w/Anat Cohen, Fred Hersch, NY Voices
Bossas & Boleros
Release Date: June 23, 2023
UPC Code: 880956230627
Selection #: ZM 202306
1. New Year 4:17
2. Amelia 7:06
Kim Nazarian & Gabriel Espinosa
3. Mi Jarana 4:07
4. Aqui Estoy Yo 6:07
5. Sing 4:32
6. First Responders 5:36
7. Pa Eugenio 6:08
8. Nosotros 5:52
Pedro Junco Jr.
9. 22 4:27
10. No Me Platiques Mas 4:47
Gabriel Espinosa - bass
#2, 6, 8; vocals # 1, 4,10
all tracks except #4,10
Misha Tsiganov - piano
all tracks except #4,10
Mauricio Zottarelli- drums
all tracks except # 4, 10
JimSeeley - trumpet, flugelhorn #2,3,6,7,9
Jay Aashby - trombone #1,3,6,7,9; percussion # 1,9
Fred Hersch - piano #4,10
New York Voices- #5
Kim Narazian vocals
Gerardo Flores - vocals #8
Anat Cohen - clarinet #3
Itai Kriss - flute #5
Gustavo Amarante - bass #1,3,5,9
Enrique Toussaint - bass #7
Cris Alcocer - percussion #3
Aviana Gedler - background vocals 1,3,6,7,9
Linwood Bell - arranger #2,6,8
Jeremy Fox - vocal arranger #5
Bossas and Boleros - the title of this album honors the music I grew up with as a teenager in Yucatan, Mexico in the 60s. I was very influenced by the music of Yucatecan composer Armando Manzanero as well as the music of Antonio Carlos Jobim and Burt Bacharach. The music I write today is inspired by those styles of music which led to the title Bossas and Boleros.
New Year is a Bossa Nova composition that features the beautiful colors of the trumpet of Jim Seeley and the trombone of Jay Ashby with the voices sharing the melody. I wrote this in honor of the year 2021 and the opportunity it brought of a new beginning after the difficult year 2020 around the world.
Amelia - my niece Cecilia had twins in 2019, tragically lost one of the babies, Amelia, at 27 weeks. I was inspired to write this composition shortly thereafter. Kim Nazarian wrote the lyrics to this composition inspired by and dedicated to the memory of Amelia. Kim also does a beautiful job singing the song.
Mi Jarana - the Jarana is a traditional dance and musical style of Yucatan, Mexico. The Jarana meter can be in 6/8 or in 3/4. I invited the brilliant clarinet player Anat Cohen to join me on this track as well as Cris Alcocer, a percussion player from Yucatan who brought together the magical feeling of the Jarana to life. This is our interpretation of the Jarana.
Aquí Estoy Yo - I first heard this beautiful song performed by Mexican singer Jose Jose with an incredible arrangement by Clare Fischer. I always envisioned recording this song only with piano and voice. I was fortunate enough to have the amazing pianist Fred Hersch along with my vocals. This song was written by a friend of mine, Memo Ruiz.
Sing - I was twenty years old when I first heard the classic 1973 recording by the Carpenters. I wrote an instrumental arrangement and shared it with my dear friend Jeremy Fox who wrote an arrangement for vocal jazz quartet. Jeremy’s vocal arrangement was so amazing I had to ask my friends, The New York Voices, to record it. The track also features a beautiful flute solo by Itai Kriss. Along with Gustavo Amarante on bass, Misha Tsiganov on piano and Mauricio Zottarelli on drums, they take the song to a whole new level
First Responder - This is an instrumental composition dedicated to the first responders during the 2020 global pandemic. I shared this composition with the amazing Linwood Bell, who I am lucky to call a friend. I asked him if he could write an orchestral arrangement. The addition of this arrangement made this song even more powerful similar to his orchestral arrangement for Amelia. This track also features the voices of Kim and Aviana, the trombone of Jay Ashby in addition to Misha Tsiganov and Jim Seeley who play incredibly beautiful solos. This is a thank you to all of the first responders worldwide for the sacrifices they made.
Pa Eugenio - another instrumental composition of mine dedicated to one of the best jazz musicians from Mexico, Mr. Eugenio Toussaint. Eugenio passed away a few years ago and I always wanted to write something for him. I invited his brother, the great bass player Enrique Toussaint, to join me on this track in honor of Eugenio. The voices of Kim Nazarian and Aviana Gedler add a beautiful color to the instrumental interpretation of Jim Seeley on trumpet and the rest of the band.
Nosotros is a beautiful Cuban bolero I always enjoyed singing, but this time I decided to invite my dear friend of fifty years, Mr. Gerardo Flores, to sing and bring his magic to the track. Gerardo is a fantastic musician, producer, composer, piano player as well as an amazing singer.
22 is a Brazilian style composition of mine with a simple sing along chorus for everybody to sing. On this track we feature the incredible Mauricio Zottarelli on drums as well as the horn players and singers. It is an upbeat and fun tune that will get everyone moving.
No Me Platiques Mas is a fantastic composition by Mr. Vicente Garrido. I had the chance to meet Vicente in Merida, Mexico during the early eighties. He was a great composer and piano player. He wrote this composition which I sing here with the incredibly talented Fred Hersch at the piano.
I hope you enjoy this journey of gratitude and love with “Bossas & Boleros”!
Thanks to God for the opportunity to record this new project with such amazing people.Thanks to a great band made of Misha Tsiganov, Mauricio Zottarelli, Gustavo Amarante, Jim Seeley, Jay Ashby, Itai Kriss, Anat Cohen and Cris Alcocer.
My appreciation to my special guests Fred Hersch, The New York Voices, Gerardo Flores, Enrique Toussaint, Aviana Gedler and our feature guest singer the amazing Kim Nazarian. My gratitude to Linwood Bell for his Orchestral arrangements and to Jeremy Fox for his beautiful vocal arrangement of “Sing”. Also thanks to Vicente Garrido, Pedro Junco Jr, Guillermo (Memo) Ruiz, Kim Nazarian and Joe Raposo for their beautiful compositions.
Endless thanks to the love of my life my wife Gabriela and my daughters Paola,
Adriana, Natalia and our two grandkids Jamison and Emmett, thanks for the inspiration. Gracias to the Espinosa Avila family in Merida, Mexico and to my Ashanti family in Iowa as well as the jazz club Noce, the Hoyt Sherman Place, Jazz in July and Valley High School in Des Moines for their support. Gracias al Palacio De La Musica in Merida, Mexico for letting me host my Master classes in such a beautiful place. Thanks to Ceci Garza and her husband Ugo for sharing their Amelia story and to all the First Responders of 2020.
My appreciation to our sponsors who partially funded the project, Central College and Grinnell College, thanks for your trust and support. Thank you so much for helping me to make this project possible. Thanks to Jochen Becker from ZOHO Music for believing in my music.
This project is truly a team effort from the composers, to the singers, the band and arrangers. I am so blessed to make music with all of you. God is good!!
Produced by Gabriel Espinosa. Recorded September 19 & 20, 2022 by Peter Karl at Acoustic Recording, Brooklyn, NY and December 3 & 4, 2022 by Travis Huisman at Catamount Studios, Cedar Falls, Iowa. Mixed and mastered on December 9 & 10, 2022 by Dave Darlington at Bass Hit Recordings, New York, NY. Photography: Dan Vander Beek. Art Direction and Package Design by Al Gold. Executive Producer: Joachim “Jochen” Becker.