Gabriel Alegria Afro-Peruvian Sextet
Gabriel Alegria, Trumpet & Flugel Horn
Laura Andrea Leguía, Saxophones
Yuri Juarez, Acoustic Guitar
Freddy “Huevito” Lobatón, Cajón, Quijada & Cajita
Bam Bam Rodríguez, Double Bass
“Rhythm-saturated, orchestrally-enticing performances that are the definition of sonic joy.”
— Latino Magazine
The Afro-Peruvian Sextet (also Quintet) was established in 2005. The ensemble’s insistently inventive program of traditional Afro-Peruvian music transformed by Gabriel Alegría’s highly personal synthesis of folkloric Afro-Peruvian rhythms, jazz, and other musical strains has led to a signature accomplishment: developing the band’s patented blend of deep scholarship and playfulness into a touring experience that conveys a vast knowledge of the music and, perhaps more importantly, transmits black music from coastal Perú as a way of life to its audiences.
The Afro-Peruvian Sextet has produced five CDs, one DVD and one vinyl record to date. Their audiences come from all over the globe and include a legion of dedicated fans who work directly with the band on various projects including concert promotion, merchandise sales and most notably, Tour Perú, an innovative concept by which fans of the band literally join the musicians on the road in Perú once per year. With home bases in Lima and New York City, the band has been embraced by both cities. In 2015 Hot House Magazine awarded the band New York City’s “Best Ensemble of the Year” award and the New York City Jazz Record “Best Latin Jazz Album.”
The band has successfully developed and consolidated a thriving “scene” around Afro-Peruvian jazz music. The Latin Jazz Network described the band in this way: “Every once in a while there comes a musician who, when playing his or her chosen instrument, seems to carry within a vital life-force that is irrepressible.”
Amidst the Afro-Peruvian Sextet’s detailed fusion of Afro-Peruvian rhythms and jazz harmonies, lies a very demanding, authentic and honest interpretation. The New York Times writes “the Sextet knows its mission well and has the execution down to a science.” “Peruvian trumpeter Gabriel Alegría champions Afro-Peruvian music,” wrote Downbeat Magazine in a prominent review, “the hip asymmetrical bass line of Alegría’s El Norte is goaded by wonderful hand percussion and stickmanship on cajita from Hugo Alcázar and Freddy “Huevito” Lobatón.” Latino Magazine described the music as “rhythm-saturated, orchestrally-enticing performances that are the definition of sonic joy” while the Wall Stree Journal echoed with “a highly sympatico blend of North American improv and South American beats.”
FREDDY "HUEVITO" LOBATON, PERCUSSION
A master percussionist and zapateo dancer, Maestro Huevito lives in Pamplona Alta, Lima, Peru. He has performed and toured internationally with Afro-Peruvian music luminaries and played and composed for Eva Ayllón, Peru Negro, Lucila Campos, Guajaja and la Peña Don Porfirio. A member of Peru’s legendary Lobatón family, Huevito began developing his skills at the age of four watching his father’s dance troupe rehearse in their living room. He is considered the world’s leading authority on Peruvian zapateo dancing, a three-time National Champion, and one of the most virtuosic percussionists of his generation. Huevito’s distinctive approach to the cajón, quijada (jawbone) and cajita in a jazz context has made him a pioneer among Afro-Peruvian percussionists. He is often considered “the best cajón player in the world.” He is a founding member and an essential element of Gabriel Alegriá’s music since 2005. Huevito has also appeared as guest artist on stage and in recordings with The Maria Schneider Jazz Orchestra, Arturo O’farrill’s Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra and in hundreds of recordings and broadcasts throughout Perú.
YURI JUAREZ, ACOUSTIC GUITAR
Yuri Juarez is a passionate scholar, performer and disciple of Afro-Peruvian music born in one of Lima’s most emblematic musical neighborhoods, Breña. Most notably he has served as musical director and guitarist for the avant-garde Afro-Peruvian dance troupe Milenio participating in both Latin American and European tours. He has also performed and recorded with Susana Baca, Chaqueta Piaggio, Pilar de la Hoz, Ndugu Chancler and John Thomas and released a solo recording that traces the evolution of Afro-Peruvian music. Juarez’s interest in American jazz and deep knowledge of Afro-Peruvian music make him one of the most sought-after contemporary guitarists in Lima. Most recently he released Tango Landó with Argentinian singer Sofía Tosello, bridging the gap between two seemingly disparate musical traditions. Yuri has performed consistently with the Sextet since joining the band in 2008 and can be heard on four Sextet albums: Pucusana (2010), El Secreto del Jazz Afroperuano (2012), Ciudad de los Reyes (2013) and “10” (2015).
LAURA ANDREA LEGUIA, SAXOPHONES
Peruvian saxophonist and composer Laurandrea Leguía has participated in Gabriel Alegría’s Afro-Peruvian jazz projects since their inception in the year 2000. She has become Gabriel Alegría’s writing counterpart penning a large part of the material for the band’s recordings. Her playing is featured prominently throughout the band’s music and can be described as a new language that uses diatonic transposition within the flavor and structures of Coastal music from Perú. Leguía has toured the USA, Latin America, Europe and Canada with various Afro-Peruvian jazz projects and her performing, writing and recording credits include work with Ingrid Jensen, Maria Schneider, Natalie Cole and Ndugu Chancler. She has a bachelor’s degree in jazz studies from the University of Southern California and a Masters Degree in Jazz Studies from New York University. She released her fist solo project called Saxofón Criollo in 2011 and has served as Executive Producer of Jazz Peru International’s Festival Jazz Perú. Most notably, she has recently launched her most ambitious creative project to date: The Laura Andrea Leguía Afro-Peruvian Orchestra.
BAM BAM RODRIGUEZ, DOUBLE BASS
Bam Bam was born in Caracas, Venezuela in 1987. Had his first steps in music sneaking through rock jam sessions at the age of 4, which led him to start playing the electric bass and studying music on his own from the age of 7. Started taking music lessons at the age of 10, and one year later he joined the “Conservatorio Simon Bolivar” in Caracas, the most prestigious music school of the capital, where he started learning to play the double bass. At the age of 18 he traveled to Belgium to get a bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in Jazz Double Bass, and three years later he moved again to Holland to get a Master’s diploma in Jazz and Latin American and West African rhythms. In 2012 Bambam moved to NYC to continue his career in music, where he leads and co-leads many musical projects, and he has collaborated with the likes of Claudia Acuña, Ari Hoenig, Yayo Serka, Laura Andrea Leguia and The Gabriel Alegria Afro-Peruvian sextet. While living in NYC, he still regularly tours Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean.
Performing at Music Mountain on Saturday, June 15, 2019, 5 PM, Gordon HallTickets