NEA Latino Master Papo Vázquez & The Mighty Pirates Troubadours Celebrate 40 Years at Hostos Community College
As a trombonist Papo Vázquez has a voice of extraordinary purity, flawless in his intonation, perfectly balanced across his entire range and always “singing” with effortless composure. His performances are magical, utterly charming and superbly sensitive. He also brings considerable warmth and a potent dramatic presence to the Mighty Pirates Troubadours. In the performances that he shares with other members of the band he makes the voices coalesce so completely that the effect is quite spectacular.
— Raul da Gama – Senior Writer and Editor, Latin Jazz Network
SATURDAY, APRIL 30, 2016, 7:30 PM with special guests, trumpeter/vocalist Jerry Medina, vibraphonist Joe Locke and surprise guests.
Trombonist, composer, arranger, leader, NEA Latino Jazz Master Papo Vázquez was born in 1958 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. After spending his early years in Puerto Rico, he grew up in the heart of North Philadelphia’s Puerto Rican community.
At the age of fifteen, he was performing with local bands in Philadelphia. At the age of seventeen, he moved to New York and was hired to play with the legendary Cuban trumpeter, Chocolate Armenteros, followed by top artists in the salsa scene, including The Fania All-Stars, Ray Barretto, Willie Colon, Larry Harlow, and Héctor Lavoe among others.
During the 1970s, Vázquez was a key player in the New York’s burgeoning jazz and Latin jazz scene. He performed with jazz luminaries Slide Hampton, Tito Puente, Dizzy Gillespie, Frank Foster, Mel Lewis, Hilton Ruiz and toured Europe with the Ray Charles Orchestra. He is also a founding member of Jerry Gonzalez’s Fort Apache Band, Conjunto Libre, and Puerto Rico’s Batacumbele.
Vázquez explicitly cites the music of John Coltrane and J.J Johnson as an influence. Moreover, his appreciation and vast knowledge of Afro-Caribbean music provide him with the unique ability to fuse Afro-Caribbean rhythms, specifically those from Puerto Rico, with freer melodic, harmonic elements and progressive jazz.
Vázquez’s Honors and Awards include Grammy nominations for Best Jazz Instrumental Album, Wayne Shorter’s Alegria and Bebo de Cuba. He is the recipient of the Taller de Jazz Don Pedro Award (Puerto Rico); made Downbeats list of, “Talent Deserving of Wider Recognition (1980), Clef Club Jazz Award (2015) and is recognized by Latin New York magazine as Best Trombonist (1979, 1980).
Recently, Vázquez was honored by Arturo O’ Farrill and the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra as one of the great sidemen of Latin jazz.
His most recent recording, Spirit Warrior is a significant step forward in a career that has consistently honored and advanced Puerto Rico’s musical traditions and the jazz tradition. The album has received accolades from fans, critics and Jazzdelapena.com, Latin Jazz Network, The Latin Jazz Corner and the New York City Jazz Record, who cited it as one of the Best Latin Jazz Albums of 2015.
Join trombonist, composer, arranger, leader, innovator, and national treasure, Papo Vázquez as he celebrates 40 years.