In Conversation with Carlos Cippelletti

Pianist, composer and arranger Carlos Cippelletti, is a promising young Spanish, Franco-Cuban artist from the last generation of Afro-Cuban jazz musicians born outside the island. He is a two-time winner of the Latin Grammy Cultural Foundation Scholarship, and four-time winner of the AIE Scholarship (artists and interpreters Association of Spain). He was awarded first prize in both the Málaga International Jazz Festival Competition, Portón del Jazz and the international 7 Virtual Jazz Club competition and was awarded for his outstanding academic achievements at the Alfonso X el Sabio University.

In 2018 Carlos toured Europe with the JM Jazz World Orchestra — the world’s premiere youth jazz orchestra led by renowned trombonist Luis Bonilla. In 2021 he graduated with a Master’s degree in Latin Jazz from Codarts University of the Arts in Rotterdam and was recently awarded a coveted Fulbright Scholarship to do a Master of Music-DMA in New York.

His most recent project and first album entitled HYBRID/C, is a musical and cultural fusion project with a common point that is Afro-Cuban music and jazz. Jazz serves as a vehicle on this journey to the roots of Cuban music and Afro-Cuban culture from a modern musical perspective. Born in Spain to a Cuban father and French mother, Carlos Cippelletti”s compositions reflect his various identities. Afro-Cuban music tradition, Jazz, Neo-Soul and classical music combine to create a sound all its own.

Carlos-Cippelletti - Photo por Victoria Sendra
Carlos-Cippelletti – Photo credit: Victoria Sendra

It is a pleasure to present this conversation/interview with Carlos Cippelletti.

How do you enter the world of music? Tell me about your formative years. Who have been your biggest influences?

Music in my family has always been present. My great-grandfather on my mother’s side, Angel García Arévalo, was a composer and professor at the Teruel Conservatory. Since I was a child, my grandmother used to tell me his stories since, in addition to being a great composer and pedagogue, he played at the Teruel Cinema and Casino. (As a little anecdote, I made a jazz adaptation of a waltz that he composed for my great-grandmother in a cell in Valencia during the Spanish civil war, which he titled “Better late than never”, since he always promised to compose a work for her). I still have his piano and the piano tradition in my family has been passed down from generation to generation, although I have been the only one since my great-grandfather who decided to make music my way of life. So the piano comes from my mother, Eva Cippelletti García.

My father Recaredo Pascual Colmillo, a Cuban born in Santiago de Cuba, was the deputy director of the Fund for Cultural Assets in Cuba and given his work, although he was never an artist, he always had a great fascination for Cuban culture and especially for everything related to the artistic, religious and cultural folklore of African descent, Yoruba (Nigeria), Bantú (Congo) among many others. As he used to say “I don’t know how to play, paint or sing, but there is no one who can beat me when dancing!” He worked with great Cuban artists, with Manuel Mendive among others, and hence my passion for Afro-Cuban music and folklore. At home you could listen to Mozart, Bach or Chopin but you could also listen to Los Muñequitos de Matanzas, Omara Portuondo, Pablo Milanés, Isaac Delgado, Rubén González, Emiliano Salvador, Irakere and especially Bebo Valdés and Chucho Valdés. When I was 10 years old, I had the pleasure of going to a concert they gave as a duo on their Juntos Para Siempre (Together Forever) tour. At that moment I think: “I don’t know how but I want to do this”.

Tell me about your mother.

My mother studied classical piano at the Paris Conservatory and when I was 6 years old I began a classical education. But since I was little I loved to play over recordings of Cuban music and jazz that my parents played in my house. She decided that she wanted me to develop my creative facet and that was when, at the age of 10-11, I began studying modern music parallel to classical music in an unregulated way. As the years passed, my love for jazz and Cuban music and its folklore only increased and were evident naturally and unconsciously in my way of playing and composing. At the age of 13 I traveled to Portland, United States as an English exchange student with the school and I happened to stay with a family of musicians, and the father of that family took me to my first Big Band concert in Seattle. Right there I promised myself that I would return to the United States to play there one day. I discovered records by Miles Davis, John Coltrane, McCoy Tyner, Bill Evans, Kenny Garrett among others that I haven’t stopped listening to. At the age of 18 I went to Barcelona to finish my professional studies at the Liceu Conservatory’s Jazz Classroom, focusing above all on jazz studies.

