Grammy-nominated artists, pianist Alfredo Rodríguez and percussionist Pedrito Martinez first worked together on Rodríguez’s 2012 release The Invasion Parade. Since that initial recording session, they have had the rare occasion to perform together as a duo, leaving audiences completely mesmerized by their fearless and virtuosic playing.
A protégé of Quincy Jones, Rodríguez was schooled in the rigorous classical conservatories of Havana, while Martinez’s musical training came directly from the streets of the Cayo Hueso neighborhood of Old Havana, where he was raised. Bringing different approaches to their joint performance, the master musicians take listeners on a unique and exciting journey.
“Still in her mid-20s, Daymé Arocena is Cuba’s finest young female singer.”—The Guardian
Raised in Havana, Daymé Arocena has quickly become the voice for a new generation of talented Cuban millennials who are reimagining their African roots through a lens that filters jazz, soul, and funk. Acclaimed by Vice magazine as “the world’s next jazz phenomenon,” Arocena garners comparisons to musical giants Nina Simone and Celia Cruz. Her powerful singing and buoyant music defy expectations, drawing on the rhythms of Afro-Cuban traditions, the nimble athleticism of jazz, and the catchy hooks of pop melodies. The songstress is also an avid practitioner of Santería, an Afro-Caribbean religion based on Yoruba beliefs, and its chants and rhythms are as important to her music as jazz and Cuban neo-soul.
“the Radiohead of British jazz”—Line of Best Fit
Undoubtedly one of the rising stars of the U.K. jazz scene, acoustic-electronica trio GoGo Penguin don’t describe themselves as a jazz trio but rather as a resurgence of jazz fused with hip-hop, rock, dance, and soul. The Mercury Prize–nominated band recently made their first appearances at South by Southwest (2017) and Coachella (2016), where they delivered up their trademark mash-up of minimalist piano, deeply propulsive bass lines, and electronica-inspired drums. They will perform tracks off their latest Blue Note Records release A Humdrum Star.
Over the last 15 years, drummer, composer, and songwriter Nate Smith has built the quintessential jazz resume: he’s been in bands led by jazz legends, such as bassist Dave Holland, and toured with some of the music’s rising stars, like saxophonist Chris Potter and vocalist José James. Known for his deep pocket, explosive dynamics, and ability to adapt to any musical situation, Smith has become one of the most in-demand drummers across a multitude of genres including funk, jazz, pop, and hip-hop. Together with his band, Kinfolk, Smith will perform songs from his debut solo album, Kinfolk: Postcards from Everywhere, which explores the themes of family, music, self-discovery, and touring through catchy, singable melodies and spring-loaded backbeats.
“His music crystallizes the hard-hitting, hard-swinging spirit of Chicago jazz.” —Chicago Tribune
For the past five years, 30-year-old trumpeter Marquis Hill has been invigorating the Chicago jazz scene with his sleek approach to modern jazz, which often incorporates elements of spoken word and hip-hop. Winner of the 2014 Thelonious Monk International Trumpet Competition, Hill has established his well-deserved reputation as a leading figure among today’s crop of adventurous young jazz musicians. With his longstanding quintet, Blacktet (consisting of alto saxophonist Christopher McBride, vibraphonist Justin Thomas, drummer Makaya McCraven, and bassist Joshua Ramos), Hill recently released his album The Way We Play, an homage to his formative years in Chicago through stirring makeovers of jazz standards.
Making his first trip to the U.S. just 13 years ago to pursue his dream of becoming a jazz musician, trumpeter/composer Takuya Kuroda is a forward- thinking artist with a bent towards mixing post- pop and adventurous soul-jazz. With his inventive compositions, which include everything from jazz, funk, hip-hop, and Afro-beat, he is primed to become a major voice on the 21st-century modern soul-jazz scene. A fixture on the New York scene for the past decade, Kuroda has performed with big league players such as Valery Ponomarev, Junior Mance, Greg Tardy, and Andy Ezrin.
Rising Sun is the perfect title for the Blue Note debut from Takuya Kuroda, who is perhaps best known for his inspired presence in vocalist José James’s band over the past several years. Friends since their student days at Berklee, Kuroda contributed significantly to James’s 2010 album Blackmagic, and his critically hailed 2013 Blue Note album No Beginning No End, a project for which he also wrote the horn arrangements. “No one sounds like Takuya,” says James. “His tone, warmth and most of all his storytelling have inspired me for years. His writing is soulful, modern, and effortlessly bridges the gap between jazz and soul, and between history and tomorrow.”
“A transcendent horn player “—Washington Post
“Kuroda pulls you into his world from the downbeat . . . It’s a world informed by jazz, soul, R&B, and especially Afro-beat”—DownBeat