associations through the years include Tito Rodríguez (1963-65), The Machito Orchestra, Sonny Stitt, Charlie Palmieri, Eddie Palmieri, Típica 73, The George Coleman Octet, Dizzy Gillespie’s United Nation Orchestra, Slide Hampton’s Jazz Masters, the Afro Blue Band, Giovanni Hidalgo, Chico O’Farrill’s Orchestra and especially Tito Puente’s Orchestra and Latin Jazz Ensemble with whom he worked for on and off for decades.

Mario Rivera "El Comandante" the merengue-jazz - Guest: George Coleman - Groovin High
Mario Rivera “El Comandante” the merengue-jazz – Guest: George Coleman – Groovin High

Even though Rivera was one of the hardest working sidemen in the jazz and Latin music business he also led two groups of his own Salsa Refugees and The Mario Rivera Sextet. Although having appeared on virtually hundreds of recording, Mario recorded only one disc as a leader named after his sobriquet, “El Comandante.” It has fine examples of combinations of the native rhythm of his homeland, merengue from the Dominican Republic and jazz improvisation. Indeed it can be considered not only a tribute to his homeland and his mastery of jazz harmony but an homage also to one of his inspirations and yet another unsung hero, fellow Dominican saxophone master, Tavito Vásquez.

Mario Rivera "El Comandante" and "The Salsa Refugees" - Back row L-R: Mario Rivera, Andy González, Jorge Dalto, Jerry González, Papo Vázquez, Nicky Marrero - Bottom Row L-R: Elías Peguero, César Ozuna
Mario Rivera “El Comandante” and “The Salsa Refugees” – Back row L-R: Mario Rivera, Andy González, Jorge Dalto, Jerry González, Papo Vázquez, Nicky Marrero – Bottom Row L-R: Elías Peguero, César Ozuna

Rivera’s passing has been felt very hard in the Latin music and jazz community and he is sorely missed. But we have his stories, music recordings, photos, and videos to remember this grand musician because what he left us makes him truly immortal.


We leave the readers with these final thoughts from Mario himself: “In my case, the day becomes the night and the night becomes the day. There are no vehicles on the street; there are no sirens at night. There is nothing that could block the inspiration. My home is like a musical laboratory because I have to accomplish so many things, I have to learn to play so many instruments. I spend all of my free time at home, practicing like a maniac, refining my chops. This is why I play 24 instruments. When it comes to music, one must be actively militant. Music demands your entire attention and dedication. If a musician is not willing to make that commitment, he will end up floating on a sea of turds, along with the other idle and mediocre characters.”

Mario Rivera passed in August, 2007, may he play on.

Content source: James Nadal

Photos from the Facebook Tribute Page: Mario Rivera “el Comandante”

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