Eddie Palmieri Presents Sonido Solar is due out October 28, 2022 via Truth Revolution Recording Collective
Led by Louis Fouché, Jonathan Powell, Zaccai Curtis and Luques Curtis, Sonido Solar is a thrilling passage across the Afro-Cuban jazz songbook, bringing together decades of musical collaboration under the guidance of the legendary Eddie Palmieri.
World-renowned pianist and NEA Jazz Master Eddie Palmieri has played alongside immense and gifted leaders over the course of his legendary career. Beyond his status in the realm of salsa and Latin jazz, he is known as one of the finest pianists of this century. Now 85 years old, Palmieri continues to refine his mastery by experimenting with new ensemble settings and sourcing inspiration from a steadfast, younger generation of musical cohorts. A crystallized artistry is encapsulated, both spiritually and sonically, on Eddie Palmieri Presents Sonido Solar, due out October 28, 2022 via Truth Revolution Recording Collective.
Palmieri, though heard exclusively on tracks 7 and 9, radiates throughout this new enterprise. The celebrated “Sun of Latin Music” passes the torch to lauded mentee Zaccai Curtis, who takes command of the piano on the nonet’s eponymous recording. An extraordinary recruitment of Palmieri mentees include Curtis and his brother, bassist Luques Curtis, alto saxophonist Louis Fouché and trumpeter Jonathan Powell at the helm. Fellow members of various Palmieri-led groups join these four co-leaders, including tenor saxophonist Jeremy Powell, trombonist Joe Fiedler and timbalero/trap drummer Camilo Molina, who is joined in the percussion section by Curtis Brothers band conguero Reinaldo De Jesus and Marcos López on bongos and cowbell.
A towering, 9-track collection of beloved Latin jazz standards and one original composition, Sonido Solar is fueled by the spirit of learning and fashioned by a repertoire with unique influences for each band member. “We wanted to record some of our favorite songs the way they were originally written and give fans the opportunity to listen to real, classic Latin jazz standards,” Luques Curtis shares. Teamwork and camaraderie characterized this unit’s creative process — after selecting what they agreed upon as staples in the Afro-Cuban jazz world at a roundtable discussion, the four bandleaders divided the tunes accordingly, then assigning arrangements to each other. Once they arrived at the recording session, everything was “almost fully-arranged” as Zaccai explains, leaving reserved space for the marvel of improvisation that such a band inherently warrants.
The group’s foray into the illustrious Latin jazz lexicon begins with Zaccai’s arrangement from Cuban danzonero Ernesto Abelardo Valdés. The oldest tune on the date, “Almendra,” was first heard in Valdés’ Orquesta Almendra in a charanga style setting featuring violin and flute. Fast-forwarding to the 21st Century and delving into Chucho Valdés’ AfroCuban Jazz Messengers’ songbook, the ensemble takes on a swinging staple, “Mambo Influenciado.” An expertly-navigated serpentine melodic line offers climactic timbales-conga-bongo exchanges on this co-arrangement by Luques Curtis and Louis Fouché.
Sweltering horn contributions from Jonathan Powell spotlight his arrangement of the Latin jazz classic “Mambo Inn,” recreating the full sound of a big band from this much-smaller 9-piece unit. “Maria Cervantes,” a tune regularly performed and recorded by Eddie’s older brother and piano mentor, the late Charlie Palmieri, follows. A legendary pianist in his own right, Charlie’s tremendous influence is heard through Zaccai Curtis’ arrangement of this Noro Morales original, showcasing an appealing melody and contributing a new layer to the tribute aspect of this recording. “Obsesión” is another album highlight, breathing new air into a beloved standard while capturing Zaccai’s anomalous arranging prowess over a pulsating guaguancó rhythm.
Palmieri is featured on piano for his arrangement of the Tito Puente classic “Picadillo,” enjoying an extended improvisational adventure only bolstered by his all-star rhythmic accompaniment where vigorous trumpet and alto solos ensue. The mambo master Puente is honored once more on Fouché’s arrangement of “Ran Kan Kan.”
Closing off the recording is the fiery and exclusive original, “Suite 176.” Co-written by Palmieri and Fouché, the track features an exchange between both Zaccai and Palmieri on piano. The suite number ‘176’ imposes a sentimental message, multiplying the 88 keys on a piano by two and thus emphasizing the power of the pair’s synergy. “A fitting finish to this historic encounter between a mentor and his very talented charges,” as Russo Musto describes in the album liner notes.
“I would put my reputation on the line with these musicians and countless others that have graced my performances, but I must say the last decade has rejuvenated me more than ever. The young musicians that are on this musical project have given me the fortitude to write and play piano at another level,” Palmieri shares. Sonido Solar captures an inimitable musical output from a cast of forces who have evolved in unison, accentuating more than their common ground, but a shared penchant for making timeless sounds appear brand new.
