I recently finished composing and producing the music for the new podcast The Slowdown, hosted by the U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K Smith. which will premiere this coming Monday. It's a 5 minutes daily podcast in which Mrs. Smith reads and talks about a different poem. It’s one of my favorite podcast-radio shows that I’ve produced to date. You can listen and subscribe to it HERE, and subscribe. It’ll sure make your day slow down for a moment.
Charlie Chaplin's film The Immigrant (1916) accompanied by my original 2015 score will be projected as part of an itinerant exhibition called Years of Disarray 1908-1928 curated by Muzeum umění Olomouc. It'll be seen through the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary. Incredibly, the YouTube video has well over 1 Million views at this point, if you haven’t yet you can check it out HERE! Oh and don’t miss the many trolling comments trashing the music, they are something else :)
I spent part of last year writing a few pieces for solo bass and string quartet for my dear friend and bassist extraordinaire Pablo Aslán's new project Contrabajo. I'm honored that he has included two of my works on this album and you can stream it HERE or even better BUY IT HERE.. The album also features Latin masters Paquito D'Rivera and Raúl Jaurena.
Last January the journalist Larry Blumenfeldinvited me to participate in a round table discussing what it means to be a jazz musician in the age of our current president. I had the honor and privilege to sit down and converse with musicians Quiana Lynell, Terence Blanchard,Terri Lyne Carrington, Vijay Iyer, Roy Nathanson, Sara Serpa and Wadada Leo Smith about this topic. The conversation is now a Jazziz article that you can read HERE
I’m thrilled to announce a new project: An original live film score of the silent film Shoes (1916), directed by the American pioneer filmmaker Lois Weber. Shoes is a drama that follows the story of a Eva Meyer, a young woman who struggles to replace her only pair of shoes, which are falling to pieces, while supporting a family of six with deadbeat father. The score is a dialogue through time meditating on the fight for women’s rights, poverty and workers’ rights over a period of a century, reflecting how these issues continue to plague our world today.
Shoes follows up on my live score of the classic Charlie Chaplin silent film The Immigrant (2015), and continues a body of work focused on social justice commentary. It will be premiered at Jazz at Lincoln Center in the fall of 2018 (Date TBA) and it’ll feature a wonderful and diverse group comprised by some of my favorite musicians: Kavita Shah - Voice, Nadje Noordhuis - Trumpet, Amy Kang - Cello, Luis Perdomo - Piano & Keys, Christos Rafalides - Vibraphone, Shirazette Tinnin - Drums, and myself on Bass and everything else ;)
In a time in which our government is led by an alleged sexual predator, Shoes becomes a relevant statement that makes us reflect on how (or how not) we evolve as a society. One of my missions has become to bring awareness to the importance that these social issues have in our contemporary American society, and I believe that can be done one note and one day at a time.
It was an honor and a total thrill to perform The Immigrant at Winter JazzFest. The band, comprised by a mixture of seasoned and younger NYC musicians sounded phenomenal, and we got great reviews from Jazztrail, Allaboutjazz, NPR music and the NYC Jazz Record. I was especially happy to donate all the proceeds of my CD sales to the immigrant advocacy organization Make The Road New York, for a total of $314 Small actions can make a difference!
Performing The Immigrant at WJF
Jazz on the Border: International Musicians and U.S. Visas
with Antonio Sanchez, Alexis Cuadrado, Lucia Cadotsch and moderated by Matthew Covey - This panel, featuring musicians, agents, and legal professionals, will discuss ways that U.S. immigration law impacts the U.S. jazz scene. We will discuss strategies for avoiding problems, and we’ll be doing a deep dive into some of the unique challenges jazz artists frequently encounter. Special attention will be paid to the changes under the new administration.Sunday January 14th, 2:00 PM - The New School Starr Foundation Hall, 63 5th Ave, NYC - FREE with RSVP (firstname.lastname@example.org)
I'm so thrilled to be part of this year's NYC Winter Jazzfest with my live score of Chaplin's "The Immigrant". I'll have an incredible ensemble with
Román Filiú - Alto & Soprano Sax
Marcus Strickland - Tenor Sax & Bass Clarinet
Adam O’Farrill - Trumpet & Flugelhorn
Ryan Keberle - Trombone
Miles Okazaki - Guitar
Nathan Kamal - Violin
Emily Sgouros - Vibraphone
Mike Sheelar - Piano
Aron Caceres - Bass
Chris Copland - Drums
Alexis Cuadrado - Composer & Conductor
Friday January 12
NEW SCHOOL JAZZ BUILDING 2ND FLOOR THEATER
55 WEST 13TH STREET, NYC
Tickets HERE: https://venuepilot.co/events/15543/orders/new
See you all there and Happy new year!
