1] Roland Vazquez
2] (saxes (l->r)) Joel Frahm, Ben Kono, Aaron Heick,
Dan Willis, Roger Rosenberg
3] (trombones l->r) Larry Farrell, Keith O'Quinn,
Tim Albright, Jack Schatz
4] Ignacio Berroa
5] Samuel Torres
6] Jon Owens, James De La Garza, Alex Norris
7] Joel Frahm, Aaron Heick
8] Alex Norris
9] Luis Perdomo, RV, Samuel Torres, Ignacio Berroa,
James Genus, Pete McCann
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****½ "The star of The Visitor is Vazquez's luminous, precise writing, with an intriguing rhythm
section of first-class NYC-based players that effectively functions as an orchestra within the orchestra ..."
"With The Visitor, drummer Roland Vazquez joins the ranks of Maria Schneider and Darcy James Argue as a
visionary composer of contemporary big-band jazz."
"The charts merge rhythmic intensity, contrasting layers of harmonically dense brass and reed voicings, and
impassioned soloing into a majestic whole."
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TOTAL TIME: 72:34
Funded in part through a grant from the
ROLAND VAZQUEZ BAND:
trumpets (& fluglehorns):
Luis Perdomo (piano)
Jim Hershman (guitar on 4)
Roland Vazquez (composer/conductor)
The Roland Vazquez (Big) Band originally appeared at clubs in NYC and festivals starting in 1991. Based around my quintet at that time (Walt Weiskopf, tenor sax; Mark Soskin, piano; Anthony Jackson, contrabass guitar; Frank Malabe, congas); the horn sections grew from those who had played on "Tides of Time" (Ted Nash, Brian Lynch, Keith O'Quinn, Jack Schatz) - and players I met while teaching at Manhattan School of Music (Tony Kadleck, Joel Frahm, Alex Norris, Dave LaLama). Other players featured in those early years include: Ricardo Candelaria, Mike Davis, Andy Gravish, Stefon Harris, Joe Locke, Dave Mann, Ben Monder, Chris Potter, Tim Ries, Emedin Rivera, Scott Wendholt, just to name a few.
In 2009, I received a Recording Grant from the Aaron Copland Fund towards support of recording these scores. "The Visitor," "Urantia," "Thru a Window," and "Guarabe" were essentially developed during our performances in the '90s; with "Whirlpool," "Sevilla," and "The Path of Change" evolving more recently. While most of these titles have been previously released as quintet or nonet versions, I feel the 19-piece Roland Vazquez Band delivers the most fully-realized performances of these compositions to date. It has been a real gift for me to work with each of these outstanding musicians while preparing, performing, and recording this music. Their individuality and spirit clearly resonate in these tracks - and more than succeed in lifting this music "off the page."
NOTES ON THE COMPOSITIONS:
1) "URANTIA" is a mythical name for the Earth. Inspired during a visit to Greece, this piece is an imaginary journey through time from "first light" into "chaos & discovery"; leading to a final chorale & ensemble vamp implying the future. This work is dedicated in memory of my dear friends & mentors Don & Shirley Walker.
2) "THRU A WINDOW" is suggestive of our movement towards a "gateway" of new experience ... an implication of the angst and uncertainty felt when challenging old expectations & reaching thru uncertainty towards progress.
3) "THE VISITOR" evolved out of an actual waking-dream experience of music suggesting the arrival of a "teacher," who in this case was bringing a new message or principle - leading to new awareness, and eventual catharsis.
4) "WHIRLPOOL" is a gospel "funk" driven piece, which seems to be constantly falling forward into new phrases of increasing tension. The "Whirlpool" continues to unwind through an increasingly furious "coda" section (including a trombone referral to "Darn That Dream").
5) "SEVILLA" is a reflection on the time in medieval Spain (aka al-Andalus or Sepharad) when Christian, Jew, and Muslim co-existed in relative peace- and when 10th century scholars translated Aristotle into Arabic, while deliberating the Greek Wisdom Schools. Toledo, Granada, and Sevilla were towns where the three faiths co-existed while sharing cultural, scientific, and artistic information. Considering the intolerance so prevalent today; the curiosity & cross-cultural symbiosis of that reality remains an inspiration.
6) "GUARABE'" (Clare Fischer/BMI) is a work originally recorded by Clare's Grammy-winning septet "Salsa Picante." I consider my time as a drummer in that band ('79-81) as a high point in my experience as a sideman. Clare's music continues to inspire me with its originality, structural integrity, and sheer beauty.
7) "THE PATH OF CHANGE" is an episodic "Latin rhythmic chamber jazz" work which originally began evolving in 1981 (before I moved from LA to NYC). An earlier quintet version was released on "Further Dance" (1997). This orchestration was completed in December 2009.
-Roland Vazquez (April 2010)
Produced by Roland Vazquez with Todd Whitelock, Susan Botti,
Recorded by Todd Whitelock (Whitelock Audio) at
Mastered by Allan Tucker, TuckerSound at Foothill Digital
Cover art & package design: Philip Kelly Denslow,
All compositions (except "Guarabé" © Clare Fischer, BMI) are
Special Thanks: Bryan Smith & Ed Rak (Clinton Studios); Jim Flynn (Jim Flynn Rentals); Rick Van Matre; Roger Braun; Matt James; MIke Lipsey; Rusty Burge; Yamaha Drums; Bosphorus Cymbals
© Roland Vazquez/Roland Music/RVCD, 2010