Carlos Cippelletti - Photo por Victoria Sendra
Carlos Cippelletti – Photo credit: Victoria Sendra

What role does Pepe Rivero play in your training as a musician?

At the age of 20 I’m introduced to the person who would change my career and my way of playing, composing and, as he says, “disorder”: Pepe Rivero. He is still one of my biggest influences and I think that will be the case for life. For 3 years I studied with Pepe Rivero in Madrid and this is where I really managed to deepen and study Cuban pianism, its tradition and folklore, all this together with jazz. During that period I play, meet and receive classes from many of the teachers who make up my project today. HYBRID/C: Bobby Martínez, Manuel Machado, Reinier Elizarde “El Negrón”, Yuvisney Aguilar and Georvis Pico.

In 2019, at the age of 23, I graduated with Pepe Rivero as my mentor, then I moved to Rotterdam to do my Master focused on Latin music, where I developed my thesis based on my HYBRID/C album. The pandemic arrives in the middle of my Master’s degree in Rotterdam and when the world seems to stop and thanks to a contest I won (7 Virtual Jazz Contest) I had the opportunity to get in touch with the record label that represents me today, OutHere Music. In the midst of world chaos, I decide to carry out all my compositions and make this HYBRID/C album, bringing together some of my favorite musicians from different generations.

When I finished my Master’s degree, I was awarded the Fulbright Scholarship to do my second Master’s degree in the United States, which will begin in September 2022. I finally keep the promise I made to myself when I was little, and I will move to this country where I will have the opportunity to not only expand my training but also take HYBRID/C to another level, and learn from American pedagogy with the desire to contribute to the preservation and development of jazz and Latin music in the world.

At what point do you decide that music is the way to go and that you want to be an artist? Do you start working for it early? Was it something conscious or rather one thing led to another and suddenly you see yourself as a professional musician?

I think it was not consciously or unconsciously that I suddenly found myself becoming a professional musician… it was a bit of both. Since I was little I have been someone very curious and creative and I have always noticed it even in my way of relating to others. One of my oldest memories is from kindergarten when the rest would go to play and I would stay painting. A colleague jerked my arm and instead of getting angry I looked at the drawing and realized that the nose I was painting was perfect, I had discovered perspective. By this I mean that I have always felt a need and almost a responsibility to dedicate myself to art. Our vocation often manifests itself in our earliest and most innocent stage, in our childhood. I try not to lose that child’s desire that is what ultimately has become my vocation, my profession and now it is practically a commitment or devotion. My parents met thanks to art and I always think that I dedicate myself to it as a celebration of my own life or existence. In my case, music has been the facet that I have developed the most, it could be anything else, but I resort to that more innocent/unconscious or natural thought that is finally what makes up our essence, we must preserve it, take care of it and work on it.

Carlos Cippelletti - Hybrid/C - Diseño de la portada por Sophie Morisson Tansini
Carlos Cippelletti – Hybrid/C – Album cover design by Sophie Morisson Tansini

Hybrid/C is an epic album, full of symbolism, of images and musical figures coming above all from the Yoruba tradition and culture, which are deeply rooted in Cuban music, in Afro-Cuban jazz, in which you navigate as fish in the water. Congratulations for this project that both captures tradition and combines it with modernity to present a relevant work, with great respect and surprising maturity. Tell me how this project was born and how you have faced each and every one of the challenges to carry it out.

