(Following Hilario Duran at AAJ automatically enters you in the contest.)
Your Friends at Alma Records
One of Hilario's major creative partners has been dynamic Cuban trumpet player, Arturo Sandoval. In 1981, Sandoval formed his own group. Hilario was an integral part of this dynamic ensemble, acting as composer, arranger and producer, as well as playing both piano and electric keyboard. This popular and innovative group performed at major international jazz festivals and venues for more than a decadesharing stages with legendary musicians such as the late Dizzy Gillespie and composer/arranger Michel Legrand.
In 1990, Hilario felt that it was time to form his own group, aptly titled Perspectiva. The musically innovative ensemble performed to packed and enthusiastic crowds throughout Latin America and Europe. In addition, Perspectiva released two critically-acclaimed CDs, Tiembla Tierra and Buscando Cuerdas. A year later, Hilario made another creative connection that has brought him to international attention. As a member of Canadian multi-saxophonist Jane Bunnett's Spirits of Havana, he performed in concert, and on the recording of the same name ... which subsequently won the Juno Award for Best Latin Jazz Recording. Always looking to stretch his creative boundaries, Hilario Duran released his first solo piano CD, Francisco's Song in 1996 on the Montreal-based Justin Time record label. A follow-up project for Justin Time, Killer Tumbao, was released in 1997, and featured an array of Cuban musical giants, including legendary percussionists Changuito and Tata Guines. The CD was a huge hit, garnering raves for critics and the public alike, as well as a saturation of airplay in both Canada and the U.S. 1998 was a year of transition and creativity for Hilario Duran. After re-locating to Canada with his family, he released Habana Nocturna, which noted author Nat Chediak referred to as a landmark album of Cuban jazz in the 90's...
Roberto OcchipintiA Bend in the River
Imagination, versatility and technical excellence are all adjectives that describe Canadian bassist, Roberto Occhipinti. Long recognized for his chameleon-like ability to dig in to almost any musical form, it is in his love and enthusiasm for Latin jazz that he burns brightest. He toured and recorded with Blue Note recording artist, Jane Bunnett and the Spirits of Havana, notably appearing on her last three recordings, including the Grammy nominated Alma de Santiago and the Juno award winning Ritmo + Soul. Roberto's association with piano virtuoso Hilario Duran has resulted in four well-received recording projects, in addition to New Danzon. His 2001 recording, Trinacria, marked his debut as a leader, and also received rave reviews. The project featured Hilario Duran, Horacio 'El Negro' Hernandez, Phil Dwyer, Hugh Marsh, Dafnis Prieto and Yosvany Terry...
As vocalists go, Kristy is surely one of a rare breeda singer who inhabits, as if by magic, the nooks and crannies of each and every moment of the song. A singer, who with ever so subtle twists of diction and changes in breath, executes such a remarkable command of melody that she can hold and bend its line to tell every new story in a breathtaking way. In doing so, she joins only an elite few who can tell simple tales in song with such melodic simplicity, intensity and utter mesmerism that the singer becomes the song!
Kristy was surrounded by music from a very early age. As the daughter of Toronto's renowned producer, Peter Cardinali, she grew up swathed in the music that filled her home, thanks to the extremely diverse projects that her father was immersed in. It seemed natural, therefore for her to pursue a life of music and in 2000 she graduated with a Bachelor in Fine Arts from York University, where she studied jazz history, theory and vocal performance as well as songwriting. During her time there, Kristy was a part of the magnificent a capella band, Wibijazzin,' a seminal group of singers directed by Kevin Fox, who then went on to form Canada's leading vocal group, Cadence. Kristy is also an accomplished songwriter who recently contributed the memorable, 'In Dreams' to Vito Rezza's album, Drums of Avila...