Elio Villafranca Releases New Album: ‘Standing by the Crossroads’

A Note From Elio Villafranca:

Growing up in Cuba, I saw how different religions are intertwined with the cultural fabric of the country. In many of these different religions represented in Cuba, people see the crossroads as a place of great significance. It was the spiritual concept of the crossroads that touched me the most and inspired me to create my second record in a musical trilogy that honors my ancestry and my life as a Jazz artist.

Welcome to my new project, Standing by the Crossroads.

While working on Standing by the Crossroads, I will also be adding to a booklet that will connect you with my music and life in a deeply personal way. I want to bring you along with me as I work on this double album that I am very passionate about. This is a project that speaks about my own life experiences as an artist living in Cuba, and the many crossroads situations that I have encountered throughout my life. While this project will focus primarily on my life, Standing by the Crossroads will explore a universal feeling so many of us have faced when we are looking down two different paths and must decide which one we will embark on.

Join me as I set out on a creative journey to complete the second record in a musical trilogy that has meant so much to me. – Elio Villafranca

Elio Villafranca Releases New Album: 'Standing by the Crossroads'
Elio Villafranca Releases New Album: ‘Standing by the Crossroads’

Two-time Grammy® nominated Cuban jazz pianist, composer, and a 2021 recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship Elio Villafranca, has created a new work entitled Standing by the Crossroads. This piece, different than his previous work CINQUE, speaks about his life experiences as an artist, growing up in the small town of San Luis, Pinar del Rio, surrounded by Congolese drums, educated in Russian classical music, while falling in love with jazz. In this project, Elio also speaks about his experiences as an immigrant, living in the US, and the many Crossroads situations he faced in both countries.

Inspiration

In Cuba, religions are very intertwined with the cultural fabric. Santeria, Arará, Abakuá, Congo, Tumba Francesa, Gangá, albeit different, have two things in common— the veneration of their gods and the way in which they see the Crossroads as a place of great significance. In Elio’s case, it was the spiritual concept of the Crossroads that touched him the most. Standing by the Crossroads is a project that speaks about Elio’s own life experiences as an artist living in Cuba, and the many artistic, social, and political Crossroads situations he encountered, either choosing from polarized musical styles or artistic forms of expression, to painful moments in life when he was forced to choose between staying or leaving his country of birth. Unlike Elio’s previous projects, in which he focused on honoring the legacy of historical figures such as CINQUE, these Crossroads experiences served as the source of inspiration for the creation of this new work.

Band Members

  • Elio Villafranca – piano/compositions/ekón/guataca/coros/hand claps
  • Vocalist: Cécile McLorin Salvant
  • Vocalist: Mar Vilaseca
  • Vincent Herring – alto sax/flute/clarinetn
  • Freddie Hendrix – trumpet/flugelhorn
  • Dayna Stephens – tenor sax/bass clarinet
  • Jonathan Kreisberg – electric guitar
  • Domo Branch – drums
  • Edward Pérez – acoustic bass
  • Jonathan Troncoso – bata drums/coros/hand claps
  • Mauricio Herrera – bata drums/congas/bonko enchemiya/coros/moyuba/hand claps 
  • Jason Olaine – coros/hand claps

Special Guests:

  • Guillermo Guillen – Spanish guitar on “Keep the Eyes on the Bull”
  • Jason Olaine and Elio Villafranca – Production 
  • Reece Ewing – co-production
  • Recorded at Oktaven Audio, NYC
  • Charles Muller – Recording engineer
  • Mastered at Sterling Sound
  • Greg Calbi – Master engineer
  • Kevin Le Gendre – Editor

Content Source: Scott Thompson PR
Featured photo of Elio Villafranca by Kasia Idzkowska

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.

More from author

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related posts

11,403FansLike
1,661FollowersFollow
656FollowersFollow
1,857FollowersFollow
5,657FollowersFollow
165SubscribersSubscribe

Featured Posts

Omar Sosa’s 88 Well-Tuned Drums: A Film by Soren Sorensen

Anyone approaching this film about the iconic Cuban composer and pianist Omar Sosa, by the award-winning filmmaker Soren Sorensen will be almost immediately struck...

Danilo Pérez featuring The Global Messengers: Crisálida

Danilo Pérez began forming his worldview - and aligning his music to it - ever since he came under the sphere of influence of...

The Feeling Messengers, Past and Present (Part II)

Miguelo Valdés & The New Messengers Of Feeling Miguel Valdés, or “Miguelo”, as he has since become known, was born in the province of La...

The Feeling Messengers, Past and Present (Part I)

Preamble Within the current renaissance of popular Cuban music, coupled with the seemingly eternal presence of its first cousin American Jazz, we are once again...

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...

Celebrating Jane Bunnett: Spirits of Havana’s 30th Anniversary

After dark they gather, the spirits of Havana. Is that a ghostly, but fatback-toned rapping down in the barrio where the great composer and...

Piazzolla Cien Años: Lord of the Tango@100

There is a now famous photograph of the great Ástor Piazzolla that is iconic for so many reasons. Chief among them is the manner...

Omara Portuondo, Multifaceted Gem of Cuban Music

My moon app announces that in 14 hours the Supermoon of May will be here. During a full moon I often get inspired to...

Ray Barretto · Barretto Power

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...

Join our mailing list

Participate in contests, giveaways and more