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Oscar Noriega

Oscar Noriega

Oscar Noriega’s early experience with his brothers’ ranchera group in Tucson is a far cry from the reedist’s enterprises in his current milieu of downtown New York. But even at wedding gigs with “Hermanos Jovel”-an acronym taken from the first initials of his brothers’ names: Jaime, Oscar, Victor, Elias and Lazaro-the 10-yr-old Noriega would hold forth on the alto sax: “I loved soloing: you just close your eyes and play. At that time I just knew the tune, and I would solo off the tune, which in retrospect was the right approach.”

Noriega was lured into college when a friend arranged an audition at the University of Arizona, but school didn’t hold him for long. After a brief stay in Los Angeles, Noriega moved to Boston, where he studied vicariously through his roommates who attended Berklee and the New England Conservatory of Music. Noriega has lived in Brooklyn since 1992, and has worked with the Duke Ellington Repertory Orchestra (conducted by Gunther Schuller), the Either/Orchestra, Satoko Fujii Orchestra and Judi Silvano.

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