Alex García's AfroMantra
"This Side of Mestizaje"
CD Release Party
@The New York City Business Club Friday, May 2nd 7-10 PM
Ole Mathisen-soprano sax
Mike Eckroth- pianist
Ariel de la Portilla- bass,
Alex García-drums, arrangements and compositions
Ok, listen up everybody. This new CD by AFROMANTRA/Alex Garcia, is so hot, that it burns the delights of all senses. From beginning to end, Alex Garcia and all the members of AFROMANTRA, demostrate once again, that this a very serious group to pay attention to. - Ivan Acosta Latin Jazz USA
THIS SIDE OF MESTIZAJE
By Eliseo Cardona
He may be the first to disputed. And yet when writing music, drummer and composer Alex García seem to always be working in the realm of songwriting. Set lyrics to those long musical exploration he likes to write for his band AfroMantra, and you'll probably get songs of the kind Chabuca Granda o Violeta Parra would have enjoyed if they approached the Latin American experience as a cross-pollination experiment.
This is what García does best, bringing together everything he has made his own: the Cuban rhythms he studied and treasured while growing up in Havana; the ancentral sounds of Peruvian music while also growing up in Lima; the jazz masters he has studied in awe. All has been mixed with the formative years in his native Santiago de Chile, which gave him the foundaton to open his ears, heart and mind. You can say that García does is jazz, claiming roots everywhere. This also what “This Side of Mestizaje” is all about.
The album is AfroMantra's latest recording. And it is the band's most brilliant. To peg the word jazz to it would be simply an understatement. True, these songs are springboards from which García and company work at once subtle and complex improvisations, but they also form a strong narrative that claims space in the chamber music hall. Songs with big musical statement.
Pianist John Lewis used to say that was higher call. Actually, all great music requires an elevation. Garcia invites his listeners to listen carefully while enjoying the journey.
(Cover Photo By Eliseo Cardona)
(photo by Martin Cohen)
Music is the most intimate journey there is. And when music is good, it brings listeners together, fans are pleased and hearts are contented.
Drummer and composer Alex García has made this belief the cornerstone of "This Side of Mestizaje" the latest recording of his iconic band AfroMantra. Described by many as "a gorgeous suite of intelligent details," the album will be released May 6, 2014.
The CD release party will take place on Friday, May 2nd, 2014 in The New York City Business Club, located at 4 West 43rd St Between 5th and 6th Av in Manhattan from 7:00 to 10:00 PM. www.
AfroMantra is one of the most refined, sophisticated bands in New York's Latin jazz scene. It is, as one critic described it, "a lab of rhythms crisscrossing the Americas." Indeed, the band is the brainchild of Chilean-born, New York-based drummer Alex García, a composer who also believes that sounds celebrate many identities, not one, cultural experiences and artistic heights.
"This Side of Mestizaje" was recorded by soprano sax Ole Mathisen, pianist Mike Eckroth, bassist Ariel de la Portilla and Alex García on drums, arrangements and compositions. AfroMantra has been recording and performing for more than 13 years. Its third CD, "Uplifting Spirit-Espíritu Optimista," garnered the attention of numerous jazz critics and radio stations around the world. The latest "This Side of Mestizaje" reaches new levels of interaction and beauty through a program of songs that celebrate the art of polyrhythms. Each is a small suite in a suite-like, larger canvas that pays tribute to many sounds of the Americas. This is what AfroMantra does best: to ride the different American sounds in an effortless way.
"Even in the beginning, we all felt that the band was like a musical family," says Alex García. "But now, of course, the spirit of togetherness is more intimate, more tight and more telepathic. We aim for beauty and surprises, leaving spaces to learn more and enjoy the music."
Born in Santiago, Chile, raised first in Lima, Perú and then Havana, Cuba, Alex García hails from a family of artists and musicians: his father, Fernando García Arancibia, is a prestigious contemporary composer who has seen his work performed by many important Latin American and European musicians; his mother, Hilda Riveros Wainstein, was an accomplished choreographer and dancer who after being the First Dancer at the National Ballet of Chile, worked for many years with her own modern dance company, Ballet Moderno de Camara in Lima, Perú; she then went to Cuba to become staff dancer and choreographer for Ballet Nacional de Cuba, and again to Chile to the Ballet Nacional Chileno and Ballet del Teatro Municipal in Santiago, Chile.
Alex graciously has dedicated this new release to her late mother as a way to say thank you for all the positive influences and impact she and his father have made on him.
"Music was not something I decided to follow," says García; "even though I started a little late (17 years old), I believe music was always part of my DNA, part of who I am. I would say that music has been the passion that pushes me to live and create."
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