Papo Vázquez

Papo Vazquez, trombonist, composer, and arranger, celebrates 40 years of a career that spans jazz, Latin and Afro-Caribbean music, as well as recordings and classical music. Music Director of the National Puerto Rican Day Parade Orchestra (NYC), 2016,2017,2018 March Music 2018, @Pregones Theatre, J.S. Bachs Goldberg Variations of Jazz Quartet. Kennedy Center Iberian Suite and Mighty Pirates Troubadours March 2015 Invitation to direct “The Presidents Own” US Marine Band Afro Caribbean jazz performance in Washington, DC. 2013 Commissioned by Arturo O’Farrill’s Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, Symphony Space to create new music for the “Nueva Musica”, concert series in New York. The Pregones Theater presented a Latino Masters Award to him in 2011. He was commissioned in 2010 by Mr. Wynton Marsilis to write a work that was inspired by Wilfredo Lam’s Cuban paintings. He performed and conducted Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Orchestra at The Jazz and Art concert. Papo Vazquez’ Mighty Pirates 2008 album Marooned/Aislado won a Grammy nomination. For their 20th anniversary, was commissioned by The Bronx River Arts Center for a new piece called River Rising. Beginnings Vazquez born Angel R. Vazquez, 1958 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He spent his childhood in Puerto Rico and grew up in North Philadelphia’s Puerto Rican neighborhood. Vazquez began performing in Philadelphia’s Latin bands at the age of 15. He was just 17 when he left Philadelphia to join the New York Jazz Orchestra, where he was hired by Chocolate Armentero, a trumpet player. He started recording and playing with some of the most prominent salsa artists like Ray Barretto and Larry Harlow. Vazquez was a major player in New York’s Latin jazz scene of late 1970’s. He studied with Slide Hampton and eventually recorded and performed for Slide Hampton’s World of Trombones. Vazquez performed with jazz legends Dizzy Gillespie and Frank Foster. He also toured Europe with the Ray Charles Orchestra. Vazquez was 22 years old and had already traveled around the world. He was also a founding member in Jerry Gonzalez’ Fort Apache, Conjunto Libre and Puerto Rico’s Latin fusion band Batacumbele. From 1981 to 1985, he performed and recorded many albums with Batacumbele. After his return to New York, Vazquez joined Tito Puente’s Latin Jazz Ensemble and was their principal trombonist. He also toured Europe with Dizzy Giillespie’s United Nations Orchestra. He is a leader, composer, innovator and has been deeply influenced by jazz. He has a deep appreciation for the Caribbean’s indigenous music and is able to blend them with the more melodic and harmonic elements that are characteristic of progressive jazz. He experimented with “bomba Jazz” during his 1980s stay in Puerto Rico. This was a mix of traditional Puerto Rican and jazz. Breakout was his first album as a leader. It was released in 1993. He collaborated with a number of Latin Jazz artists and contributed Overtime Mambo to Hilton Ruiz’s Manhattan Mambo as well as Contra Mar y Mareo Descarga Boricua Vol. 1 Interest in Vazquez as a composer grew. He was the first to be awarded a composer’s order Iron Jungle for Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra. This orchestra was then a resident at Jazz at Lincoln Center. Vazquez was also commissioned to write new music for the 19-member Afro-Puerto Rican Jazz Orchestre, thanks to a grant from The Painted Bride Art Center. Papo Vazquez Mighty Pirates marooned/Aislado was recorded live at the 2008 event. It received a Grammy nomination as Best Latin Jazz Album. Vazquez also has shared compositions with Ruben blades (Tengan Fe/Antecedente), Hilton Ruiz, and Dave Valentin (Tropic Heat), besides others. The soundtrack to Free Enterprise features his song “Baila Plena”, taken from At The Point, Vol I. His other movie credits include appearing on the soundtracks to The Mambo Kings’ and Spike Lee’s Mo’ better Blues. Grammy nominated in 2008 for Best Latin Jazz Album recording Marooned/Aislado. Composed a work inspired from Cuban painter Wilfredo Lam. Conducted and performed with Jazz At Lincoln Center’s Orchestra at The Jazz and Art concert (2010). Pregones Theater, The National Endowment for the Arts American Masterpieces presented a Latino Masters Award to the Pregones Theater (2011). Arturo O’Farrill’s Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, and Symphony Space commissioned me to compose new music for the “Nueva Musica”, concert series in New York (2013). Invited to direct and lead “The Presidents Own” US Marine Band, and to perform Afro Caribbean Latin Jazz in Washington, DC. (2013). Selected Honors and Awards Grammy Nominated 2008 – Papo Vazquez Marooned/Aislado, Picaro Records Grammy: Best Jazz Instrumental Album, Wayne Shorter’s Alegria (Verve Records) Grammy: Bebo Valdez – Bebo de Cuba Recognized by Los Pleneros de La 21 for his contributions to Puerto Rican Culture. New York Times’ “Top 10 Undeservedly Obscure Records” Taller de Jazz Don Pedro, Puerto Rico Award DownBeat Magazine’s “Talent Deserving Wider Recognition” 1980. From Best Trombone Latin New York Magazine 1980, 1979

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