Street Date: October 5, 2015
“His style on the instrument is inventive, engaging, and musical, with flawless technique to spare. Irizarry is easily the most interesting living timbalero.” Eric C. Gutierrez, allmusic.com
“Ralph’s eye is unerring, the songs swing and keep you cheering in admiration – what more could anyone ask for?” Rubén Blades
20TH ANNIVERSARY marks the highly anticipated return of master timbalero, Ralph Irizarry and his hard-hitting Latin jazz septet, Timbalaye, whose genesis dates back to 1996, when he created a septet with Latin percussion (timbale and conga) as its focal point over the typical drum set, and combined it with progressive compositions and arrangements, contemporary jazz harmonies, and the rhythms of Puerto Rico, Cuba, Latin America, and Africa.
Between 1998 and 2007, Timbalaye toured, thrilled audiences and consistently received standing ovations performing the music of three highly acclaimed CDs that have stood the test of time: Ralph Irizarry & Timbalaye, Best Kept Secret, and It’s Time. As Irizarry points out, “what you hear on the record is what you will hear onstage”.
Irizarry disbanded the group but in its absence developed a “cult” following of young, up and coming musicians influenced by his music. 20th Anniversary is the result of an inter-generational triumph that bridges the gap between Timbalaye fans, past and present and features some of the musicians who yearned to see the band return. “The recording is very important to me personally,” says Irizarry, “there was a (long) pause in the group’s performances but I always knew we would return. Timbalaye is back, stronger than ever. We’re hungry to hit stages everywhere.”
The CD opens with Gotham Town, which captures the rhythm section’s interplay that defines Timbalaye’s trademark sound. Band alumni, Luis Perdomo, Ricardo Pons and Bobby Franceschini composed Ocean Parkway (the street where Timbalaye began twenty years ago), Monte Adentro and La 104. Timbulería is a flamenco tune in 2/3 and Monte Adentro’s Villaran rhythm swings. Pa’l Solar and Back In The Hood were not specifically written for Timbalaye, but after listening to the tunes, Irizarry decided they could be molded into Timbalaye’s sound.
In the history and evolution of Timbalaye, 20th Anniversary represents a landmark moment, filled with music that appeals to listeners, dancers and anyone who appreciates Latin jazz. It’s the album Timbalaye aficionados have been waiting for!
Ralph Irizarry is a self-taught musician whose love for the instrument has fueled his career since 1970. He continues to perform with his dance band, Son Café and work as a sideman with acclaimed artists. He is a much sought-after studio musician who has played on countless jingles, film, and television scores. In addition, he has performed, recorded, and toured with the likes of Harry Belafonte, David Byrne, Celia Cruz, Paquito D’Rivera, Juan Luis Guerra, Earl Klug, Israel Lopez “Cachao,” Wynton Marsalis, Paul Simon and many others. Irizarry has also appeared on the Johnny Carson Show, the David Letterman Show, as well as Don Francisco’s Sabado Gigante and Raul Velasco’s Siempre en Domingo. Irizarry has been featured in the major motion film the Mambo Kings and documentaries such as Harry Belafonte’s Routes of Rhythm, Cachao’s Como Mi Ritmo No Hay Dos, and The Life of Ruben Blades.
1. Gotham Town (4:55, Featured Track).
2. Ocean Parkway (5:57)
3. Back In Da Hood (5:44)
4. Witch Doctor (5:27)
5. Timbulería (4:30)
6. Monte Adentro (6:10)
7. La 104 (4:47)
8. P’al Solar (3:36)
Adan Pérez: Piano
Alex Apollo Ayala: Bass (1-3, 5-6)
Israel Cedeo: Bass (4, 8)
Hommy Ramos: Trombone
Aníbal Rojas: Tenor Sax
Dennis Hernández: Trumpet
Robert Quintero: Congas, Chequere, Guiro (1-3, 5-6)
Sebastian Nickoll – Congas, Bongos (4, 7-8)
Ralph Irizarry – Timbal Kit
Rubén Rodríguez – Bass (7)
Bobby Franceschini – Tenor Sax (7)
Jonathan Powell – Trumpet (7)
Eric Chacon – Flute (3)
Christian Nieves – Cuatro (5)
José Eduardo Santana – Guicharo (6)
Willie Ruiz – Guiro, Maracas (4,8)
Gonzalo Grau, Ernesto Briceo, Roberto Castillo – Palmas (5)