Thank you for your words that flatter me, since I see in them many of my goals with this music. I made many of these compositions years ago, during my time as a student with Pepe Rivero, others came later, even a few months before the recording, in full confinement, but their development has been progressive and they have evolved a lot to what is heard and is materialized today. Indeed, the Yoruba tradition and culture and the symbolism included in this album is very great. It is a tribute to my roots, to those of many of the musicians on this album and it is also a tribute to all the children of Cubans who were born abroad and who want to preserve the cultural legacy of Cuba that is referenced here by the syncretism of the Yoruba and Bantú religions among others. My father was a palero in Cuba, a religion from the Congo and from there my interest in this spiritual culture was born.

Four years ago (2018) Pepe (Rivero) entered the classroom with a piece of paper he had found and told me: “you should participate on this, you never know.” It was a contest called 7 Virtual Jazz Contest. Truth is I submitted my work and forgot about it. Months later they contacted me to inform me that I had won the contest and that I was awarded a year of mentorship with Taklit, a Publishing and Management agency. The Manager contacted me and told me “I love your music! Do you think you’re ready to record your first album?” to which I agreed without having an exact idea of what that would really entail. At the age of 23, I designed this project in a sextet format, we sent a proposal to the OutHere Music label and they loved the idea.

In September 2019 I moved to Rotterdam, where I met other amazing musicians of my generation and decided to increase the number of musicians by adding synths and electronics. So I decided that I wanted it to be a conceptual, spiritual album that would bring together different generations of musicians from different backgrounds but with a common point: jazz and Latin music. I even decided to include the flamenco singer María José Llergo so that the album would be a true tribute to all my roots.

March 2020: The Pandemic is Announced

In March 2020 the pandemic is declared and I am confined to Rotterdam organizing the recording for 5 months. The world is paralyzed but I try to turn it around and see it as a huge opportunity since I had dedicated a lot of time and detail to the compositions and arrangements. All the synthesizer sounds and audios of Lázaro Ros were edited by the HYBRID/C keyboardist Gregorio Herreros and I remotely through online meetings. I had a lot of time to compose, arrange and organize the recording in Madrid but there was an impediment, I had to do all this from a room in the Netherlands without access to a real piano. (My great-grandfather’s story repeats itself in a way!) Organizing the recording of a first album while exercising oneself as a composer, arranger, producer and performer was a challenge. But if you add a global pandemic it becomes a story worth telling!

Given the pandemic, finding a rehearsal room was a job that took months. Everything had to be perfectly prepared in advance, including the clapperboard and the recording templates with the sound engineer Pablo Sánchez Soto. Everything had to be perfectly organized so that it could be recorded in three days. Organizing a recording in these conditions was like planning one of the robberies in the Spanish series “La Casa de Papel” (The House of Paper).

Choosing the Musicians / Organizing the Rehearsals

I managed to bring together many musicians of different styles and origins and with very complex compositions and arrangements… organizing the logistics in that situation was a challenge, especially to bring the Batá drums that traveled from Luxembourg. The measures were even stricter. We had three days to rehearse before the recording, we couldn’t rehearse as much as we wanted but the energy was so good I was convinced it would work out. I recorded in August without having played a real piano in 6 months and then the first thing I play is a Steinway grand piano… you can imagine the respect. We recorded the album in three days, and there were a lot of one-shots of solos and even full tracks like “Black Ballad” that we hardly got to rehearse. The energy was so great and positive that everything we played on this album is of total and absolute purity and honesty. The recording turned into a party. We were all connected and we understood that this album was more than music. It was a tribute to our roots from a current perspective, seen from the prism of the 21st century, with diversity, different generations working together… with folklore, jazz, electronic music and also flamenco.

Postproduction / Importance of the Video Clips

Once the recording was done, all the post-production was done through online meetings since each one was once again confined to their city or even country, with me back in the Netherlands. The cover design by Sophie Morisson Tansini was also done online, which was a real challenge as the symbolism on the cover is so great.

Another important part of the project are the video clips. During the recording of the album itself, two live video clips were made, a making of and later, a few months before the release of the album in 2021, a video clip with dancers choreographed by my sister Eva Cippelletti.

