New Album from Verny Varela y La Tropa - La Rumba No Se Acaba - Salsa Dura de Colombia
Música tropical de Cuba y Francia - Rubén Paz y Chéverefusión
LA TIMBA LA TRAIGO YO - Nuevo Disco de Robert Armas y los Conquistadores de la Salsa
Beyond Salsa Piano is a history and anthology of the role of the piano in the Cuban rhythm section – from its first appearance to the present. In a broader sense, it’s a study of the tumbao – the art of creating music from layers of repeating rhythmic and melodic phrases. Whether these syncopated figures are called tumbaos, guajeos, montunos, riffs or vamps, this Afro-Cuban concept lies at the heart of nearly every popular music genre from salsa to rock , funk, R&B, hiphop and jazz.

While presented as a set of method books, the series doubles as a history course and record collecting guide for listeners, dancers, and players of instruments other than the piano.

Perhaps the most important goal of the series is to provide a comprehensive understanding of how tumbaos are constructed, their central role in the texture of Latin music of all eras, and the endless possibilities they provide for creative composing and arranging.
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Pedro Martínez & Román Díaz

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New York (NY), United States 2009 1 0 0
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The Routes of Rumba
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Afro-Cuban $10.99 Buy_now
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The Routes of Rumba (Rumbos de la Rumba) is the result of the collaboration between professor Berta Jottar and music virtuosos Pedro Martí­nez and Román Dí­az. It is a conceptual musical journey about Rumba's performance culture understood as a set of socio-historical relations. Each track is located within a different psychic space to evoke a sense of walking in la Havana, or circulating in the African Diaspora, or feeling caught between love and conflict, between the secular and the sacred.

Pedro Martínez: Winner of a won lifetime award for the best jazz percussionist of 2007, Pedro Martínez was born and raised in Havana, Cuba. Martínez began performing at age 11, playing the conga drums and singing in comparsa groups in school. He performed with the most important rumba groups of the time: Yoruba Andabo, Obba Ilu, Tata Guines, Changuito, Anga, and many others. In 2000, Martínez won First Place in the Thelonious Monk Institute's Afro/Latin Jazz Hand Drum competition at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. Since then, Martí­nez has performed with top artists including Paquito D'Rivera, Giovanni Hidalgo, Patato, Candido Camero, and Horacio "El Negro" Hernández. He is a founding member of the popular New York City-based group Yerba Buena, and is also performing with the Mark Weinstein ensemble. Pedrito Martinez endorses LP music products.

Román Dí­az: A master percussionist and direct disciple of Pancho Quinto (founder of the group Añagui), Román Díaz was also born and raised in Havana. He was trained by elders in the fine arts of classic Afro-Cuban musical traditions. In the USA, he organized a performance ensemble called "Omi Odara" (a Lukumi phrase meaning "water that blesses") and they perform ritual Santeria, Abakuá, and Palo Monte music, as well as continue the rumba and Son lineages of Arsenio Rodriguez, Chano Pozo, and Ignacio Pineiro's Septeto Nacional, all of whom drew upon Cuba's African heritage in their music. Diaz's ensemble is distinguished for respecting these traditions through artful and passionate performances based on deep ritual knowledge.

Berta Jottar: Video Artist and Assistant Professor of Theatre and Latina/o Studies at Williams College in Massachusetts. Berta's doctoral thesis, "Rumba in Exile: Irrational Noise, Zero Tolerance & the Poetics of Resistance in Central Park" [NYU 2005] focuses on the struggle between the New York rumba community and Mayor Giuliani's Zero Tolerance policies.

ABOUT THE PROJECT - The Routes of Rumba/Rumbos de la Rumba is the result of my collaboration with music virtuosos Pedro Martí­nez and Román Dí­az. It is a conceptual musical journey about Rumba's performance culture understood as a set of socio-historical relations. Each track is located within a different psychic space to evoke a sense of walking in la Havana, or circulating in the African Diaspora, or feeling caught between love and conflict, between the secular and the sacred.

Soon after their arrival to New York, I saw Pedrito and Roman performing at La Esquina Habanera, a well-established Cuban Rumba space in Union City, New Jersey. This project is their first recording in the U.S. as a duo elaborating the entire music in the Rumba warapachanguera style. Most Rumba records are performed by established ensembles, or what is known as a "ven tu," a jam session organized by invitation. This work however traces Pedrito and Román's musical synergy.

This project is also about Pedrito and Román's encounter with the diversity of NYC rumberos. We invited Alfredo Díaz "Pescao" who arrived to the U.S. in 1980 with the Mariel Exodo. Pescao's contribution was not only his voice and original compositions, but his witty sense of humor bringing the street and solar energy into the project, the elements of el ambiente de la Rumba: El Brete (neigborhood gossip), Salud Estomacal (on culinary matters), and El Monumento, a tribute honoring Manuel Martí­nez Olivera "El Llanero." Pedrito, Román and Pescao performed together these three numbers, creating a sparkling call and response dynamic necessary in a good Rumba. Thus this recording connects two Rumba generations in the Diaspora, Pedrito and Román's, who were entirely raised in Revolutionary Cuba and departed during the Special Period, and Pescao and Manuel's generation who grew up in-between the Batista and Castro regimes and left during the Mariel boatlift. Two migratory generations still connected through Rumba as their common denominator and epistemological framework.

Thus this project is invested in Rumba's multiple trajectories and layers to demonstrate the presence of history and memory, as they conflate momentarily within Rumba's contemporary sound, "lo antaño con lo moderno." (Roman Díaz) While Rumba is a highly intellectual, emotional and spiritual, it is also about street culture, just as one walks alone through the asphalt. Thus where there is rumba, there is controversy, gossip and poetic conspiracies.