OKeh will release GRAMMY, Emmy, and Latin GRAMMY® Award winning pianist and composer Michel Camilo‘s new album, What’s Up?, on May 14, 2013. The project is the Dominican Republic-born musician’s debut for the label and is OKeh‘s second overall release as part of the new re-launch initiative via Sony Classical, which focuses on documenting “Global Expressions in Jazz.”
Produced by Camilo and recorded by GRAMMY Award winning engineer Phil Magnotti at The Carriage House Studios in Stamford, Connecticut on February 14-15, 2013, the 11 tracks on What’s Up? provide a stunning demonstration of the pianist’s originality, spotlighting seven original compositions and four uniquely re-arranged jazz and Latin standards. Compositions include an intimate rendition of the quintessential “Alone Together”, an exploration of Cole Porter’s “Love For Sale” and a deep soulful re-discovery of Compay Segundo’s “Chan Chan”; as well as in Camilo’s own words, “my take on the perpetual polyrhythmic intricacies of ‘Take Five’ – as a personal nod of admiration and awe to the legacy of legendary master Dave Brubeck.”
“I had lots of fun making this new album but it also has been quite an endeavor to take, since one of the biggest challenges for any jazz pianist is to be able to contribute to the rich tradition of solo piano styles,” reflects Camilo, whose last solo piano project was released in 2005. “This recording expresses my desire to explore the contrasts of color, harmonic texture, rhythm and nuances in jazz piano playing. Here is my love for the many musical influences I have been exposed to over the years.”
While What’s Up? is Camilo’s first OKeh release, it does signify his return to the Sony Music Entertainment family, having recorded for Portrait, Epic and Columbia at various points throughout his career that has spanned over three decades (including his 1988 self-titled project on Portrait, which peaked at #1 on the Billboard Jazz Chart).
“I am delighted to come back to the Sony Music family where I feel we have done so many wonderful projects together,” says Camilo. “And now with this solo piano album we are adding a new chapter from my ‘open book of possibilities’ to our long time creative collaboration.”
A pianist with a brilliant technique and a composer that flavors his tunes with Afro-Caribbean rhythms, Michel Camilo‘s musical language is an expressive combination of his Dominican Republic musical heritage and a rich, intelligent use of jazz harmonies and textures. His compositions have been performed by some of the top jazz and Latin jazz artists ranging from Dizzy Gillespie to The Manhattan Transfer, from Paquito D’Rivera and flamenco guitarist Tomatito to Classical pianists Katia and Marielle Labèque, having performed with many of these artists as well. He was featured in the award winning Latin jazz documentary film Calle 54 and has recorded for various film soundtracks. Additionally, he has developed a reputation as one who enjoys breaking barriers, as evidenced by his extensive discography featuring albums in Duo, Trio, Sextet, Big Band, and as guest soloist with some of the world’s leading symphony orchestras.