Although many people may not realize it, Puerto Rico is the home of a vibrant and thriving jazz scene. It is here that Latin Jazz trumpeter Charlie Sepúlveda lives and does the bulk of his playing but he is certainly no stranger to New York City.
Born in the Bronx, Sepúlveda appeared regularly in the Big Apple throughout the 70s and 80s with his cousin – a Latin Jazz pianist of some notoriety named Eddie Palmieri – and the likes of Mongo Santamaria, Dave Valentin, Tito Puente and countless others.
Charlie Sepúlveda is currently a Professor at the Puerto Rico Conservatory of music and leads one of the island’s most popular jazz ensembles, The Turnaround. The band is a collection of celebrity jazz chefs who mix together a tasty dish of Latin Jazz, hard bop and Afro-American rhythms.
“Today, what is called ‘Latin Jazz’ is different in so many ways. Earlier it was oriented towards Afro-Cuban styles,” Charlie said in an interview, “I play the traditional form of Latin jazz mixed with hard bop and always with Puerto Rican styles like Bomba, Plena, and Danza.” So it was only natural that Sepúlveda named this live recording from NYC’s jazz Mecca Dizzy’s Club, This is Latin Jazz, since it features the type of music the trumpeter grew up playing and on which he cut his musical teeth. An all-star group of his colleagues showed up to play with the band, including Randy Brecker, Miguel Zenón, Steve Turre and Néstor Torres. Sepúlveda’s cherished wife Natalia Mercado also provides a vocal on the touching ballad, “Alfonsina y el Mar.” An important recording from one of the most beloved and respected instrumentalists, leaders and composers in Latin Jazz, Charlie Sepúlveda.
Recorded at Dizzy’s Club, Jazz at Lincoln Center, New York, NY on February 7, 8 & 9, 2020. High Note Records HCD7331(US).
“Liberty” with Randy Brecker; “Tales from the Wall” with Steve Turre; “Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White” with Néstor Torres; “Alfonsina y el Mar” with Natalia Mercado; “Frenesí” with Miguel Zenón; “Estampas”; “Firm Roots” with Steve Turre.
Charlie Sepúlveda (trumpet); Norberto Ortiz (tenor saxophone); Eduardo Zayas (piano); Gabriel Rodriguez (bass); Francisco Alcalá (drums); Nicholas Cosaboom (congas).
with Special Guests:
Randy Brecker (trumpet track 1); Natalia Mercado (vocals track 4); Néstor Torres ( flute tracks 3 & 8); Steve Turre (trombone tracks 2 & 7); Miguel Zenón (alto saxophone track 5).