A brilliant percussionist who plays Tumbadoras, Cajon, Barril de Bomba, Bata (Itotele), Quinto, Shekere, Gua-Gua, Clave, and Guiro along with other rhythmic instruments, CHEMBO CORNIEL can always be relied upon to create musical excitement. It is little wonder that he has long been in demand by the who’s who of Latin music and Jazz.
ARTISTAS, MÚSICOS Y POETAS, his sixth release as a leader, features Chembo Corniel at his best, both as a dazzling percussionist and as the head of a quintet that is augmented by many of his favorite musicians. The core group comprises tenor-saxophonist and flutist Hery Paz, pianist Carlos Cuevas, electric bassist Ian Stewart, and drummer-percussionist Joel E. Mateo, a mighty force by itself. Add to that the guests (which on “Pa’La Ocha Tambo” includes an additional trumpet player Agustin Someillan Garcia and guest pianist/arranger Hector Martignon), and one has quite a musical feast.
Artistas, Músicos Y Poetas, which celebrates Chembo Corniel’s 20th anniversary as a bandleader, begins with “Volando Con Don Pancho Terry,” a piece featuring the late Eliado “Don Pancho” Terry on shekere and voice along with its composer flutist Andrea Brachfield, Ivan Renta on tenor, and pianist Elio Villafrana, all of whom are propelled by Corniel’s percussion.
Poet Ismael East Carlo looks towards the future on “P.R.I.D.E.,” a performance that shifts tempos for the solos of pianist Cuevas and tenor-saxophonist Paul Carlon. “Dalia” focuses on the quintet (with Cuevas switching to electric piano) over Corniel’s polyrhythms. “Child Of Wisdom” has an ominous-sounding keyboard pattern, while Eddie Palmieri’s “Pa’La Ocha Tambo” with the percussionists is quite exhilarating.
“Lagrima De Monte” has one of the set’s catchiest melodies and features Bomba’s Afro Puerto Rican rhythms; Hery Paz is featured on flute, and Nelson Mathew Gonzalez on primo barril. “Big City Gossip” explores several moods before reaching an exciting conclusion. Thelonious Monk’s “Evidence” proves surprisingly adaptable to the Afro-Cuban setting before the infectious release closes with poet Felipe Luciano’s showcase on “Red Hook Rumba.”
INVITED GUESTS: Eliado “Don Pancho” Terry – shekere & vocals (1), Hector Martignon – piano (5), Elio Villafranca – piano (1), Adan Perez – piano (9), Vince Cherico – drums (1), Ivan Llanes – drums (4 & 5), Ruben Rodriguez – acoustic bass (1), Mike Vinas – acoustic bass (9), Andrea Brachfeld – flute (1 & 2), Paul Carlon – tenor sax (2), Ivan Renta – tenor sax (1), Agustin Somellan Garcia – trumpet (4 & 5), Nelson Matthew Gonzalez – Primo barril & maraca (6), Angel “Cuqui” Lebron – trombones (9), Ben Lapidus – Cuban tres / coro (9), Victor Rendon – Bata Iya (5 & 7) shekere (2), Yasuyo Kimura – shekere (2), Cascadu Escayg – bata Okonkolo (5 & 7), Jose Acosta – maracas (5), Felipe Luciano – Poet (9), Ismael East Carlo – Poet (2).
Wilson “Chembo” Corniel was born in Manhattan to a Puerto Rican family and grew up in Red Hook, Brooklyn. A percussionist from a young age, he studied at the Harbor Conservatory for the Performing Arts in New York and La Escuela Nacional de Arte in Havana, Cuba. Since then, he has been a significant part of the Afro-Caribbean jazz scene, working with such notables as Chucho Valdes, Hilton Ruiz, Tito Puente, Machito, Larry Harlow, Joe Bataan, Willie Colón, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Grady Tate, Jane Bunnett’s Spirits Of Havana, the Bobby Sanabria Big Band, the Chico O’Farrill Orchestra, Charlie Sepulveda, Ray Vega, and many others. In addition to those giants, he has recorded as a sideman with quite a few others, including Akiko Tusuruga, Mark Sherman, Chris Washburne, Steve Wilson, Chico Freeman, Steve Turre, Greg Abate, and Bobby Rodriguez Y La Compania. Corniel, for ten years, was the percussionist for the T.V. show “Dora The Explora.”
Chembo Corniel has had substantial success with his previous recordings as a leader and received a Grammy nomination in 2009 for “Best Latin Jazz Album” for “Things I Wanted To Do.”
It would not be surprising if Chembo Corniel’s Artistas, Músicos Y Poetas, won a Grammy and appeared on numerous top 10 lists, for it is simply one of the most exciting Latin jazz albums to be released in 2023.
CHEMBO CORNIEL QUINTET WILL CELEBRATE THE RELEASE OF “ARTISTAS, MUSICOS Y POETAS” @ DROM, 85 AVENUE A ON THURSDAY MARCH 16, 2023. DOOR OPEN AT 7PM. PERFORMANCE TIME: 7:30 PM.