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Dominican Jazz Project, Desde Lejos CD Release Concert
October 24, 2022 @ 7:30 pmFree
A Caribbean Music Celebration
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
Government of the Dominican Republic (April 2022)
—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.
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.
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