Revolutionary Album Set To Blend Latin Rhythms With Big Band


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Tumbao 21, a collaborative music project, is making headway in the Latin music scene, with an album that will pay homage to Latin Big Band, “The Big Three” (Tito Puente, Machito, and Tito Rodríguez) and West Coast Latin musicians, creating a new paradigm for Latin music.

Tumbao refers to a drum or bass pattern of Afro-Cuban origin. For Tumbao 21, it’s the rhythm that unites Cuban, Puerto Rican, and other Latin music for urban Latinos in the 21st century. The music of Tumbao 21 respects the heritage of Latin Big Band and Salsa, while introducing a new musical style that modernizes folk music inherent to Latin culture. The instrumentation includes 15 horns and Afro-Caribbean percussion.

The Tumbao 21 project is a collaboration between four seasoned writer/composers – composer/percussionist/producer/engineer Tony Shogren, composer/arranger Mike Yturralde, composer/lyricist/artist John Crespo, and composer/arranger Tony Manjarrez – each bringing a unique take and various levels of expertise on music history and Latin culture. In early 2013, Tony Shogren and Tony Manjarrez reconnected after 25 years, and put their creative energies together for a raw, experimental spin on Latin big band music. They worked online and by phone with fellow musician and Big Band composer Mike Yturralde. Soon, Johnny Crespo, a singer/lyricist and major part of the Latin music scene for more than 50 years, was brought on as the fourth and final member of the writing group.

These four core members have written the arrangements for the album, titled Tumbao 21. The album features a 25-piece orchestra made up of the best musicians in the industry, and is co-conducted by three-time Grammy winner Oscar Hernandez. In addition to directing the Spanish Harlem Orchestra, Hernandez has long been considered one of the most gifted and prominent pianist/arrangers in the contemporary Latin, Latin Jazz and Salsa music scene. Master saxophonist Justo Almario also joins Tumbao 21 as the saxophone section leader. The project also features trumpet section leader Harry Kim, trombone section leader Arturo Velasco, and percussion section leader Joey De Leon, Jr.

The album, set to be released in March 2014, has attracted the attention of renowned musical groups including the Spanish Harlem Orchestra and Lucky 7. Every song on the highly anticipated album is tied to the diverse past in Latin Jazz and the unique crossroads of modern Latino music.

“I believe we have much in common with a group of veteran musicians from Puerto Rico and Cuba who became successful, such as the Buena Vista Social Club,” said composer John Crespo. “They believed in their hearts that sooner or later their music would be heard, if they continued to combine their talents with the music they loved. The four composers of Tumbao 21 have a similar story to tell and we are inviting the public to join us on this project.”

The band is raising funds in order to record their album. Tumbao 21 invites you to join them in making music history by donating to their Kickstarter campaign.

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