Saturday, July 30, 2011
What a great night it was last Wednesday! I could feel the enthusiasm and energy from the audience throughout the evening as I watched them move and tap to the rhythm of the Cuban music that we performed. If there was a dance floor, I'm sure that some of them would have been using it! Along with the applause that we recieved (after almost every number!), making eye contact with so many of the audience and seeing the excitement in thier faces was one of the greatest rewards of being a musician that I could recieve. This is the reason that I became a professional performer years ago, and it continues to drive me to reaching for higher goals in my art. For this upcoming performance (Wednesday August 3rd 7:00-10:00pm) I am preparing some new Cuban music to add to my repertiore. As usual, I am drawing inspiration and musical ideas from recordings of the great Cuban pianists who were major performing icons of the 1940's and 1950's. I also spend a lot of listening time dedicated to the music of the great "orquestras" and Cuban big bands of that time period and before. This is the only way that I can get an understanding of the true "feel" and meaning of this music. I am so thankful to live in a time when technology allows me to be able to find these restored vintage video and audio recordings so easily. When I was a teenager all that we had were records, and later cassette tapes. Now I can go online and find information about any song or artist in seconds. Well, It's time for me to get back to the piano. I hope to see you Wednesday night at Martini Beach!
Monday, July 25, 2011
As I am preparing for week #6 at Martini Beach in Cape May with my Cuban Jazz Duo, I remember that this is the week of the Puerto Rican Festival in Vineland N.J. where I now call home. I'm especially looking forward to the Saturday night event in the park which consists mainly of kiddie rides, vendors of Latin American food and novelties, and what interests me most, the continuous performances of the numerous bands. Merengue, Latin Jazz, and Salsa fill the air
as the audience moves to the rhythm, and some even dance as couples to the live performances. This is one the events that really sparked my interest in Latin music decades ago. Since then I've performed in and led a number of Latin Jazz bands and began to spice up my repertoire for the Gil Thompson Trio with Latin and Brazilian musical phrasing on the piano. As I learned more about Latin American music, I began to realize and recognize the differences of the styles of different Caribbean countries, which ultimately led me to develop a strong taste for the music of Cuba. I spent a lot of time (and money) acquiring videos, CDs and books on Cuban and Latin Jazz, concerts and musicians. I was and still am especially interested in the pre-1960 music, and the lives of the famous performers, and composers of the island, as well as the effect that history, all the way back to colonial times, influenced the development of all of the different Afro- Cuban styles of today. In my weekly performance I try to include as many of these styles as I can, from Danzon to Conga to Bolero to Guajira to Mambo and Cha-cha, as well as some Latin Jazz from the USA. Every week as I practice and study, I discover more and more how much there is to learn, and my interest in this music continues to grow and be renewed.
Thursday, July 21, 2011
My 5th week of performing Afro -Cuban music at Martini Beach as a piano and percussion Duo, and it still feels as fresh and exciting as the first night!! The staff and audience are wonderfully receptive and we always have a great time. I totally enjoy performing for and interacting with them. Between the weekly performances I'm not only arranging and learning new music, but I'm also exploring Cuban musical history and tradition, along with studying the numerous Cuban percussion rhythmic styles and piano techniques of past and current Cuban musicians. My goal is to continually grow as a Latin Jazz pianist and to improve with every performance at bringing authentic Afro-Cuban music to my audience as I continue to explore this exciting and challenging genre of music.
Friday, July 8, 2011
I'm back at Cape May with my new act, " The Gil Thompson Cuban Jazz Duo". We perform on Wednesdays at 7-10 pm featuring Piano and Latin Percussion and are coming up on our 4th week at Martini Beach Restaurant. We will be adding pictures and sound clips to the website soon. We have been very well received by the patrons and we've had a great time. If you enjoy an ocean view, Mambo & Cha cha and Mojitos, please come out and join us on a cruise to circa 1950's Havana: *a three hour tour*.