Album Features Keyboardists Russell Ferrante and Arturo O’Farril
The growling clarion call evokes old jazz, Louis Armstrong, and New Orleans, but the cries in Spanish, the percussion, and the gentle, looping groove takes us to a different place. Both familiar and fresh, those first bars on Peruvian trumpeter, composer, and bandleader Gabriel Alegría’s Pucusana, are also a declaration of principle of Afro-Peruvian jazz music.
“Taita Guaranguito,” is a traditional Afro-Peruvian folk song, smartly reinterpreted as a jazz piece. In fusion, the sum is often less than the parts. Here, it’s a celebration of a common spirit. “What we discovered over the years working in this music, is that there is a certain similar energy between pre-1940s jazz and Afro-Peruvian music,” says Alegría. “There is a connection, something about their spirit, so when you [bring them together], it feels really natural. We don’t play in a traditional jazz style, but it’s not about harmonies or a certain rhythm. It’s about the intention in the playing. There is a joy, a positive energy, that is present in the jazz esthetic of musicians like Louis Armstrong. This same esthetic is also present in Afro-Peruvian music.” Continue reading