Felix Contreras

Felix’s Contributions


November 2004    Hearsay

Manolo Badrena

The first time percussionist Manolo Badrena ever set foot into a recording studio he played on one of the top-selling jazz albums of all time. He had just auditioned for the fusion group Weather Report when keyboardist Joe Zawinul asked him to come the studio...


November 2004    Hearsay

Jerry Gonzalez

Trumpeter and conguero Jerry Gonzalez has finally found a place where he can relax and concentrate on his music. The 55-year-old New Yorker went to Madrid in 2002 with Spanish film director Fernando Trueba to promote the Latin-jazz-performance film Calle...


November 2004    Albums

When Baden Meets Trane
Glauco Sagebin Trio

When Baden Meets Trane is an apt title for this trio effort from Brazilian pianist Glauco Sagebin, who gathers inspiration not just from his homeland's sambas and bossas but also from the swing of jazz. Using John Coltrane and Brazilian composer Baden Powell...


November 2004    Albums

Come On In
Steve Smith and Vital Information

Toward the end of his first stint with arena-rock superstars Journey, drummer and jazz-fusion veteran Steve Smith began working with a small group of friends that called itself Vital Information. Even after 10 albums the group is one of improvised music...


November 2004    Albums

Jeff Benedict Group

Saxophonist Jeff Benedict is a music professor at Cal State University, and he has the kind of tight musical relationship with his friend pianist Paul De Castro that you should build a band around. By adding a tipico rhythm section of conguero Bob Fernandez...


November 2004    Albums

The Last Bullfighter
Jazz On the Latin Side All Stars

Jose Rizo has been the host of a program called Jazz on the Latin Side for more than 10 years on noncommercial radio station KKJZ-FM in Long Beach, Calif. To celebrate his show's 10th anniversary in 2000, he called a handful of Southern California-based...


November 2004    Albums

Latin Fire
Rebeca Mauleon

The San Francisco Bay Area has a deep well of talented musicians who play jazz as well as they play Afro-Cuban music. Pianist Rebeca Mauleon has been one of the strongest forces on that scene for years, as both a musician and an educator. After her last...


October 2004    News

Candido and Graciela: Unforgettable

Candido Camero and Graciela Perez have discovered a way to defy time. The Cuban conga master and the one-time First Lady of Afro Cuban jazz simply ignore it. In Spanish Candido announces, "No importa los anos que pasan." The translation is just what it looks...


September 2004    Hearsay

Horacio "El Negro" Hernandez

When drummer Horacio "El Negro" Hernandez was 14 years old he went to jail for playing "revolutionary" music in Cuba. "I was playing in the most popular rock 'n' roll band in Cuba," he explains from the safety of a public radio studio in New York. "It was...


September 2004    Albums

Pablo Aslan

Pablo's Aslan's new CD, Avatango, reinforces the idea that improvised music from throughout the world can dip into the well of jazz to create something refreshingly new that doesn't really need a hyphenated identity. Aslan is a bassist and composer from...


September 2004    Albums

The Body Acoustic
David Chesky

The Body Acoustic is like going to a master class on the art of Afro-Cuban swing. Pianist David Chesky has put together an inspired group of musicians who collectively offer thoughtful ruminations on jazz and the clave, and the star of the show is bassist...


July/August 2004    News

Paco de Lucia: Flamenco Buena

Most flamenco fans can trace the music's history to either Before Paco or After Paco, such is Paco de Lucia's influence on the music. On his newest CD, Cositas Buenas (Blue Thumb), he once again pushes the music forward by looking to the past. Flamenco purists...


July/August 2004    Albums

Portrait in Black and White
Helio Alves

On the inside of Helio Alves' new CD, Portraits in Black and White, there is a great photo of the pianist and his 16-month-old daughter, Anna. He is holding her and she is looking toward the sky, her little hand pointing upward, with the kind of curiosity...


May 2004    Albums

Cositas Buenas
Paco de Lucia

Flamenco guitar was never meant to be the star of the show. Its traditional spot was in the back along with the clapping (palmas). All eyes and ears were on the dancers and the singers-until Paco de Lucia came along. In the 1970s, de Lucia revolutionized...


April 2004    Features

Chano Dominguez: Ole!

There is a word in Spanish that describes a concept in flamenco that does not have a literal English translation: duende. It can mean many things but principally it has to do with feeling. Intense feeling. The kind of feeling that makes a dancer dig his...

December 2003    Cuba

Chucho Valdés: Everything’s New Again

How do you create something completely new using concepts that are thousands of years old? Check in with New Conceptions (Blue Note), the new release from pianist and composer Chucho Valdés to find out. “The significance of the title is the new rhythmic...

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About Felix Contreras