SAN JUAN, NOVEMBER 1, 2016 — Fidel Morales has released his new album “OMÍO”, a groundbreaking and powerful work of Afro-Cuban Jazz, with an all-star of jazz and Latin jazz musicians.
The album features an outstanding roster of collaborators including legendary bassist Eddie Gómez, trumpeter Charlie Sepúlveda, vocalist Ana María Perera, pianists Luis Marín, Yan Carlos Artime and Eduardo Zayas, bassists Ramón Vázquez and Gabriel Rodríguez, and guitarists Isaac Lausell, Fernando Mattina and L. Raúl Romero, among others. Produced and directed by Morales himself, “OMÍO” consists of a 9-song set that presents 7 originals alongside a composition from Panamanian pianist Dino Nugent and a cover edition of the classic song “Ausencia”, from late composer Rafael Hernández. The album was recorded in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and mixed and mastered in Cuba under the supervision of award-winning producer Germán Velazco. The executive producer was Rosalía Ortiz-Luquis from Omío Music World LLC.
Born in Cuba but currently based in Puerto Rico, Fidel has been incredibly busy as of date, leading his own bands, Fidel Morales Afro-Cuban Jazz Group and his trio, working on the second volume of his book “Afro-Cuban Techniques for Drumset & Percussion”, touring as a drumset clinician, and teaching in the Conservatory of Music of Puerto Rico, where he also served as the director of the Department of Jazz and Caribbean Music in 2014.
OMÍO: AN INSPIRATION, AN INTENTION
Notes to the album ”OMÍO” by Fidel Morales
This album features different stories, from my perspective as a Cuban creator. It’s an album of Afro-Cuban jazz with a fusion of rhythms and variety of colors.
It is an album with several orchestral formats, in which I tried to retain a thematic unit. All of this work has a purpose, an intention.
1- “No más (No More)”
This track was conceived by Panamanian composer Dino Nugent as a soundtrack for a film. It is a song that conveys strength, discomfort and anxiety, human feelings with which I identified and wanted to express in this project.
Musicians: Yan Carlos Artime (piano), Isaac Lausell (electric guitar), Ramon Vazquez (bass), Fidel Morales (drums)
2- “My Gift”
José Carlos Acosta is a Cuban jazz musician, very ahead of his time, with whom I worked when I was 18 years old. One day, while I was at home, he sat at the piano and played a beautiful cluster. When he left, I wrote “My Gift.” After that I spent some time devoted to modal music composition, focusing on colors and away from tonality.
In this track, the percussion plays a fusion of a light Afro-Cuban “something,” with a suggested Afro-Peruvian air and jazzy drums.
Musicians: Luis Marin (piano), Marco Pignataro (sax), Gabriel Rodriguez (bass), Charlie Sepulveda (trumpet), Savier Diaz (congas), Guillermo Barron (cajon), Fidel Morales (drums)
It is a track proper of a progressive Latin. The song has many rhythmic combinations: Afro-Cuban jazz, funk, and rhythms of batá combined with Panamanian “atravesao,” among others. It is dedicated to my grandmother who was a complex and strong person but very sweet and loving at the same time.
Musicians: Norberto “Tiko” Ortiz (sax), Luis Raul Romero (guitar), Yan Carlos Artime (piano), Bienvenido Dinzey (keyboards), Gabriel Rodriguez (bass), Diego Centeno and Javier Curet (bata drums), Anamaria Perera (voice), Fidel Morales (drums, bata)
4- “Ausencia (Absence)”
When I discovered this song from the immortal Puerto Rican composer Rafael Hernández, in the voice of Cuban singer Anamaria Perera, the Bill Evans Trio immediately came to mind.
In those days, I also had the honor of meeting the legendary Puerto Rican bassist Eddie Gomez, an original member of that iconic jazz trio, and invited him to be part of the project. Eddie improved my arrangement and completely endorsed it.
For this number, I also invited the talented young pianist Eduardo Zayas, who added his passion for musical intimacy, that can only be experienced in a jazz trio.
Musicians: Eddie Gomez (bass), Eduardo Zayas (piano), Anamaria Perera (voice), Fidel Morales (drums)
For this track, I was inspired by what in Yoruba Religion is known as a “wemilere.” A wemilere is a celebration in honor of a goddess or Orisha, in this case, is dedicated to the goddess of the sea, the orisha Yemaya. The traditional wemilere is played with bata drums and an akpwon or folk singer.
In my arrangement, the melodies were interpreted by Anamaría or by some instruments, such as the melody played in unison at the end of the song, between the baritone saxophone and the keyboard. At the end, appear the true protagonists of this music: the bata drums and the apkwon.
