Monday, July 25, 2011

Week #6 at Martini Beach in Cape May !

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.

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