Skip to main content
Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

Dominican Jazz Project, Desde Lejos CD Release Concert

October 24, 2022 @ 7:30 pm

Dominican Jaz Project members stand together on stage smiling

A Caribbean Music Celebration


Dominican Jazz Project

Stephen Anderson, piano
Sandy Gabriel, saxophone
Guy Frómeta, drums
Mayquel Gonzalez, trumpet
Carlos Luis, guitar
David Almengod, percussion
Ramón Vázquez Martirena, bass



Announced from the stage




Watch the live stream here!




“His research and contributions to the national musical heritage” have “generated pieces and compositions whose contents are based on the roots of native Dominican music that “have traveled with our seal of identity.”
—Stephen Anderson formally distinguished and recognized by the Minister of Culture, Señora Milagros Germán,   Government of the Dominican Republic (April 2022)
“Anderson is a wonderful composer…setting the tone for music that superbly captures the West African influences and inflections of the Taíno people, making for the unique Caribbean sound palette.”
—Raul Da Gama, Latin Jazz Network
   (Dominican Jazz Project, Desde Lejos, Summit Records)
“Stephen Anderson’s piano playing is a bright star on the jazz horizon.” “This music [is] spirited and joyful, even in the face of COVID and so much death and sadness.  This music is healing.  These songs uplift and give hope.”
     —Dee Dee McNeil, Musical Memoirs August 2021
         “Best of the Best”
“Powerful music played so collaboratively and communicatively that you’d never guess it was recorded “from afar” (remotely) from North and South Carolina, Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.”
     —Chris M. Slawecki, All About Jazz
     (Dominican Jazz Project, Desde Lejos, Summit Records)
​“…a reminder of the power of music and brotherhood.”
     —Mark Sullivan, All About Jazz
“A national pride…”
—2019 Dominican Republic Jazz Festival
Personal loss and physical separation couldn’t dim the spirit of The Dominican Jazz Project.  Every bit as remarkable as the vibrant, passionate music on Desde Lejos…is the mere fact of it’s existence [i.e., due to the pandemic].
     —Michael Roberts, JAZZIZs
“Here’s some hot jazz from the Dominican accented by local folklore highlights and breakneck playing.  A high-octane extravaganza…”

     —Chris Spector, Midwest Record (Review of Desde Lejos).


The Dominican Jazz Project began when Dominican born jazz artist, Guillo Carias, invited American jazz pianist, Stephen Anderson, to perform with him and local players for the 2014 Jazzomania Jazz Festival in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, that was hosted by Tony Dominguez and Carlos Francisco Elías.  The concert and associated clinic went beautifully, and the drummer, Guy Frómeta, invited Anderson to return to Santo Domingo to perform with him in his group for the Casa de Teatro Jazz Festival a few months later.  It was there that Anderson met Sandy Gabriel, tenor saxophonist.  Their collective friendship grew further with that experience, and following the festival, they agreed to record together.  The result was their 2016 self titled CD release, The Dominican Jazz Project, that was recorded in the days following the UNC Summer Jazz Workshop where the artists served as guest faculty and where Anderson serves as director.  The recording represented Summit Records on the ballots of the 17th Annual Latin Grammy Awards as well as on the ballots of the 59th Grammy Awards.  It was listed in Ken Frackling’s “2016’s Best Latin/Brazilian jazz recordings,” was decribed as being “full of creative energy and the joy of musical discovery” by Mark Sullivan at All About Jazz, and the band was called a “national pride” at the 2019 Dominican Republic Jazz Festival.  Since 2014, the DJP has performed at numerous festivals in the Dominican Republic and has toured performing at universities and jazz clubs across the United States.

What intrigued Anderson when he first visited the Dominican Republic is that while Dominican musicians are very much at home playing Afro-Cuban/clave-based music, their traditional music also has a variety of other lesser known grooves that are not commonly played in Latin jazz today outside of the Dominican Republic.  And while the Dominican piano tumbao patterns sound similar to Cuban montuno patterns, they are constructed differently harmonically and rhythmically.  Anderson was also surprised that these Dominican were so interested in modern American jazz, and that Sandy Gabriel’s compositions, in some ways, were very similar to the aesthetic that he had been developing in the Stephen Anderson Trio recordings in recent years.  Sandy is an entirely self-taught saxophonist, having no formal training.  When asked how he learned to play so well, Sandy relayed that he learned from transcribing Michael Brecker solos, responding affirmably, “He was the best.”  After returning home, Anderson spent several months deeply researching Dominican music, transcribing various piano tumbao patterns, as well as other traditional grooves, like the Mangulina, Pambiche, Ga-Ga, and the Palo.  Based on these and other grooves, he composed five new charts for the project, and Sandy Gabriel, Guillo Carias, and Carlos Luis contributed the other six compositions found on the recording.

The Dominican Jazz Project CD, Desde Lejos, was recorded remotely during the 2020-21 pandemic with members of the band living in the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and North and South Carolina. The longtime bassist for the DJP, Jeffry Eckels, passed away unexpectedly July 3, 2020 right as the band was preparing to record. The band experienced hospitalization or death of close family members during the pandemic, and the recording demonstrates how the group worked together (from “far away”) daily using different home or professional studios to produce a new CD during that challenging time.


October 24, 2022
7:30 pm
Event Categories:
, ,


James and Susan Moeser Auditorium in Hill Hall
145 E. Cameron Ave
Chapel Hill, NC 27599 United States
+ Google Map

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.