Bobby Sanabria MULTIVERSE Big Band to release new recording: “Vox Humana”
Celebrating 25 years! The multi-Grammy nominated Bobby Sanabria MULTIVERSE Big Band is set to release their new recording: “Vox Humana” featuring vocalists Janis Siegel, Antoinette Montague, Jennifer Jade Ledesna.
Recorded Live at Dizzy’s Club Cola in NYC
Release Date: Spring 2023
Record Label: Jazzheads
New York – January 18th – On the heels of their Grammy nominated and 2019 Jazz Journalists Association Album of the Year Award winning critically acclaimed masterwork, West Side Story Reimagined, and in celebration of their 25th anniversary – drummer, percussionist, composer, arranger, bandleader, educator, Bobby Sanabria and his Multiverse Big Band return with their most ambitious work to date, VOX HUMANA.
Bobby states, “Over the course of our many Grammy nominated albums we’ve occasionally featured tracks with vocals. But I’ve always envisioned doing an entire vocal album framed by the Multiverse Big Band. Now with three of today’s greatest contemporary singing talents – multi-Grammy award winner Janis Siegel from the Manhattan Transfer, blues and jazz Queen Antoinette Montague, and the multilingual powerhouse, Jennifer Jade Ledesna, today that vision has finally become a reality.
The individually distinct voices that Janis, Antoinette, and Jennifer possess make them each unique. But the X factor they all have is they are all masterful improvisors in the best sense of the jazz tradition. Added to the mix is our great conguero, Oreste Abrantes, who also sings lead on two tracks. Having that multi- dimensional vocal talent framed by the power, nuance, and tonal variety that only a big band can provide, combined with the repertoire I’ve chosen to showcase them and the band and the incredible variety of Afro- Latin, straight ahead swing, funk, R&B, and rock rhythmic vocabulary that we are masters of and readily have at our disposal in the Multiverse, I believe VOX HUMANA will prove to be our greatest achievement.
That repertoire has a personal meaning to me as I see VOX HUMANA as a biographical work. I’m a product of my environment. I’m a Nuyorican, a person of Puerto Rican descent growing up in New York City. In my case the South Bronx during a time period when pop, jazz, R&B, rock, funk, and Latin music of all kinds all co-existed as equals. It was the last era when the big bands of masters like Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Buddy Rich, Machito, Tito Puente, Tito Rodriguez, Don Ellis, and more were in the public eye, and they became my heroes. Vocalists who could deliver a message with subtlety, nuance, and when needed, power, were called upon to deliver poetry crafted by genius song writers. You’ll hear all that and more through the soaring vocals and improv talents of Janis, Antoinette, and Jennifer, along with Oreste, as well as the incredible jazz-oriented arrangements and exciting Pan Afro-Latin rhythms played by a big band that literally takes no prisoners when it hits the stage.”
The repertoire Bobby speaks of includes 1 original and 12 unique re-workings of pop hits like Spooky, Christine Aguilera’s Genie In a Bottle, and Steely Dan’s Do It Again; NEA Jazz Master Eddie Palmieri’s, Mi Congo and Puerto Rico along with the island’s greatest composer, Rafael Hernandez’s, Capullito De Aleli; the classic Joe Cuba R&B bolero, To Be With You; Brazilian standards Partido Alto and Amazonas; and from the world of Broadway theater, I Love You Porgy, and the iconic jump blues, Let The Good Times Roll. The CD also includes an original message bearing piece, Who Taught You That, as well as what may possibly be the most exciting interpretation of the Ellington associated classic, Caravan, and that has ever been recorded.
Adding to the excitement of the performance, VOX HUMANA was recorded in front of a live audience. Bobby states, “As with our previous work, we recorded VOX HUMANA live at NYC’s Dizzy’s Club Coca – Cola. My musicians represent NYC’s finest. That means they’re the greatest in the world. The added level of excitement created by the audience inspired us in the MULTIVERSE Big Band to a heightened new level of performance virtuosity that listeners will hear explode out of the speakers just as the audience at Dizzy’s experienced in person.”
The history of the Bobby Sanabria MULTIVERSE Big Band is indeed one based on his rich multi-cultural heritage as a Nuyorican growing up in New York City’s South Bronx. His concept of having a big band that has no genre boundaries with limitless possibilities was forged 25 years ago back in 1998. It has yielded a series of groundbreaking, critically acclaimed albums that have all been Grammy-nominated with the band thrilling audiences worldwide at venues like the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, The Ravinia Festival, Verona Jazz Festival in Europe, and more.
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