For this track, I made some adaptations of rhythms inspired by the bata drum to the drumset.
Musicians: Gabriel Rodriguez (bass), Yan Carlos Artime (piano), Ricardo Pons (flute, sax tenor and baritone), Diego Centeno and Javier Curet (bata drums), Rubén Bulnes (akpwon), Anamaría Perera (voice), Fidel Morales ( drums, congas and bata drum)
6- “Lo que viene (What Comes)”
Afro-Cuban Jazz song with songo, timba and abakuá grooves.
Musicians: Gabriel Rodriguez (bass), Yan Carlos Artime (piano), Ricardo Pons (tenor sax), Daniel Ramirez (trumpet), Savier Diaz (congas), Fidel Morales (drums, congas)
7- “Blue Sea” —dedicated to Giovanni Hidalgo
Latin jazz song, inspired by the great percussionist Giovanni Hidalgo, written in a time signature of 7/8 (meter). The bridge of the song has a groove of bomba sicá (usually played in 4/4) adapted to one bar of 7 beats.
Musicians: Ramon Vazquez (bass), Yan Carlos Artime (piano), Tiko Ortiz (tenor sax), Bienvenido Dinzey (keyboards), Daniel Ramirez (trumpet), Savier Diaz (congas), Fidel Morales (drums)
8- “Doctorcito (Little Doctor)”
Song inspired by the father of my great friend and Cuban pianist Miguel De Armas, who was a very happy person. Miguel Angel composed the beginning of this track, which I later added a cha-cha-chá rhythm as a celebration to the memory and to the joy of living that characterized his father.
Musicians: Ramon Vazquez (bass), Yan Carlos Artime (piano), Tiko Ortiz (tenor sax), Bienvenido Dinzey (keyboards), Savier Diaz (congas), Fernando Mattina (guitar), Fidel Morales (drums)
9- “Bulecolumbia con timbal.”
Jam made by the fusion of various rhythms like rumba columbia, bulería, and abakuá accompanying a Yoruba chorus.
Musicians: Savier Diaz (congas), Guillermo Barron (cajon), Gabriel Rodriguez (bass), Fidel Morales (drums, timbales and vocals)
ABOUT FIDEL MORALES
FIDEL MORALES is a Cuban Drummer, Percussionist, Composer, Producer, Arranger, Author, and Educator.
As a drummer, he has played with musicians such as Giovanni Hidalgo, Eddie Gómez, Danilo Pérez, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Nicolás Reynoso, John Faddis, Mark Kramer, Gary Campbell, Gary Keller, Vic Juris, Luis “Perico” Ortiz, Carlos Garnett, and Charlie Sepúlveda, among others. He has also accompanied Latin stars such as Omara Portuondo, Gilberto Santa Rosa, Elena Burke, Celeste Mendoza, Bárbara Wilson, Roberto Roena, Albita, María Martha Serra Lima, Basilio, Chichí Peralta, and Noriko.
He has toured extensively around the world, having traveled on music engagements through Austria, Hungary, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Venezuela, Colombia, Chile, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and the United States.
Fidel is the composer of renowned Cuban dance classics “La Expresiva” and “Mamina”, among others. Artists from Cuba, the United States, and Puerto Rico have recorded his compositions. He contributed, as well, in the CD “Bajando Gervasio”, by Amadito Valdés, nominated for 2004 GRAMMY Awards. The documentary “Seguir a través de los años” (To Follow Through the Years), by Daniel Diez, is inspired in his music. His salsa and timba music album “Salsa Son Timba” was released in 2005.
Fidel has worked as Lecturer of Percussion in Panama’s National Conservatory. He has taught Drum Clinics & Workshops in Europe, Panama, Puerto Rico, El Salvador, Chile, and United States, for students from Berklee College of Music, New England Conservatory, Drummers Collective, University of Miami, Puerto Rico Conservatory of Music, and University of Puerto Rico, among many others.
He is former director of the Jazz and Caribbean Music Department of the Puerto Rico Conservatory of Music, where he is Head of Jazz Drums since 2006. He also offers private lessons, and is, as well, an active clinician.
Fidel is director of his own bands: Fidel Morales Trio and Fidel Morales Afro-Cuban Jazz Group. He is the author of the books “Afro-Cuban Techniques for Drum Set & Percussion, Volumes 1 & 2”.
He is exclusive artist of Gretsch Drums, Gibraltar, Paiste, Vic Firth and Latin Percussion (LP).