Last summer my friend and colleague Ben Allison invited me to his house to have a nice conversation about music, improvisation, the meaning of jazz, life and more... It was a blast and Ben has it on his site, check it out HERE
Last August I was honored to be a guest speaker at The New School’s new student convocation event. I spoke about my work and its relationship with immigration, encouraged students to be themselves and also comforted their parents hopefully convincing them that their adult children were going to have a blast in the next 4 years. I was also part of a discussion panel that focused on immigration and social justice with some incredible fellow professors at TNS: Civil rights activist Maya Wiley, fashion designer Nadia Williams and writer Diana Goetsch. It was a blast! You can check it out HERE - My speech starts at 32 min and the discussion at 1:29.
Bass journalist extraordinaire Jason Heath was kind enough to feature me in his podcast Contrabass Conversations! This is not just a geeky talk friends, I think we had an interesting dialogue. Check it out HERE enjoy
On June 17th I had the pleasure to perform at the Washington D.C. Jazz Festival with Chano Domínguez's trio. We were interviewed by the Spain Arts and Culture folks who produced this nice video. It's always a pleasure and a privilege to perform with Chano, who has been one of my biggest infulences over the last 20 years.
On June 7th, I was delighted to conduct my original live score for the Charlie Chaplin film The Immigrant at the NorthSide Festival in Brooklyn. The ensemble was formed by a cohort of brilliant students from The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music. Here is a video of the performance:
It was a joy to revisit my project A Lorca Soundscape in the last few days, first in New York at my "home base" of the Jazz Gallery, and then at the International Society of Bassists conference in Ithaca, NY. The words of Federico García Lorca resonate with a new strength in a time in which basic liberties seem to be at risk, and it's a privilege to be able to revisit his message with a 21st century perspective.
I had the pleasure to perform with the amazing Claudia Acuña, Robert Rodriguez, Mark Ferber and alto sax virtuoso Miguel Zenón. Remy LeBeuf played alto with us in Ithaca for the first time, and was wonderful to have him in the group.
My dear maestro and mentor François Rabbath attended the ISB concert and it was a cathartic moment for me. He was the one who told me 20+ years ago to follow my dream, and my instincts and pursue playing and writing the music that was in my heart. I love him and owe him so much! I got all choked up having him in the audience, as it was the first time I actually performed with him in the audience, but he loved it and we played a great concert. We also raised over $300 on the spot for the ISB and their youth program.
Here are some nice pics of the events:
I'm a super fan of my dear friend Leo Sidran's podcast The Third Story. This week I happen to be his guest and in all honestly this is one of my favorite interviews I've ever done. Just two friends talking about the meaning of life, music, freedom and beyond. Hope you dig it and pls share it around! Check it out HERE
Poètica was recently featured in several Best Of 2016.
Felix Contreras' at NPR highlights Poètica in his blog Alt-Latino. Read the post "The Ones That Got Away: Music We Missed 2016"
Bird is the Work adds Poètica on their Best Of list here and say "The timeliness and relevancy of this project provides a level of clarity of no less importance than how damn amazing the music is."
The Step Tempest Best Of 16 post states that Poètica is "Urgent, thrilling, striking music that inhabits your mind with each listen."
It's an honor to be included in these lists, Thank you!