Album: Herencia Criolla
Street Date: March 18, 2022
For decades now, the makeup of modern jazz in the United States has been deeply shaped by the influx of Latin American and the Caribbean musicians. Today, we have reached the point where elements of these foreign traditions have crept into the many jazz scenes and become fundamental truths for jazz musicians functioning in the current space. Dominican pianist and composer Josean Jacobo is one of such precedents who has been diligently exposing audiences to such cultural concoctions throughout his multifaceted career.
Herencia Criolla further explores the specific intersection of Afro-Dominican music and jazz. In the album’s liner notes, noted music scholar Michael Ambrosino describes Jacobo’s work as a cultural amalgamation that balances the musical heritage of Merengue de Palo Echao’, Bachata, and Gagá with a contemporary Jazz sound: “Herencia Criolla deepens the musical dialectic on the enduring ingenuity of Dominican music,” Ambrosino adds. The record has an anthropological presentation — short field recordings transition into the main tracks, guiding listeners through the cultural inspiration behind each composition and arrangement, creating a bridge between history and its influence on the present.
Following the critical success of his previous album release Cimarron (E7), which broke both the top 100 on the Jazz Week radio chart and was named one of the Best Albums of 2019 by Jazziz Magazine, Herencia Criolla brings back Jacobo’s trusted rhythm section with Daroll Méndez on bass and Otoniel Nicolás on drums. All players of extraordinary range and strength, the three musicians have developed a strong rapport as an ensemble through their profound understanding of musical tradition and cultivation of a group identity.
The chemistry of the trio is showcased on the arrangement of the traditional melody “San Miguel” which serves as a clear and stellar sample of the entire album’s concept; a folk tradition of honoring a Catholic saint with African rhythms transformed into a vehicle for jazz harmony and ensemble interplay. The tracks “Batey” and “Quisqueya” augment the percussion section with lively and complex rhythms provided by Magic Mejía and Felix García, the latter inspired by the Taino name for the Hispaniola island (home of the Dominican Republic) once more anchoring the music to the roots of history in the Caribbean.
The spirited “Dos Locos” finds the fitting guest Miguel Zenon, an expert on Latin American music himself, the virtuoso altoist navigating through the tricky tune with ease and furthermore, making us believe he’s a regular member of this unit through his effortless integration with the other musicians.
The Juan Luis Guerra classic “Bachata Rosa” gets a straight eights treatment with Ramón Vázquez holding the bass chair. The fresh harmonic treatment and the band’s nimble interaction illuminates how the Latin American songbook is a fertile ground still left to explore.
In the liner notes, Ambrosino declares that “Jacobo continues to educate audiences on the impact Caribbean culture has on Jazz. Herencia Criolla, Jacobo’s latest archeological expedition, invites us to decolonize our musical mindset, honoring the complex diversity of musical influences that have forged Jazz into one of the most vibrant and influential art forms on earth”. With Herencia Criolla, Josean Jacobo adds another important document to the ever growing catalog of Latin Jazz as an inextricable partner to jazz music.
MORE ABOUT JOSEAN JACOBO
Josean Jacobo (pronounced Ho-see-ann) takes us on a sonorous journey through the identity of the Dominican people and their culture, adding into jazz some of the most relevant rhythms of his land and roots. He visits some precarious communities where the folkloric manifestations remain the soul of its inhabitants. By using his native idioms he contributes different colours and nuances to the world of Jazz and Latin Jazz. His last album “Cimarrón” broke the top 100 chart on jazz week, broke the top 50 chart on ABC Jazz Australia, got to be on BBC’s prestigious “Most requested jazz records”, got selected as one of the best albums of 2019 published on Jazziz Magazine, and got the attention of so many jazz critics, and radio shows.
Jacobo not only invites one to get acquainted and to enjoy jazz in a new and fresh direction with well thought and developed compositions, noting that the constant and successful exploration and incorporation of Josean ́s idioms embellishes and contributes to the rich lexicon of jazz through its fusions with the varied rhythmic richness of his country; but as well it should not be missing in any record collection that contemplates Latin Jazz, Jazz with Afro- Caribbean accents, jazz with the colors of Quisqueya: Afro-Dominican Jazz!
Supported by his trio, he brings to the audiences a new album Herencia Criolla, which digs deep into his culture balancing his musical heritage with contemporary jazz
Street Date: May 31, 2019
Label: E7 Studios
Featuring saxophonists Jonathan Suazo and Rafael Suncar, bassist Daroll Mendez, drummer Otoniel Nicolas and percussionist Mois Silfa, Cimarrón testifies the explosive colors of the folkloric rhythms of the group’s native Dominican Republic. A follow-up to Tumbao’s sophomore album Balsié, Cimarrón continues to develop and fortify the sub-genre of Afro-Dominican jazz. Capturing both the rhythmic and melodic elements of the rich Dominican heritage, Jacobo - hailed as “The Ambassador of Afro-Dominican Jazz” - carries the banner of diversity and instills the ideal that love is the main force that today’s world truly needs. While the album’s debut single, "Mind Reset" will be released on March 29th, Josean Jacobo & Tumbao will celebrate Cimarrón at Club Bonafide, located at 212 E 52nd St, New York on August 2nd at 10pm.
