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2017 Artists

Trio da Paz

Featuring three of Brazil’s most in-demand musicians, Trio da Paz updates the infectious spirit of jazz-oriented Brazilian music. Formed in 1985 by Romero Lubambo, Nilson Matta, and Duduka Da Fonseca, the Trio redefines Brazilian Jazz with their harmonically adventurous interactions, daring improvisations, and dazzling rhythms. All three are seasoned masters of both jazz and Brazilian music with impressive resumes.

The list of legendary musicians the members of Trio da Paz have recorded and performed with is extensive, including Grover Washington, Jr., Yo-Yo Ma, and Paul Winter, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Astrud Gilberto, and Tom Harrell.

“Trio da Paz 30,” is their latest CD, includes mostly original compositions, and is a celebration of their thirty years together as a group. In 2017 Trio da Paz was nominated for the American Grammy®, with their album “30”, in the Best Latin Jazz Category.

Brian Lynch

Grammy© Award Winner Brian Lynch brings to his music an unparalleled depth and breadth of experience. A graduate of two of the jazz world’s most distinguished academies, Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers and the Horace Silver Quintet, he received wide acclaim during long tenures with Latin Jazz legend Eddie Palmieri and straight ahead master Phil Woods. Voted Trumpeter Of The Year and recipient of the Record Of The Year Award by the Jazz Journalists Association in 2017, as an ensemble leader and recording artist he has released over 20 critically acclaimed CDs. His current band leading projects include the Unsung Heroes and Spheres Of Influence ensembles. He is Professor of Jazz and Studio Music at the Frost School Of Music, University of Miami.

William Cepeda

Known as a cultural icon of Puerto Rico, Grammy-nominated artist and composer William Cepeda revolutionized the field of Latin music with his introduction of Afro-Rican Jazz, an innovative blend of world music, progressive jazz and traditional Afro-Puerto Rican roots and folk music and dance.

A protégé of Dizzie Gillespie, William Cepeda was a member of his United Nation Orchestra, William Cepeda’s oeuvre includes contemporary classical music, a full-length orchestral work for the symphony, opera, choir, and soloists. Educated at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, the Conservatory of Music in Puerto Rico, and the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College.

William Cepeda has two bachelor of art degrees (one in jazz composition and arranging and one in music education) and a masters degree in jazz performance. Cepeda has the reputation of being the pioneer of contemporary Puerto Rican music, as the cutting- edge composer who is creating new sounds and folding the tradition into the broader genre of New World music.

Sean Jones Quartet

Sean Jones is an American trumpeter and composer featured on the 2007 Grammy Award-winning album Turned to Blue by Nancy Wilson. As a bandleader, Jones has released seven albums under the Mack Avenue Records label. After receiving his Master’s Degree from Rutgers University, Sean performed with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra. This marked the beginning of a relationship with Wynton Marsalis, who offered Sean a permanent position as lead trumpeter and Jones remained there until 2010.

Recognizing the power of music to impact one’s life, Sean attributes his change of instruments from the drums to the trumpet upon his first exposure to Miles Davis at the age of 10. Twenty-five years later, he still cites Miles’ overall artistic vision and purity of sound as his greatest personal influence. But it was another immortal visionary who had a most profound impact when Sean was a 19-year old student at Youngstown State University – the magnificent John Coltrane through his masterpiece, A Love Supreme, and says “I knew the course I needed to pursue.”

Anat Cohen

Anat Cohen is a New York City-based jazz clarinetist, saxophonist, and bandleader from Tel Aviv, Israel. The Jazz Journalists Association has voted Anat as Clarinetist of the Year nine years in a row, and she has topped both the Critics and Readers Polls in the clarinet category in Downbeat magazine every year since 2011. All About Jazz declared about Anat: “She’s one of a kind.” Through the World Scholarship Tour, Anat was able to attend the Berklee College of Music in Boston, where she not only honed her jazz skills but also expanded her musical horizons, developing a deep love and facility for various Latin music styles. She says: “Any day when I get to share music with people – other musicians, an audience – feels like a celebration to me.”

Alain Mallet

Born in France, Alain Mallet moved to the United States at the age of 21 to attend Berklee College of Music where he is now an associate professor in the ensemble and piano departments. He has toured and recorded with some of the biggest names in Jazz and pop including Phil Woods, Paul Simon, Paquito D’Rivera, Marc Johnson and Madeleine Peyroux.

He is a critically acclaimed producer, particularly for his work with Jonatha Brooke. His original compositions have been recorded by jazz greats such as Gary Burton, Dave Samuels and Paquito D’Rivera to name a few.

The Big Band Conservatory

The Big Band Conservatory of Santo Domingo is under the direction of Javier Vargas, a musician, composer, musical arranger, and Professor at the National Conservatory of Music, in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Featuring Special Guests Jim Kelly, Jim Odgren, and Jason Camelio, all from the U.S. The Big Band perform concerts in the style which was popular during the “Swing Era” of the 1930s to the end of the 1940s and prevails to this day. The Big Band Conservatory is composed of a brass section of five saxophones, four trombones, and five trumpets, and complemented by a rhythm section that consists of drums, percussion, piano, bass and guitar.

Marco Pignataro

Marco Pignataro is a talented saxophonist, composer, educator, and columnist of Jazz originally from Bologna, Italy. He has performed extensively in Europe and America at jazz festivals and international music venues sharing stages with artists such as Eddie Gomez, Joanne Brackeen, Danilo Pérez, George Garzone, John Patitucci, Rufus Reid, Billy Drummond, and Victor Lewis among others. 

Marco Pignataro’s latest album “Sofia’s Heart” was produced by jazz legend Eddie Gomez and features Marco’s compositions and arrangements, with Eddie Gomez, Bill Drummond, Matt Marvuglio and Mark Kramer. The acclaimed album “Per Semper” Eddie Gomez Quintet with Marco Pignataro was released by BFM discs in 2012. Marco’s new CD “Almas Antiguas” with Eddie Gómez, Alan Pasqua, Adam Cruz and George Garzone will be released in the summer of 2017.

Until recently, Marco was director of the Department of Music of the Jazz and the Caribbean and the Chair of Jazz Saxophone at the Conservatory of Music of Puerto Rico. During his stay at the Conservatory of Music in Puerto Rico, he developed the jazz saxophone curriculum, founded and directed the CMPR Jazz Faculty Ensemble and co-founded the bachelor’s degree in music in jazz and Caribbean music studios.

Marco Pignataro is the Managing Director of Berklee Global Jazz Institute and serves as Artistic Advisor to the Dominican Republic Jazz Festival and FEDUJAZZ.

Riccardo Del Fra

Riccardo Del Fra, born in Rome, is an Italian jazz double-bassist, bandleader, composer, and arranger.

Del Fra first played guitar, then switched to upright bass when he was sixteen years old. He studied at a conservatory, played in the RAI Orchestra, and did work as a studio musician for film scores in the 1970s. He began playing as a sideman in jazz venues in Rome for touring musicians, such as Art Blakey, Art Farmer, and Kai Winding. He joined Enrico Pieranunzi’s ensemble in the late 1970s and played with Chet Baker; Del Fra and Baker played together frequently thereafter until Baker’s death.

Del Fra eventually moved to Paris, where he worked in a trio setting with Alain Jean-Marie and Al Levitt and played local clubs as the backing band for visiting Americans. He also worked with Charles Loos, Barney Wilen, Lee Konitz, Joe Diorio, and Bob Brookmeyer in the 1980s and 1990s.

Roni Eytan

Jerusalem born harmonica player Roni Eytan is a pioneering musician, bringing a unique sound with original techniques. He also plays the microtonal harmonica, an instrument designed especially for him to play Middle Eastern Maqamat (middle eastern modes), this instrument is the first of its kind to have ever been made.

Roni and his band have performed at such international jazz festivals as the Panama Jazz Festival and the Toronto Jazz Festival. His musical language draws influences from Jazz, the music of the Middle East and North Africa (Andalusian Music), all of which are part of Roni’s musical roots and cultural identity.

In 2010, Roni began studying at the Berklee College of Music on a full scholarship and graduated as part of the Berklee Global Jazz Institute. In 2013, he was chosen to participate in the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead Workshop led by Jason Moran at the Kennedy Center. In March 2014, at the age of 23, Roni Eytan joined the Grammy winning pianist, Danilo Perez, and toured with his quartet for two years all over the world playing in major venues and international festivals.

Berklee Global Jazz Ambassadors

The Berklee Global Jazz Ambassadors are an ensemble band chosen from the most accomplished graduate and undergraduate-level players and composers enrolled in the prestigious Berklee Global Jazz Institute, an honors program at Berklee College of Music in Boston, where gifted musicians go to become student leaders of a world community, with a mission to effect positive social change. The individual musicians performing in the ensemble at the Dominican Republic Jazz Festival will be announced.

F. Javier Vargas

F. Javier Vargas of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, is a musician, composer, musical arranger and educator. He is the program coordinator of the Folkloric and Popular Music Department of the National Conservatory of Music in Santo Domingo. He attended Berklee College of Music in Boston, the graduating class of 2004. As a Maestro and educator, F. Javier Vargas leads ensemble performances with Jazz students at the National Conservatory of Music. It is a project that offers new musical talents an opportunity to perform live at cultural events, providing them with a clear vision of world music at a professional level.

El Eco

EL ECO with Guillermo Nojechowicz performs at the Dominican Republic Jazz Festival with Grammy Award-winning vocalist Kim Nazarian, pianist Helio Alves, bass-player Fernando Huergo, Marco Pignataro, and Grammy-Award winner Brian Lynch.

EL ECO is a Brazilian Argentinean jazz ensemble based in Boston, New York City, and Oberlin, OH, and offers true world music at its best. Their material is strikingly original, delivered with strong vocals, percussive drive, and a lyrical focus. EL ECO combines the warm and lustrous sounds of samba and candombe with the tighter lines of bebop and straight-ahead jazz and with a touch of tango music, delivering a complex mix of Cuban, Afro-Cuban, Bossa Nova, and Funk rhythms.

A leader of the Latin jazz scene in the Northeast (USA), El ECO received national acclaim in a broadcast performance on National Public Radio’s “Jazz Set” with host vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater (Grammy Award). Performances have included the Curacao International Jazz Festival in the Netherland Antilles, the Telluride Jazz Celebration in Colorado and Guillermo’s native Argentina at the Buenos Aires Jazz Festival.

EL ECO’s leader Guillermo Nojechowicz is an international clinician and educator. He recently appeared at the Panama Jazz Festival with Artistic Director Danilo Perez, where he taught master classes in Brazilian jazz, as well as performing with a student ensemble and special guest Wynton Marsalis at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School in a collaborative program with Harvard University.

Guy Frometa Trio

Guy Frometa is a percussionist from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. He started playing drums at the age of 6, and it has been his main instrument ever since. He grew up listening to Jimi Hendrix, Chet Baker, Miles Davis, Chick Corea, James Brown, Keith Jarret, and The Police and of course, a lot of Latin music.

At age 18 he started playing with Luis Dias & Transporte Urbano, one of the most important rock bands in the Dominican Republic. He was with Luis and “El Transporte” for 23 years, from its beginnings in 1983 until mid-2006.

In 1988, Guy moved to New York to study at the renowned DRUMMERS COLLECTIVE drum school. From there he went on to study with Joel Rosenblatt, Zach Danziger, Marvin “Smitty” Smith and Sam Ulano and has played with many acclaimed jazz musicians.

Guy has performed at numerous international of Jazz festivals including prestigious events in USA, Japan, Canada, Denmark, Peru, Cuba, Venezuela, Colombia, Spain, Argentina, and Mexico. Guy Frometa is also a recording artist, and the Director of the International Percussion Festival “Katarey.

George Garzone

Saxophonist George Garzone is a member of The Fringe, a jazz trio founded in 1972 that includes bassist John Lockwood and drummer Bob Gullotti, that performs regularly in the Boston area and has toured Portugal. The group has released three albums. A veteran jazzman, Garzone has appeared on over 20 recordings. He began on the tenor when he was six, played in a family band and attended music school in Boston. In addition, Garzone has guested in many situations, touring Europe with Jamaaladeen Tacuma and performing with Danilo Perez, Joe Lovano, Jack DeJohnette, Rachel Z and John Patitucci among others.

Garzone is well-known as a sought-after jazz educator, currently teaching at the Berklee College of Music. He has also previously taught at New England Conservatory, Longy School of Music, New York University, Manhattan School of Music, Northeastern University and the New School University. He has pioneered the triadic chromatic approach and students of his have included Joshua Redman, Branford Marsalis, Teadross Avery, Luciana Souza, Mark Turner, Donny McCaslin, Doug Yates and Danilo Perez, to name a few.

In 1995 he recorded a fine tribute to Stan Getz on NYC called Alone; Four’s and Two’s followed a year later with compatriot Joe Lovano which earned him four stars in Downbeat magazine, and in 1999 Garzone returned with Moodiology. Fringe in New York was released in summer 2000. He is a member of the Grammy-winning Joe Lovano Nonet, and performed and recorded with this group at the Village Vanguard in September 2002.

Adam Cruz

Adam Cruz is a drummer and composer born in New York City who is best known for his work with Danilo Perez, Tom Harrell, and Edward Simon. He worked extensively with saxophonist David Sanchez and the Mingus Big Band during the 1990’s. He then toured with Chick Corea, recording Origin and Live at the Blue Note.

Cruz has been a member of the Danilo Perez Trio, along with bassist Ben Street, for over 10 years, and is a member of the newly formed Tom Harrell quartet “Trip” featuring Mark Turner and Ugonna Okegwo. He has worked at various times in groups led by artists such as Chris Potter, John Patitucci, Pharaoh Sanders, Joey Calderazzo, and Paquito D’Rivera. Cruz’s remarkable musicianship has made him one of the most in demand drummers of today.

In 2011 Cruz released his debut recording as a composer and bandleader entitled Milestone, on Sunnyside Records, to great critical acclaim.

Fefita la Grande

Fefita la Grande “‘La Vieja Fefa'” or La Mayimba (Manuela Josefa Cabrera), is the most prolific and respected female merengue accordionist of the Dominican Republic. She is also one of the most well-known representatives of the Perico Ripiao or Merengue tipico music genre. “Fefa”, as referred to by her closest friends, relatives, and fans, was born in San Ignacio de Sabaneta, Santiago Rodríguez, located in the Cibao Region of the Dominican Republic, the birthplace of merengue.

Fefita taught herself to play on her father’s Accordion and was performing in live concerts by the age of 9. Fefita developed a unique style of playing merengue tipico that only she was able to produce. Along with the early exponents of “new” merengue tipico, she added congas, saxophones, and electric bass to her ensemble, which was originally composed of three musicians: an accordionist (using a diatonic 2-row accordion), a tambora player (“tamborero”), and güira player (“guirero”). Fefita was also the first to bring merengue tipico to European audiences. Her success is partially achieved by her ability to stay current and constantly reinvent her sound by collaborating with new tipico artists, appealing to all generations.