"Cuban Fires" is an imaginary journey into the various styles and traditions of Cuban music.
I started to conceive "Cuban Fires" as a sequel to my first CD “Havana Blue”, with the idea of deepening some aspects of the Cuban musical heritage. I also wanted to explore different moods and sonorities, and for this reason on the occasion of my second trip to Havana in December 2016 I contacted Eduardo Sandoval, a young and gifted musician and trombone player whose CD “Caminos Abiertos” had particularly impressed me.
With his help I hired trumpet player Thommy Lowry, saxophonist Michel Herrera - well-known in Cuba as leader of his own jazz project “Madre Tierra”, - and Alejandro Falcòn, a worthy heir of the great tradition of Cuban pianism, and leader of his own band “Cubadentro”. For tenor sax and clarinet I called Emir Santa Cruz, who had already collaborated in my first cd. The bass player is Roberto "El Chino" Vàsquez, while Eduardo Silveira and Deivys Rubalcaba play respectively congas and timbales, plus various percussions. For the title track I invited percussionist Degnis Bofill, who plays the sacred batà drums.
1. Cuban Fires
2. Con Alma (for Enrico)
3. Mango Cha
4. Nueva Alegria
5. Mambo HouseI
6. G Son
8. Cuban Fires (reprise)
Thommy Lowry, trumpet, flugelhorn
Eduardo Sandoval, trombone, voice (1,8)
Michel Herrera, alto/ baritone sax, tenor sax (8)
Emir Santa Cruz, tenor sax, clarinet
Roberto "El Chino" Vàsquez, double bass
Eduardo Silveira, congas, bongò, güiro, cowbell
Degnis Bofill, batà drums, percussions (1, 8)
Deivys Rubalcaba, timbales, güiro, metal güiro, cowbell, maracas
Alejandro Falcòn, piano
Thommy Lowry plays trumpet and flugelhorn courtesy eclipse trumpets
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The album is opened and closed by Cuban Fires, whose two versions, as an homage to its African roots, respectively start and finish with short Yoruba chants of African origin sung by Eduardo Sandoval and played on the three traditional batà drums. Rhythmically based on the clave of the rumba or guagancò, it is a long modal composition that alternates written parts and improvisations. It starts with an invocation to the Oricha (saint) Obatalà, the father of all humanity according to the Yoruba cult known as Santeria:
IYALAWA ORICHA O IYALAWA AKAKIOKE
AWANILE ORICHA O IYALAWA AKAKIOKE
Solos are by Sandoval, Herrera, Santa Cruz, Falcòn, Lowry, and percussionists Silveira and Rubalcaba.
Con Alma is an adaption of a short piece originally written for two cellos, here played in the bolero fashion, with solos by Sandoval, Lowry on flugelhorn, and Falcòn.
Mango Cha is performed in a traditional cha chacha style, with solos by Herrera, Santa Cruz, Lowry, Falcòn, and Rubalcaba.
Nueva Alegria, where the trombone is the lead voice, is rhythmically closer to modern salsa, with solos by Sandoval, Herrera, Lowry on flugelhorn, Falcòn, and percussionists Silveira and Rubalcaba.
Mambo House takes inspiration from the famous “Mambo Inn” by Mario Bauza which has become a famous Latin jazz standard. Solos are by Santa Cruz, Herrera, and Vàsquez.
G Son, whose theme is played by the clarinet, is performed rhythmically in the changüi style, with solos by Santa Cruz and Lowry.
Olvidado, entirely written with no improvisations,consists of two sections, the first in 7/8 played as a piano-clarinet duet, and the second, encapsulated in the first, in the style of a guajira.
The last piece is a shorter version of Cuban Fires with solos by Herrera on tenor sax and Lowry, and ends with an invocation to Elegguà, the oricha that opens and closes all the paths and ensures stability.
In memory of my dearest friend Enrico Dell’Angelo who passed away on December 26, 2016,
to whom my composition “Con Alma” is dedicated.
In the guise of a blue falcon
You came hovering
Under the Havana sky
To say goodbye
But we’ll meet again
I wish to thank Eduardo Sandoval for organizing the recording sessions in Havana, Aldo Milani for his generous help in Mambo House, Eliana Iannece for permission to use his father’s painting for the cover, Fabio Tomassoni for his helpful suggestions, and my wife Dina Priymak for her constant help and support.
Recorded: 21st December 2016 (2, 3, 4, 6) and 22nd December 2016 (1, 5, 7, 8) at Abdala Studios, Havana, Cuba
Sound Engineers: Jose Raul Varona
Edited and Mixed by: Piero Lanza and Adriano Clemente at Music Factory, Grosseto, Italy
Cover painting by: Antonio Iannece (1957 - 2016)
Cover artwork: by Cecilia Damiani
Photos by: Dina Priymak, Luigi Vitiello (paintings)
All compositions and arrangements by: Adriano Clemente
Release date: 4 July 2018
Genre: Latin Jazz
Production by: Dodicilune
Total time: 58'21
2018 fonosfere records, a dodicilune label
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