The Greatest Challenge: My Father Transforms into Music…

But the biggest challenge of all was yet to come. The release of the album was on September 24, 2021, two months before my father fell ill with COVID-19. My sister recorded the video clip for “Dinza” with the dancers while he was hospitalized and I left for a solo piano concert that I had in Italy on August 4, 2021 because he said it “would change my life”. The same day of my concert he entered a critical state and had to be intubated. Days after returning from my concert in Italy, on August 11, 2021, a month before the release of HYBRID/C, my father transforms into music. Without a doubt, this was the biggest challenge of all, but it makes me think that he is immortalized in this music, that he is part of something that we designed beyond my cultural homage. Finally, I want to tell this story because in addition to the musical tribute to my roots and mixture, I also want to dedicate it to all the people affected by this COVID-19 pandemic and encourage anyone in a similar situation to build their own tribute.

Carlos Cippelletti Grupo
Carlos Cippelletti Group

The musicians that accompany you in Hybrid/C play a very important role in the final product…

Indeed, the HYBRID/C musicians are all of extraordinary quality and bringing them all together has been a true blessing. Some of them I have been lucky enough to have as teachers and others have been colleagues throughout my career. They are all some of the most relevant artists of international Afro-Cuban jazz and jazz. Some of them have been and are members of well-known bands such as Irakere, Jaco Pastorius, Chucho Valdés, Ara Malikian, Paquito D’Rivera to name a few, in addition to their own careers, since this band is really made up of great soloists from different generations and styles that have come together to create something unique and organic. This is what has allowed me to mix different sounds, styles and genres in a kind of recipe that includes tradition, folklore, fusion and contemporary on different levels.

Carlos Cippelletti (Piano, Composition, Arrangements)
Bobby Martínez (Tenor Sax / Soprano Sax)
Manuel Machado (Trumpet)
Reinier Elizarde (Double Bass)
Georvis Pico (Drums)
Erik Larrea (Batá Drums / Congas)

Guest Artists:
María José Llergo: vocals (on track 1 & 10)
Yuvisney Aguilar: batá drums / congas / vocals (on track 4)
David Lorenzo Adkinson: sound design vocal effects (on track 9 & 10)
Alvaro Artime: trumpet (on track 7)
César Filiú: alto sax (on track 7)
Christian Murgui: bass clarinet (on track 1 & 10)

The choice of voices and songs (prayers) are very successful. What can you tell us about it?

The prayers are excerpts from audios, mainly Moyugbas, by Lázaro Ros, a famous Cuban akpuón that I have studied a lot and for whom I feel a very special admiration. I have studied many of his records and played on top of it to bring the batá to the piano, and many times I practiced on top of his Moyugbas since they are only voice and it allowed me to compose freely. The album begins with a song called “Moyugba”, it is clearly a declaration of intent and a warning that HYBRID/C is a journey and almost a spiritual ceremony. Each theme is dedicated to a deity of the Yoruba pantheon or at least the message that hides behind the meaning of the titles. For this reason, many themes include excerpts from Lázaro Ros’s prayers in which he implores the Orishas. I could have counted on someone else to sing or pronounce these prayers and then edit them, but above all I wanted to preserve the purity, the essence and the fusion of folklore with the modern. That’s why I decided to use excerpts from one of the figures that has most spread the Yoruba and syncretic heritage of Cuba, such as Lázaro Ros, modifying them to the right extent with electronic effects.

Finally in the last song “The Proverb” that closes the album, I chose an audio of a Yoruba priest from Nigeria “Okuku” from the documentary “The Return of the Drums”. I contacted the Nigerian producer Opubo Braide and Dr. Ivor Miller, who directed the documentary, to use this magical audio that speaks of the need to preserve the roots of our ancestors despite the fact that the world changes and evolves. These audios have served me to take the music to a more spiritual point, in a circular and organic way similar to that of a spiritual mass or ceremony.