Engineered, mixed and mastered by Alberto Santamaria alongside assistant engineer Edward Moreta at Nora Sounds LLC in NYC, Cimarrón was recorded at E7 Studios, Boston, MA. Moreta is also credited to the concept of the recording, having took the role of producer and executive producer. Inspired by the likes of David Sánchez, Miguel Zenón and Danilo Pérez, Jacobo and Tumbao create an atmosphere, rich in Afro-Descendant folkloric traditions and jazz - something that is insinuated at once, in the album’s title. “Cimarronaje” refers to the escape of black slaves across the Caribbean. Taking refuge in nearby mountains, these fugitives formed societies in which their African customs integrated with that of their Spanish masters - here, the genesis of the Dominican culture was created. On Cimarrón, Jacobo and Tumbao not only present the fruitful nuances of their Dominican ancestry, but reflect upon its roots, influences and evolution.
While Jacobo lends his compositional prowess to six of the album’s tunes, the pianist reimagines the remaining four tracks with fresh and original arrangements. Bamboulá, Salve, Congos, Bachata, Mangulina, Guloya and Pambiche are just some of the rhythmic references used by the composer. A stand-out piece on the album is "El Maniel" - its fusion of contemporary jazz with Congos de Villa Mella invites the listener to enter into the refuge of the “Cimarrones”.
Becoming the standard bearers of Afro-Dominican Jazz, Josean Jacobo & Tumbao are excited to introduce their audience to this collection of enriched, innovative music that greatly contributes to the universal language of jazz.
Derived from liner notes by Fernando Rodriguez De Mondesert.
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for Herencia Criolla
RAUL DA GAMA
LATIN JAZZ NET
"The pianist’s sound is always penetrating and focused, his view of dynamics on the forceful side and his command of line firm, with just enough elasticity to give phrases the lift or space they need to take an organic place in the structural picture." Read the review here.
"A smart, snazzy piano man, Jacobo plays with the kind of passion that made us music fans lean toward getting adventurous in the first place. A welcome new flavor to the piano jazz realm." Read the review here.
"Jacobo’s trio (Daroll Mendez on acoustic bass, Otoniel Nicolas on drums) play sparkling music.." Read the review here.
"Josean Jacobo further explores the specific intersection of Afro-Dominican musical heritage and contemporary jazz sounds on his new album, Herencia Criolla.." Read The Week in Jazz here.
"Almost every tune features a taped introduction of some tribal chants, village sounds or folk atmospheres that eventually lead into the main theme.." Read the review here.
"These ten finely crafted tracks embrace the traditional rhythms of the small nation, with its coexisting musical traditions and sub-genres, and strengthens contemporary Afro-Caribbean jazz." Read the full review here.
"His piano soars and floats on the ten songs here, while the polyrhythms of the hand drums and other percussion give credence to a history of solid representation of the music of African souls who have mingled and transformed Spanish-derived sounds to create what we today know as salve, congos, bachata, and more. The language of jazz has broadened in this context, and this album is a distinctive beginning for new listeners." Review here.
RAUL DA GAMA
“Rippling jazz grooves form from Josean's piano, with a delicate curlicue of melodic and harmonic lines, as the rest of the group is roused lby the thunderous collision of Afro-Dominican rhythms.” Read the full review here.
NEW YORK CITY JAZZ RECORD
"Jacobo's use of AfroDominican rhythms brings unorthodox and consistently exciting results." Read the full review here.
“The music flows throughout, much like water flowing in a gentle stream.”
"It’s the blending of the folk melodies, the many indigenous rhythms, and the fusion of old school and contemporary that make Jacobo & Tumbao one of today’s freshest and most compelling sounds in Latin jazz." Read the full review here.
"This record is a treat for those who like their music infused with historic association but at the same time brimming with contemporary vitality and energy." Read the full review here.
RAUL DA GAMA
LATIN JAZZ NET
"Fortunately “listening” is not something you will have a hard time doing to the musical voice of Josean Jacobo as he and his band Tumbao create their musical outpouring on this magnificent album, Cimarrón." Editors Pick review here.
DEE DEE MCNEIL
"The group, Tumbao, digs deeply into the history of Afro-Dominican jazz. You hear the exciting rhythms and the African influence in Josean Jacobo’s expressive arranging." Review here.