Ramiro Flores was born on January 12, 1977 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He began his musical training through the alto saxophone at the age of 11 years. He studied composition at the UCA and saxophone at the National Conservatory, while both played in the band folklorist César Isella, in addition to various projects.
In 1998 he traveled to Boston to continue his studies at Berklee College of Music, where he studied with musicians such as Joe Lovano, George Garzone and Jerry Bergonzi among others. He graduated with a dual major in Film Scoring and Performance in 2002 before moving to New York and continued developing his musical career in this city.
During this period he collaborated with Pedro Giraudo, Mr. Live Big Band, Pablo Ablanedo, The Monkeys, Ryle’s Big Band, Jerry Bergonzi and Slide Hampton. For a period he worked as a show band musician for Carnival Cruise Lines, was a composer for American Music Co. and wrote a book of instruction flute, and recorded for Music Sales Corporation NYC. He began his development as a leader to form his own band and performing his own music in Boston and New York.
Returning to Argentina in 2005, he participated in the projects of the local jazz including Mariano Otero, Ligia Piro, Juan Cruz de Urquiza, Pepi Taveira and Javier Malosetti amongst numerous others. The following year he won “80mundos, and by 2007 he produced and recorded his first CD “Flowers”, for BAU records, in which he collaborated with the likes of Juan Quintero,
That same year in December he received the Clarín Award as the revelation of jazz, voted best soprano saxophonist in 2008 by the newspaper La Nación. Alto saxophonist Ramiro Flores released his sophomore project “Son Dos” and continues to perform.
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Danilo Pérez was born on December 29, 1965 in Panama and started his musical training at 3 years old on bongos with his father Danilo Sr., a professional bandleader and singer. By age 10 he was studying the European Classical Piano repertoire at the National Conservatory in Panama, eventually transferring to the Berklee College of Music to study Jazz composition.
During the yeas 1985 to ’88 while at Berklee, Danilo played with Jon Hendricks, Terence Blanchard, Claudio Roditi and Paquito D’Rivera. He would go on to tour Poland in ’95 and play the Summer Olympics in Atlanta in ‘96 with Wynton Marsalis, be a part of the Grammy winning album Danzon, perform at President Clinton’s Inaugural Ball and played piano on the Bill Cosby theme song.
Perez has had the fortune to play and record with such luminaries as Charlie Haden, Michael Brecker, Jack DeJohnette, Dizzy Gillespie, Tito Puente, Joe Lovano, Gary Burton, Wayne Shorter, Tom Harrell, Roy Haynes, Steve Lacy and many others.
Pianist and composer Danilo Perez, whose primary influence of style and thought was Dizzy Gillespie, but as a child gleaned from the recordings the styles of Gershwin, Ellington, Coltrane and Monk. He has recorded over a dozen albums, served as a professor at the New England Conservatory of Music, and serves as the artistic director of the Berklee College of Music Global Jazz Institute.
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Carlos “Patato” Valdes was born on November 4, 1926 in Cuba and learned to play the conga in his native land. Moving to New York in 1954 he began playing around the city working with Willie Bobo in Harlem. Known by his nickname “Patato”, he invented and patented the tunable conga drum in the late Forties that revolutionized use of the instrument as earlier drums only had nailed heads.
Since the 1950s Patato is among the Congueros that were in highest demand in the Latin Music and jazz world. He played, toured and recorded together with singer Miguelito Valdes, Perez Prado, Tito Puente, Machito, Herbie Mann, Cachao Lopez, Cal Tjader, Kenny Dorham, Art Blakey and Elvin Jones among others. He also worked in the bands of and toured Europe with Dizzy Gillespie, Quincy Jones and Mario Bauza.
Patato acted in and composed the title song of The Bill Cosby Show, contributed to the soundtrack of the film The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love, gave Bridget Bardot mambo lessons in the film “And God Created Woman, led his own band Afrojazzia and toured Europe once again and mastered to the delight of his audiences, the art of actually dancing atop his congas during his performances.
For over 60 years Valdes demonstrated in his conga playing how a musician could combine technical skill with superb showmanship, fusing melody and rhythm, and understanding the rhythm is rooted in dancing. Carlos “Patato” Valdes, whose spontaneity and charm enabled him to bring together audiences of varied backgrounds and cultures to the Afro-Cuban rhythms and who Tito Puente once referred to as “the greatest conguero alive today”, passed away on December 4, 2007 in New York City.
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Pucho was born Henry Lee Brown on November 1, 1938 in New York City. Living in Harlem he cultivated a love for jazz, rhythm and blues, and mambo and largely self-taught imitating his favorite musician, Tito Puente. He started playing timbales professionally in New York City at the age of sixteen in bands led by Joe Panama in Harlem and the Bronx.
He formed his own band, Pucho & His Latin Soul Brothers in 1959 as a Latin jazz, soul jazz and R&B group and appeared at Count Basie’s club and a Carnegie Hall festival. Over the course of the group’s tenure of thirteen years, of the many musicians that worked in his group, Chick Corea is listed among them.
From 1966 until ’74 he recorded a series of albums for Prestige Records, and due to their musical range recorded with George Benson, Lonnie Smith and Gene Ammons. Disbanding the group in the mid Seventies he concentrated on more traditional Latin music. During the late ‘70s and ‘80s he worked the Catskill Mountain resorts with a small trio until a resurgence of interest through the acid-jazz movement in the Nineties gave way for him to re-form the group and tour Britain and Japan.
Pucho, the timbales player who just may have been to eclectic for a wider jazz audience acceptance, has since released new material, had his early material reissued and continues to perform.
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Arturo “Chico” O’Farrill was born on October 28, 1921 in Havana, Cuba of Irish/German heritage. Attending military school in Georgia he learned to play trumpet and was exposed to big band jazz.
Although he played trumpet early in his career, he became a sought-after composer and arranger, and was one of many leading the emergence of the Afro-Cuban jazz movement in the ‘50s dubbed Cubop.
Best known for his work in the Latin idiom, Chico also composed straight-ahead jazz pieces and even symphonic works. He composed works for Machito’s Afro-Cuban Suite with Charlie Parker and Benny Goodman’s Bebop Orchestra’s Undercurrent Blues and composed the Manteca Suite for Dizzy Gillespie and arranged for Stan Kenton and David Bowie, among others.
Over the course of his career he has recorded for Norman Granz’s label, with Todd Barkan at Fantasy, worked with the count Basie, Gato Barbieri, and Cal Tjader and has recorded and performed as a leader in small configurations, a bandleader and a sideman on more the two dozen albums. His music has been featured in the film Calle-54 and in the ‘90s he led a big band that took up residence at Birdland in New York.
Chico O’Farrill, Grammy nominee, passed away on June 27, 2001 in New York City and eventually his son Arturo took over the band.
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