The influence of Chucho Valdés and Irakere is present in your music, but more than Irakere I feel the living spirit of Chucho and his Afro-Cuban Messengers (Afro-Cuban jazz sextet format), which serves as a starting point to perform your explorations. I perceive the spirituality of Roberto Fonseca, Omar Sosa…

Many of us musicians tend to hide our influences when it comes to directly comparing our work with that of those we admire so much. That is not my case. Any attempt to hide these influences would be ridiculous on my part! One of my favorite albums by Chucho Valdés is precisely Border Free with the Afro-Cuban Jazz Messengers, which, as you say, serves as a starting point for me. As I said before, the project began as a sextet but ended up including up to 12 people as it gradually became more and more conceptual, fused and organic. I chose the fusion of jazz with the batá and the Afro-Cuban orchestration in the pure style of Irakere, the rhythm of the batá on the piano as in the Afro-Cuban Messengers and I added another musician who fulfilled the spiritual part of Omar Sosa through the electronic and the most Neo-Soul or Hip-Hop part with synthesizers and electronics. The spiritual influence that invites a ceremony is greatly influenced by “Misa Negra (Black Mass)”. Finally I wanted to include a nod to the classical music that appears in “Moyugba” and “The Proverb” by including a bass clarinet reminiscent of chamber music, and also in the solo piano part at the end of “Aite” which is an excerpt from the end of the second movement of Rubinstein’s Sonata for Piano and Viola (Op.49).

The use of electronic sound elements, keyboards, synthesizers creates a very special and exciting atmosphere…

When I was designing and writing this album, I was trying to imagine my favorite musicians playing together and creating something unique and organic. Little by little the music asked for more options, so I added a bass clarinet (Christian Murgui) to the opening theme of the album [“Moyugba”], and to the closing theme [“The Proverb”], to bring a bit of the sound of chamber music to Afro-Cuban jazz that even has certain airs of a movie soundtrack. Finally, I needed something that would make me sing, a voice that conveyed the Spanish and Arab roots, and without a doubt the voice of María José Llergo was the best option. Finally, other elements that I introduced in this music were the harmonies that are brought from the Neo-Soul of artists like Robert Glasper, and electronic effects and drum rhythms more typical of hip-hop mixed with percussion as can be heard in artists like Miles Davis or Christian Scott. I have also wanted to play with complex time signatures in order to propose agreed variations of the key itself and traditional batá touches adapted to those complex time signatures. Musically, all this fusion makes up HYBRID/C.

Chucho Valdés has said about HYBRID/C that “This album is a work of deep inspiration based on Afro-Cuban roots and Jazz, done with great quality and impeccable development by a young artist with a promising, beautiful musical career ahead.”

Having the support and review of the most influential master of this genre that I admire the most, Chucho Valdés, is without a doubt a key element of the respect and homage that I want to show for this music and its legacy.

You are moving to New York in a few months, since you received the prestigious Fulbright scholarship. What does this step mean or will mean in the advancement of your musical career?

I am moving to the United States in August of this year, 2022. I have never been to New York and for me the Fulbright scholarship is a great boost in my career because, as the Fulbright Commission itself says, “Fulbright is much more than a scholarship.” This step means a great advance since it will allow me to take my work to another level, possibly more international. I don’t know what awaits me and I don’t know if I want to know! What I am sure of is that the diversity it offers will change the way I understand music and jazz, understand its musical tradition, and it will give me the opportunity to meet great musicians and make my way in the music industry… possibly the trigger for my next project? Who knows! I think it is a very vibrant city that will allow me to introduce and develop my work in a much broader way and explore new paths.

Carlos Cippelletti
Pianist, composer, arranger Carlos Cippelletti

I imagine that you pay a lot of attention to the promotional aspect of your career, to your presence as an artist in the digital world, on social networks.

