GRAMMY® Award-Winning Doug Beavers Releases New Album Art of the Arrangement
Ft Pedrito Martinez, Ray Santos, Oscar Hernández, Jose Madera, Angel Fernandez, Marty Sheller, Gonzalo Grau, Herman Olivera, Luques Curtis and More!
On his previous release, 2015’s Titanes del Trombón, the GRAMMY® Award-winning
Doug Beavers — as the album’s title suggested — focused on honoring his fellow trombonists and pioneers such as J.J. Johnson, Barry Rogers and Slide Hampton. The recording received universal praise with Jazzwax magazine calling it “absolutely
hypnotic” and Latin Jazz Network deeming the release a “precious and significant work.” Publications as prestigious as Downbeat, JAZZIZ and Latino Magazine also joined in the chorus, each providing feature space to this magnificent project that paid tribute to some of the unsung masters of an often underappreciated instrument. At the time of the release of Titanes del Trombón, Beavers took note of the fact that many of the great trombonists of the past were also first-rate arrangers, and that steered him toward the music that now comprises his latest release, Art of the Arrangement
(ArtistShare, August 25, 2017). The new collection is an homage to the greatest Latin jazz and salsa arrangers of our time, including Gil Evans, Ray Santos, Jose Madera, Oscar Hernández, Angel Fernandez, Marty Sheller, and Gonzalo Grau. Throughout the history of Latin jazz, and jazz in general, it’s the arrangers who have shaped the music, and quite often their contributions have been overlooked, or ignored altogether. Doug Beavers sets out to change that fact on the ambitious, Art of the Arrangement. “There’s a whole story to tell, a premise, and I want to put New York City’s best arrangers in the spotlight,” Beavers explains. “I was fortunate to be able to amass an amazing studio orchestra with a ‘Who’s Who’ of New York’s salsa and Latin jazz scene for a completely live recorded album. The orchestra includes three saxophonists, three trumpets, trombone, bass trombone, two French horns, and tuba. It was an unforgettable New York moment, the orchestra was incredible and we did the whole album in just two studio dates.”
Doug Beavers “Art of the Arrangemen” Featured Compositions In the world of jazz arrangement, no single figure looms larger than the late Gil Evans, and it was for him that the album opener, “New Rumba,” was conceived. Beavers’ reinterpretation of the Evans-arranged classic from Miles Davis’ landmark 1959 Miles Ahead album sets the stage for the rest of the recording and as Beavers notes, “it commemorates one of my central influences.” “El Truquito” (The Little Trick) features an arrangement and a trombone solo by Beavers, with vocals by Frankie Vazquez. “This is a re-imagination of an Ismael Rivera classic,” he says. “My arrangement combines the influences of the big Palladium orchestras of Tito Puente, Tito Rodriguez, Machito and Eddie Palmieri.” The first single off the album, it’s a hard-driving dance number. “It was essential to capture the immense power of the orchestra in the studio, and ‘El Truquito’ did just that,” says Beavers. “Estoy Como Nunca” (I’m Better Than Ever) is arranged by Marty Sheller, and sung by Herman Olivera, with solos by Beavers as well as Johnny “Dandy” Rodriguez (bongos) and Jose Madera (timbales). “When I phoned Marty Sheller to be a part of this
project, I asked him what tune from his storied history as an arranger he would like to reinterpret,” says Beavers. “This was his answer, a masterful take on a Tito Rodriguez classic that Marty originally arranged for Manny Oquendo’s Conjunto Libre. He did a
