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

Juan Garcia Herreros

Juan Garcia-Herreros, also known as “The Snow Owl”, is a native born Colombian Bassist & Composer, notable for his virtuoso musicianship and for his use of a customised 6-stringed Electric Contrabass Guitar.

He was born in Bogotá, Colombia. His first musical studies began with Flute at the age 9 after moving to New York City with his family. Once he completed middle school his family relocated once again to Dunedin, Florida where he discovered the electric bass. Due to the fact that his family was unable to afford private lessons his passion for learning fueled him to become a self-taught musician. Juan was just 16 when he began to teach Music Theory and Jazz Performance at Dunedin High School in Florida. His highschool band teacher recognized his young talent and encouraged him to also study acoustic bass so that he could be a part of the symphonic band in school. After spending many dedicated hours playing both acoustic and electric bass, he auditioned and became proficient enough to perform with the Tampa Bay Symphony at just 17 years of age.

At the same time Juan competed in New Orleans for a slot in Berklee College of Music’s Scholarship tour and received a coveted scholarship to attend the school in Boston.

He studied at Berklee with bass instructors Bruce Gertz, Joe Santerre, Rich Appleman and Oscar Stagnaro.

At age 21, he returned to New York City to pursue a professional music career. While in New York, Juan developed the ability to meet the demands of multiple styles. Whether the musical genre is Jazz, Pop, Funk, Salsa, straight-ahead, Rock, Modern, Classical, Heavy metal, or Avant-garde he is capable of performing without artistic compromise. At age 26, he moved to Vienna, Austria where he currently resides. At age 30, he was selected by a jury to become part of the faculty for the Jazz Institute of the Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Graz. He was the first Colombian to be honored with such an academic position in Austria. At age 37, he was Nominated for a Latin Grammy Award in the category of Best Latin Jazz Album, for his third CD release entitled “Normas”. He is the first Electric Bassist ever to be nominated for this category.

Last Release : The Blue Road

Juan Garcia Herreros presents “The Blue Road” an album with a 6-piece contemporary tracks ( “Ne Togo Ye Sadjouma”, “She Became a Thousand Birds”, “Bach to the Future”, “Bu(ho)ñuelitos”, “Balada para mis Hijas”, “Water Giggles”) colliding with contrabass guitar, percussion, drums, balafon, vocal, keyboard, harmonica, violin, trumpet, saxophone…all blended with the composer’s original music who seems to be always foraging and digging for innovation.

“The Blue Road” opens with the track “Ne Togo Ye Sadjouma” where Juan and Mamadu Diabate explore great multi-phonics channels combining guitar and balafon adroitness : a hard working gig of Contemporary and Ethnic music.

SuCh ‘s singing on “She Became a Thousand Birds” is an acrid and beguiling invention. This piece turn in stellar interaction, offering hearty and monumental meaning which bring the listener up to recollections and inclusive feelings. Juan’s composition is terrific on this one.

“Bach to the Future”, opens with colombian rhythms propelling into resourceful soundscapes like Son Corrido, Fandango and Maracatu engendering a colloquy of notes and cadences which are then clustered by awe-inspiring utterances flashing a paradoxical point by the end of the piece.

Juan composes, searches, and many times improvises. But a foremost discriminator sojourns inside Garcia Herreros’s fascinating comps, patterned with noteworthy lures, jittery connotations, and casual-countered spell inscriptions. As a matter of fact, it’s a centrical rendezvous, offering uneven parts volubility, strength, and exalted consonant quantity. It is easy to say that Juan Garcia Herreros has a haven in the new generation of guitarists and new music. A bijou!—Reviewed by RF

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.