Papo Vazquez Mighty Pirates Troubadours
- Festival Performance Date: Sunday, September 1, 2013
- Festival Performance Time: 3:30 – 4:30pm
- Festival Performance Location / Address: Millennium Park - Jazz and Heritage Pavilion (North Promenade), 201 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60601
- Artist Website: papovazquez.com
- Instrument: Trombone
Trombonist, composer and arranger Papo Vazquez is more than thirty-five years into a career spanning the jazz, Latin, Afro-Caribbean and classical music and recording worlds. This year he's focusing all energies on his new recording Oasis with his Mighty Pirates Troubadours the core band which is a seven piece Afro Puerto Rican Jazz group and invited guests.The recording will be on sale after July 2012 on his Picaro record label.
Trombonist, composer and arranger Papo Vazquez is more than thirty-five years into a career spanning the jazz, Latin, Afro-Caribbean and classical music and recording worlds.
This year he's focusing all energies on his new recording Oasis with his Mighty Pirates Troubadours the core band which is a seven piece Afro Puerto Rican Jazz group and invited guests.The recording will be on sale after July 2012 on his Picaro record label.
Last year 2011 he was presented by Pregones Theater an NEA Latino Masters Award under the National Endowments for the Arts American Masterpieces.
In 2010, Papo was commissioned on behalf of Wynton Marsalis for a new work inspired by Cuban painter Wilfredo Lam; which was then performed as part of Jazz at Lincoln Center Jazz and Art concert series.
Papo won a Grammy nomination for Best Latin Jazz Album for "Papo Vazquez Mighty Pirates" in 2008 for his recording Marooned/Aislado, on his own independent label, Picaro Records.
Vazquez was born in 1958 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. After spending his early years in Puerto Rico, he grew up in the heart of North Philadelphia's Puerto Rican community. He bought his first trombone from a friend for $5 and joined the elementary school band.
At the age of 14, an uncle recommended him to a local salsa band, where he met trumpet player Jimmy Purvis. Purvis inspired Papos lifelong passion for jazz by giving him two records: J.J. Johnson's Blue Trombone and John Coltrane Live at the Village Vanguard. By 15, Vazquez was performing with local Latin bands in Philadelphia and accompanying visiting artists such as Eddie Palmieri.
At only 17, he moved to New York and was hired to play for trumpet player Chocolate Armentero's band, and soon began playing and recording with other top artists in the salsa scene like The Fania All- Stars, Ray Barretto, Willie Colon, Grupo Folklorico Nuyorquino, Eddie Palmieri, Larry Harlow, and Hector La Voe. Vazquez also became a key player in New Yorks burgeoning Latin jazz scene of the late 1970's, performing with Jerry Gonzalez, Hilton Ruiz, and more. He began studying with Slide Hampton, eventually recording and performing for Slide Hampton's World of Trombones.
Vazquez went on to perform with jazz luminaries Dizzy Gillespie, Frank Foster, Mel Lewis, Mario Rivera, Hilton Ruiz and Milton Cardona, and to tour Europe with the Ray Charles Orchestra. By the age of 22, Vazquez had traveled the globe.
He was a founding member of Jerry Gonzalez' Fort Apache and Conjunto Libre as well as of Puerto Ricos popular Latin fusion band Batacumbele, performing and recording several albums with the group from 1981 to 1985. Upon his return to New York, he joined Tito Puente's Latin Jazz Ensemble, traveling with them as principal trombonist, and toured Europe with Dizzy Gillespie's United Nations Orchestra.
Leader, Composer, Innovator
Vazquez has always been deeply moved by jazz, and specifically cites the music of John Coltrane and J.J. Johnson as having most influenced him. In addition, his appreciation for and knowledge of the indigenous music of the Caribbean peoples provides him with a unique ability to fuse Afro-Caribbean rhythms, specifically those from Puerto Rico, with freer melodic and harmonic elements of progressive jazz.
During his time back in Puerto Rico with Batacumbele in the 1980s, he began to experiment with bomba jazz, a mixture of jazz and traditional Puerto Rican bomba. In 1993 he recorded his first album as a leader, Breakout. He continued collaborating with a variety of Latin Jazz artists, contributing to Hilton Ruizs Manhattan Mambo and Abrazate: Descarga Boricua, Vol. 2.
In 1999, he released a live recording featuring a number of important New York Latin and jazz artists, including bassist Andy Gonzalez, saxophonists Willie Williams and Michael Brecker, and drummer Horacio Hernandez. The release of Pirates & Troubadours - At the Point, Vol. 1 was followed next year with At The Point, Vol. 2. This project evolved into the Pirates Troubadours, an Afro- Puerto Rican jazz band including musicians such as Roberto Cepeda Milton Cardona and Anthony Carrillo on percussion, John Benitez on bass and Dafnis Prieto on drums, The group performed at festivals around the world and released Carnival in San Juan in 2003, followed by From The Badlands in 2007.
During this time, interest in Vazquez as a composer grew. He was the first artist to receive a composers commission (Iron Jungle) for the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra, then a resident orchestra at Jazz at Lincoln Center. His first classical composition, Palomita Afro-Caribbean Suite, was commissioned by the Bronx Arts Ensemble and premiered at the Hostos Center for the Arts and Culture in the Bronx in 2004. In 2007, on a commission from the Bronx River Arts Center, he wrote Sube el Rio (River Rising) for their 20th Anniversary Bronx River Sounds concert.
The same year, through a grant from The Painted Bride Art Center in Philadelphia, Vazquez was asked to expand Pirates Troubadours, and was commissioned to compose new music for a 19-piece, Afro-Puerto Rican Jazz Orchestra. The 2008 event was recorded live, resulting in Papo Vazquez Mighty Pirates Marooned/Aislado, which received a Grammy nomination for Best Latin Jazz Album. The Mighty Pirates Orchestra continues to allow Vazquez the opportunity to blend multi-faceted compositions and trombone style with rhythms of Afro- Caribbean origins and jazz. Sometimes joined by folk dancers that enhance the music, the orchestra has garnered rave reviews. They are known for Papo's variations on traditional themes, and terms like like Yuba' Jazz, Holande Pirata, Jibaro Waltz, Plena Funk and Mapeye Jazz are used to help describe his music.
In 2009, Vazquez premiered a composition "Oasis" with the Bronx Arts Ensemble at its Memorial Day Concert. It was his seventh year writing for this concert, held annually in Van Cortland Park in the Bronx. This work grew into the expanded Oasis Project, which had its 2010 premiere at the Pregones Theater in the Bronx with the Pirates Troubadours performing with the Bronx Arts Ensemble and Multicultural Music Group.
Vazquez has also shared his compositions with Ruben Blades (Tengan Fe/Antecedente), Hilton Ruiz (Manhattan Mambo) and Dave Valentin (Tropic Heat), among others.
His song "Baila Plena" from the At The Point, Vol I. recording is featured on the soundtrack for the movie Free Enterprise. Other movie credits include playing on the soundtracks for The Mambo Kings and Spike Lees Mo Better Blues. ----------
Selected Honors and Awards
Latino Masters Award by the Pregones Theater under the National Endowment for the Arts American Masterpieces: Presenting program
Commission from Wynton Marsalis for a new work for Jazz at Lincoln Centers February 2010 Jazz and Art Concert inspired by Cuban painter Wilfredo Lam
Grammy Nomination: Best Latin Jazz Album for Papo Vazquez Mighty Pirates Marooned/Aislado, Picaro Records
Awarded by Los Pleneros de la 21 for musical contributions in the development of Puerto Rican music.
Commission (Iron Jungle) for the newly created Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra in residence at Jazz at Lincoln Center. First classical commission (Palomita) for the Bronx Arts Ensemble.
Grammy: Best Jazz Instrumental Album, Wayne Shorters Alegria (Verve Records)
New York Times list of "Top 10 Undeservedly
Taller de Jazz Don Pedro in Puerto Rico Award,
DownBeat Magazines list of Talent Deserving Wider Recognition.
Best Trombone, Latin New York Magazine
Papo Vazquez The Mighty Pirates - Marooned/Aislado, Picaro Records, 2008 - Grammy Nomination, Best Latin Jazz Album
Papo Vazquez Pirates Troubadours - From The Badlands, Picaro Records, 2007 - Best World Music CD, World Music Central & New York Times
Tego Calderon - The Underdog/El Subestimado, Jiggiri Records,
2006 Shakira & Wyclef Jean - World Soccer Final Theme (Bamboo),
2006 Ray Barretto - Standards Rican-ditioned, Zoho Music,
2006 Los Pleneros de la 21 - Para Todos Ustedes, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, 2005 - Grammy Nomination,
Best Traditional World Music Album Bebo Valdez - Bebo de Cuba, Calle 54, 2005 - Grammy, Best Latin Jazz Album
Papo Vazquez Pirates Troubadours - Carnival in San Juan, Cu-Bop Records,
2003 Wayne Shorter Alegria, Verve, 2003 Grammy, Best Jazz Instrumental Album
Freddie Cole Rio de Janeiro Blues, Telarc
Chico O'Farrill "Carambola" Fantasy
Papo Vazquez "Pirates & Troubadours - At the Point Vol. I" Cubop Papo Vazquez "Pirates & Troubadours - At the Point Vol. 2" Cubop
Milton Cardona "Cambucha" American Clave
Arturo O'Farrill "Bloodlines" Fantasy
Chucho Valdes "All Stars Bronx Lebanon New Directions Project" RMM
"Jammin' in the Bronx" Papo Vazquez Band, Chucho Valdes & The Machito Orq RMM
Chart Busters with Dr. Lonnie Smith, Lenny White, Hiram Bullock, Craig Handy, Papo Vazquez, et.al.
Chico O'Farrill "Pure Emotion" Fantasy
Steve Berrios "First World" Fantasy
Descarga Boricua "Descarga Boricua" Tierrazo
Dave Valentin "Tropic Heat" GRP
Juan Luis Guerra 440 "Fogarate" 440
Papo Vazquez "Breakout" Timeless
Ruben Blades "Amor y Control" "Antecedente" & "Caminando" Sony
Hilton Ruiz "Mannhatan Mambo" Telarc & "Hands on Percusion" RMM
Tito Puente "Out of this World" Tito Puente "100th" RMM
Bobby Valentin Presenta a el Cano Estremera
Bobby Valentin En Accion - Bronco Records
Jerry Gonzalez Fort Apache Band "Obatala" & "Live in Berlin" Enja & "Ya Yo Me Cure" American Clave
Batacumbele "Con Un Poco de Songo" & "En Aquellos Tiempos" Tierrazo
Ray Barretto "Ricanstruction" Fania
Slide Hampton "World of Trombones" WEST54
Chico O'Farrill "Calle 54"
Fania All Stars "Havana Jam" Fania
Willie Colon & Ruben Blades "Siembra" Fania
Willie Colon & Celia Cruz Fania Hector La Voe "De Ti Depende" Fania
Mon Rivera "Vuelvo a Vivir" Fania