Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Jerry González

Jerry Gonzalez

Trumpeter and conguero Jerry González 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 54. He says he and the Spaniards hit it off “from jump street. When we got here I took a walk down the street and I was stopped by 40 people for autographs!” he says by phone from Barcelona. “It was blowing my mind!”

The film had a limited art-house distribution in the U.S., but in Spain it was an underground hit. The film featured some of the biggest names in Latin jazz (Tito Puente, Paquito D’Rivera, Gato Barbieri and Chico O’Farrill, among others) in live performance in the Sony film studios on New York’s 54th Street. Jerry González and the Fort Apache Band close the film with their Afro-Cuban-based explorations of bebop. Although Fort Apache had never played in Spain before, González became so popular through his appearance in the film that he was invited to prolong his visit. Record producer Javier Limon wanted to introduce González to some of the Spanish musicians mixing jazz and flamenco. “I told them, ‘I’ll stay for a week’,” González says. “I stayed for seven months! I only went back to New York to do a week at [Manhattan jazz club] Sweet Basil’s, and then I was back on a plane the day after that gig was over. I’ve been here ever since.”

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.
Originally Published