completely new arrangement for Art of the Arrangement.” Marc Anthony veteran and master arranger Angel Fernandez composed a classic arrangement of Arsenio Rodriguez’s original descarga number, “Para Bailar el Montuno” (To Dance the Montuno). Solos are provided by a pair of 40-plus-year veterans, pianist Oscar Hernandez and tresero Nelson Gonzalez, with vocals by Herman Olivera. The orchestra effortlessly fuses inflections of the bolero “La Pared” in the middle of “Para Bailar el Montuno” to soaring results. “De Repente” (Suddenly) is composed by Aldemaro Romero and arranged by Oscar Hernandez. The singers are Cita Rodriguez (the daughter of Pete “El Conde” Rodriguez) and Jeremy Bosch (the new lead singer for Spanish Harlem Orchestra). The song was originally recorded with Ray Barretto’s Tremendo Trio, featuring Adalberto Santiago and Celia Cruz. “Perico Perejil,” arranged by Ray Santos, is sung here by Frankie Vazquez. Santos, now 85, arranged for all of the “Big 3” Palladium
orchestras of New York — Machito, Tito Rodriguez and Tito Puente — and now he arranges this fresh take of a Tito Rodriguez and Louie Ramirez classic specifically for Art of the Arrangement. Beavers notes, “This is one of my favorite Ray Santos arrangements. He’s a legend, and to have him on the album means a lot.” Pete Nater solos on trumpet on this high-flying number. For “Siempre” (Always), arranged by Gonzalo Grau, Beavers utilizes the voice of the song’s composer, Carlos Cascante. Grau, a Venezuelan-born arranger, composer and producer, is considered among many to be the next big thing in Afro-Latin arrangements. Here, he sets Cascante’s original composition about a love lost to a masterful, modern arrangement. “Montara Elegua” is undeniably one of the album’s highlights. A fusion of the late vibes master Bobby Hutcherson’s “Montara” and the “Elegua” (Yoruban chant), it features vocals by master percussionist Pedrito Martinez, as well as a soprano saxophone solo from Ivan Renta. “I was looking for a juxtaposition between Cuban folkloric music and ‘Montara,’ as a tribute to Bobby, and ‘Montara Elegua’ came about,” comments Beavers. “I heard both of these themes on top of each other, and it ended up working out perfectly. Peditro kills it, and the piece has a classic Western brass orchestration; Africa and the West and Europe all come together.”
“Sunflowers” is an original Beavers composition that was originally commissioned by the Barranquijazz International Jazz Festival (in Barranquilla, Colombia) in 2015. Loosely based on Freddie Hubbard’s “Little Sunflower,” it showcases four trombones
and flute. “Suave Así” (So Soft), with an arrangement by Jose Madera and vocal by Marco Bermudez, is a Tito Puente song from his “Dance Mania” days. “Jose was part of Tito’s band for 40 years,” says Beavers, “so he was best to execute a new arrangement
based on that theme.” Madera plays timbale on the track in the style of Puente, with Beavers offering up the trombone solo and Marco Bermudez on the lead vocal.
“Barra Limpia” (Clean Bar) is a song about a man falling in love with a prostitute, only to learn that her love was only “for rent.” It features an original arrangement by Papo Lucca (the leader of La Sonora Ponceña), with orchestration and adaptation by
Beavers. It’s a new orchestration of his arrangement, “I chose specific instruments, to get a bigger sound. I added French horns, trumpets, trombones and a tuba. It’s an arrangement of an arrangement, and a great way to finish the album,” notes Beavers.
It’s not quite finished though. Before they say adios, there’s a bonus track, a Beavers composition titled “Gate C13.” This song, he says, “is a playful Latin jazz jam that envisions a poor soul running to his gate to catch a flight.” Jeremy Bosch, Zaccai Curtis and Thomas Marriott each lend powerful solos, leading to a beautifully chaotic band improv and percussion solos that will leave listeners on the edge of their seats.
On Art of the Arrangement, New York’s finest arrangers unite to fully realize Beavers vision of celebrating what’s truly behind every great composition, an insightful arrangement. Art of the Arrangement features all new arrangements specifically developed for this project. From classic salsa songs to riveting newly composed works, Art of the Arrangement puts the arranger center stage once and for all to finally receive long overdue critical acclaim.
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