I started having social networks a few years ago, when I understood that all the promotion happens mainly through there. I do not include any personal or pure entertainment aspect in them because one of my favorite things is to enjoy my time with my friends and family, but it is true that they are an effective method to spread your work and meet other artists or connect with them. Most of my time in them is dedicated to seeing what is moving art in the world. However, I think there is still a lot to be done to give artists visibility and talking with my fellow artists many of the aspects that remain to be corrected are discussed. It is not enough with a hashtag, nor with tagging someone. The amount of material that a musician can share on social media is often limited as it takes months, even years to develop a video of a composition that may not go viral. It is betting everything on one knowing that possibly after all the time, effort and money invested, very few people will share it. However, it is the responsibility of the artists to share quality material and to make it perennial on the networks beyond the scope it may have… if it is good, I trust that it will always be successful in one way or another because it is a sincere work. We musicians work with sound and the networks have made the sound enter through the eyes rather than through the ears. This has its advantages and disadvantages, in my case I try to transform it into something positive by launching a conceptual proposal since I think that is what the art industry tends towards in general. It is no longer enough to be a good musician, performer, a good painter, designer, dancer etc., one must develop a complete and diverse product that understands globalization as something positive within everyone’s reach. In this sense, two parameters that have been imposed as a guarantee of quality intersect: one is the product itself (music, painting, dance, etc.) the other is the followers (social networks). It is the responsibility of the artist to ensure the quality of the first, and that of social networks to facilitate the diffusion and visibility of the second.

In this day and age when CDs sell much less than before and the big online music streaming companies don’t do much to promote artists and their music (and don’t compensate them as much as they should either), how do you see the future of the music industry in general?

Here is the dilemma of streaming technology! The 21st century marks a before and after in the music industry. Undoubtedly, we artists are still learning how they [streaming platforms] behave and the platforms also do the same with us. The world tends to a general dematerialization that is noticeable in the art industry, and that is largely positive because it is more ecological and contributes to an enormous and universal accessibility without discriminating against the consumer. We all have access to the same amount of information, in this case music, whenever and wherever we want. THAT’S GREAT! WE DID IT! But here there is a conflict between scientific advancement and art that must be clarified in order to work together and contribute to the common benefit. Science is always ahead of any imaginable regulation, which is good because it contributes to greater flexibility for the development of something as positive as streaming platforms. However, once these fulfill their function, a way must be found to regulate them in order to make it easier for artists to enter an amount proportional to their reach, which is measured in listeners and reproductions, and to what the physical format used to correspond to. If we realize, unlike in the past, artists are increasingly using the “single” format before releasing an album. This is because the time and amount of work behind it is much greater than it was before, since an entire product and an infrastructure are generated around that “single”. It is difficult to imagine an artistically developed society if artists do not perceive the proportional part of their contribution as such, but I am convinced that this is a long way to go and that it is the result of a technologically changing society that progresses and advances but that must gradually include the rights of artists in order to contribute to the preservation and development of art and artists.

Tell us about the educational aspect of your career, to which I see you give the attention it deserves.

Pedagogy has always interested me, both as a student and to aspire to be a good teacher. I have been lucky enough to travel and be part of good universities and music conservatories in Europe (Barcelona, Madrid and Rotterdam) at the same time that I have obtained the support of scholarships such as the AIE (Society of Performing Artists of Spain) and the Latin Grammy Cultural Foundation, which have allowed me to pay for a large part of my studies. I have always been interested in the institutional and pedagogical world. There are two main ways for me to learn, one is with teachers who inspire you, generally linked to academic institutions, and another is by putting that knowledge into practice – experience and initiative to create projects.

In my Master at Codarts University of The Arts in Rotterdam, I developed my thesis based on my HYBRID/C album: “From Afro-Cuban folk to Modern Jazz: Tradition and Avant-garde of a Genre”. Thanks to the guidance I have received from my teachers Pepe Rivero and Bobby Martínez, among others, I consider that I have developed an empathic and critical perspective, which has allowed me to project my personality with a proactive intention and an approach committed to the real problems of pedagogy and the preservation of Latin music.

Now the Fulbright scholarship is going to allow me to take this interest in academia to another level.

