Archive for latin jazz

Atlanta Jazz Fest 2012 Preview – Tito Puente, Jr.

Posted in Atlanta Jazz Festival 2012 with tags , , , , on May 24, 2012 by curtjazz

“He was just too vibrant, too exciting. There was magic in the music my father made. It made people happy all over the world.” – Tito Puente, Jr.

Tito Puente, Jr. is one of three cats in the world of music that I wouldn’t trade places with for anything.

The other two are Frank Sinatra, Jr. and Ravi Coltrane

By now, you get my point. These guys have chosen to make a living in a musical world where their fathers were not just legends, but transcendent figures. Not only that, they also all bear striking physical resemblances to their dads and they are practicing their art on the same instruments that made their fathers famous.  The younger Sinatra, with all due respect has wilted under the pressure. Whereas the other two are more than holding their own.

Puente, Jr., who turns 41 in early June, has fully embraced his legacy, as he now leads a band that joyously celebrates his dad by playing many of the songs that made Tito Puente a household name, in addition to some newer tunes that were composed for or by Tito, Jr.

The younger Puente is touchingly reverent about his father’s memory “People who don’t know anything about Latin music know my father and people always, always smile when they say my father’s name.  That is a very special gift I have been given.”

Tito Puente, Jr. will share that gift with us on Sunday night May 27, as he closes the second night of the 2012 Atlanta Jazz Festival with a show that starts at 9 pm. I don’t know if there will be a dance floor, but what the hell, we’ll just make our own!

Tito Puente, Jr.’s latest album is Got Mambo? on Salsalsa Records. You can find more information about him on his new official website

For further information about this year’s Atlanta Jazz Festival visit

Atlanta Jazz Festival 2011 – Ninety Miles

Posted in Atlanta Jazz Festival 2011, JazzLives!, The Jazz Continues... with tags , , , , , , , on May 29, 2011 by curtjazz

Talk about finishing strong…The Piedmont Park portion of the 2011 Atlanta Jazz Festival concludes tonight with Ninety Miles: a group composed of trumpeter Christian Scott, tenor saxophonist David Sánchez, vibraphonist Stefon Harris and some of Cuba’s finest jazz musicians. Their album, also called Ninety Miles, will be released June 21st, on Concord Picante Records.  Filmmaker Devin DeHaven has produced and directed a documentary film about the project that will be released this summer.

The group and project draw its name, of course, from the geographical distance between the U.S. and Cuba.  Though we are physically very close, politics, as we all know, has kept the countries far apart for over half a century. 

“This record is about the power of music to communicate, and break down some of the barriers that result from language and politics and culture,” says John Burk, Chief Creative Officer of Concord Music Group and producer of the album. He developed the idea for the project after experiencing first-hand the visceral energy exchange between artists and audiences at the Cuban Jazz Festival in 2008. After more than a year of negotiations with representatives of the Cuban music industry – not to mention clearing the various travel-related hurdles with the U.S. State Department and the Cuban government; Harris, Sánchez and Scott were booked  to perform in Havana in May 2010 with many of the same Cuban players he’d seen at the festival a couple of years earlier. Ninety Miles is a snapshot of the rehearsals just prior to the 2010 performance.

That snapshot will be on the Atlanta Jazz Festival stage tonight, at 9:00. If you’re in the area, it is a must-see event.

For further information about the 2011 Atlanta Jazz Festival, visit their website:

For further information about the Ninety Miles Project, visit their website: