Last Week began the 17th annual Dominican Republic Jazz Festival. For all those who love top notch Latin jazz from some of the past and present greats this is a must see. This was our third time attending. It comes to Puerto Plata, Sosua and Cabarete and runs a total of four nights. We always like to attend the last two nights as it’s held on the beach in Cabarete. I couldn’t think of a nicer setting for a concert.
The Jazz festival is packed with families both visiting and residing and makes for a wonderful family outing. Free for all so it’s affordable to families on a tighter budget. A safe environment for families with younger children it’s a jammed pack festival of fun that provides some of the best sounding Latin jazz you’ve ever heard in your life. Just a sample of the talent included in this year’s Jazz Festival included:
Abraham Laboriel: “The most widely used session bassist of our time” according to Guitar Player magazine. Born and raised in Mexico City to Honduran parents, he received his earliest training from his father, a gifted composer and guitarist. A graduate of Berklee College of Music in Boston,
Abraham has performed on over 4000 recordings and movie soundtracks. Abraham was a founding member of pioneering jazz groups Friendship with Ernie Watts, Lee Ritenour, and Alex Acuna and Koinonia with Justo Almario and Alex Acuna. He has recorded and performed with a remarkable array of jazz artists including Al Jarreau, Dianne Reeves, George Benson, Larry Carlton, Dave Grusin, Ella Fitzgerald, Herbie Hancock, Joe Lovano, Manhattan Transfer, Joe Sample, the Crusaders, Kirk Whalum, and Joe Williams.
Alex Acuña: Nominated three times for the completo American Grammy and Latin Grammy. Alex Acuña was born and raised in Lima, Peru. Self-taught musician, with a great musical gift of God, and by the inspiration of his father and brothers (all of them musicians) at the age of 4 he started playing the drums and the percussion and after a 10-year-old began to work with the Orchestra of his father and brothers “Tropical Boys of los Hermanos Neciosup” at the age of 16 became in Lima in one of the Peruvian musicians most requested as transferor for various programs of television, theatre, movies and disc recordings. Also participating as a musician in concerts, becoming a musician/artist of high level in his native country – Peru.
Richie Flores: One of the most in-demand percussionists of today’s active music scene has captured the attention of fans and critics alike by way of his electric performances that continually thrill audiences worldwide. Recently described by Latin Beat Magazine as having “the fastest hands in the East and the West,” Richie’s music is primal and powerful.
He is currently in the process of innovating a new sound for the band of which he is leading; an exciting, contemporary fusion containing elements of rap, jazz and even salsa, further complemented by lyrics that contain a positive message of hope, a message that is relevant to the challenging issues we face in today’s ever changing world. Born in Brooklyn, New York, but raised in Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico, Richie was a prodigious talent as a young child that began playing congas at the early age of 5.
Joshy Melo & su for Jazz: Joshy Melo, musician, arranger, composer and singer-songwriter, was born on January 25th, 1987 in the city of. Monte Llano, Puerto Plata. Since a very young age, he showed interest in the arts, specially music, and the church became his platform where he started his first steps. At age 17, he moved to to Santo Domingo, and signed up in the faculty of engineering, a few semester later he decided to change and study what he was passionate about, music. There he showed great skill in string instruments, and was part of the cultural groups of the Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo. Has studied harmony, composition and arrangements, endorsed by Berklee Collage of Music and Universidad Pedro Henriquez Ureña, besides other training that has strengthened his formation.
This is nothing short of a professional quality show from beginning to climax that runs into the wee hours of the evening. The light show is spectacular with computer controlled multi-colored lights ranging in colors and densities the almost boggles the imagination. Yes the DR loves its music.
The amenities are endless and everything you want is available. From sit down dining to a cold beer and a pizza to go. It’s all there located right on the sand at Cabarete beach. For one of the most memorable nights you’ll ever enjoy you have to come on down and check this out. Every once in a while you just have to take some time and share some of the good life. Tomorrow will be an interesting day once again. Till next time this is Barry