A New Example of Music Instruction

There is a need for a new example of musical instruction, a model for future artists who understand the centrality of their roles. Given the important contribution of Jazz and Latin Music to world culture, my goal is to formulate innovative methods of preservation and development of this artistic genre. The triple concept of the Master, and DMA (Doctor in Musical Arts) if I manage to do it in “Performance, Composition and Pedagogy” in the United States will make me “the complete artist”, also standing out as a performer, composer, arranger, teacher, director of workshops and clinics, and professor, with the purpose connatural to my career and personality to perpetuate and develop this form of art in Spain and Europe.

In order to expand my career as an artist and contribute to the promotion, development and preservation of Jazz and Latin Music in international institutions, I am going to broaden my training with the entrepreneurial and pedagogical vision offered in the United States.

Throughout my training process, musical composition has been as fundamental and significant as interpretation. Despite simultaneously studying Classical, Jazz and Cuban Music, influenced by the cultural legacy received directly from my father, who was born in Cuba, I feel the need to go beyond my role as a pianist, uniting these elements from a more modern and hybrid approach, which equally understands the importance of the level as an artist, teacher and entrepreneur. With this objective, expanding my training as a composer and performer and working with North American musicians is an essential step in my career, to apply the pedagogical methods of their institutions and companies to ours in Europe and in my case Spain.

Carlos Cippelletti
Pianista, compositor y arreglista Carlos Cippelletti

I realize you have high expectations for your next educational experience in the United States…

Studying in the United States is a unique opportunity to immerse myself in the cultural variety as well as the essence of jazz. In addition, it would mean being in direct contact, as a musician and student, with the artistic references that I have always admired.

Art has always been present in my life, since on my mother’s side, my great-grandfather was a pianist, composer and professor at the Superior Conservatory of Teruel, which may have unconsciously fueled my educational interest.

Due to my family background, I have always been curious about different cultures. At the age of 16 I had the opportunity to participate as an expeditionary with a scholarship for an original composition in the Edition of the Quetzal Route through Colombia and Spain. During the trip I met other young people from 50 different nationalities. In the same way, I have participated in different Jazz seminars abroad, such as the Berklee College of Music in Boston, in Perugia (Italy), and in a tour of the Balkans with the JM Jazz World Orchestra, among other experiences abroad that have made me an open, flexible and curious person.

Tell me about the tour with the JM Jazz World Orchestra.

During this tour, I had the opportunity to mix with some of the most promising students from universities as relevant as the Manhattan School of Music, Julliard or Temple. Without a doubt, this feeds my interest in increasing my education in American universities, since it has the necessary quality, diversity and entrepreneurship that I aspire to promote when I return to Spain.

What are your plans for the future?

In the future, I want to participate in the most relevant projects on the Latin Jazz scene, with the intention of adapting and including them locally in specific areas of Europe. This work requires a solid and hybrid training that allows me to go beyond the limits of a single discipline.

There is something in Cuban music and folklore and Ibero-American music in general that seems to interest both the most traditional and avant-garde jazz musicians. For those who feel this affinity for this genre, its fusion with other genres is undoubtedly an exciting topic of study. This is an opportunity to deepen my research from a more specific entrepreneurial and pedagogical vision in order to formulate methods applicable to this genre. Representing my country in the national and international Jazz scene is a unique opportunity to carry out the important task of building ties between the North American Jazz community and Latin Jazz. In my case, this would mean helping to promote new institutions and university music studies between Spain and the United States. In this sense, the American training is ideal for me, since it focuses on a pedagogy that seeks to create cultural and artistic links of common institutional and professional interest, which I aspire to carry out upon my return to Spain.

Photographs courtesy of Carlos Cippelletti

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

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Barretto Power: A Celebratory Reissue on its 50th Anniversary It was 1970 when Fania Records released Barretto Power, one of a series of seminal albums...

El Gran Fellové: Part 3- When my Parents…

When my parents bought their home in 1968, Sunset Beach was just another sleepy little beach town It spanned about one mile in length, sandwiched...

El Gran Fellové: Part 2- Enter Chocolate & Celio González

Early Sunday morning… I awoke to the pleasant surprise of a Google Alert in my email. I clicked to find Variety Magazine had published an...

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