JazzBuffalo Presents Cuban Jazz Stars At “El Coco” CD Release Concerts

El Coco
For two nights, the Greater Buffalo area will have the opportunity to listen to international Cuban and Latin Jazz stars as they celebrate the release of a new CD entitled “El Coco”"El Coco" is Michel Ferrré and Vladimir Espinosa's latest CD production of originals and Cuban classics in collaboration with Lázara Martínez, Armando Arce (Pututui), Jeff Hofmann, Edward Magdariaga, Hansel Herrera, among many others.  “El Coco” translates to mean The Coconut.

On Friday, November 17th and Saturday, November 18th, JazzBuffalo, in association with Pausa Art House, will host two consecutive nights of concerts from the principal performers on this CD.  Performers for both evenings will include Michel Ferre, Vladimir Espinosa, Lazara Martinez, Armando Arce, Hansel Herrera, and Rishon Odel Northington. 

Cuban born Michel Ferré was born in Havana in 1972. His classical and jazz training as a pianist in Havana greatly influenced his musical formation and who he is today. His musical inspiration ranges from Bach, Chopin, Lecuona through the music of Jarrett, The Doors, the Beatles, Bjork, Emiliano Salvador, and Sun Ra as his work as a pianist, arranger, and composer continues to evolve.

For over 20 years, Michel has been a longtime friend and collaborator with Vladimir Espinosa with whom he recorded and produced their CD “Acoustic Latin Jazz”, a mix of original compositions by Ferré and Espinosa of Afro-Cuban and Latin music. 

Currently, on tour with American singer, songwriter, producer, and actress Lauryn Hill, Michel Ferré collaborated as a pianist, arranger and sound engineer for the recently released album “Nina Revisited – A Tribute to Nina Simone”, featuring Lauryn Hill, Usher, Mary J Blige among others.

Cuban born Vladimir Espinosa is a musician, actor, and choreographer born in Havana, Cuba. He has worked as an instructor of Latin Percussion, Afro-Cuban Dance, and musician-accompanist in residence at Hollins University since 2005. His specialties include Latin and Afro-Cuban music, contemporary Latin and Afro-Cuban Folkloric Dance, and traditional African Diaspora rhythms. Espinosa graduated from the ENA (School National of Arts, Cuba) in 1985. He also studied with the National Folkloric de Cuba with Regino Jimenes and Pelladito.

After graduating, he began teaching at the Arts School in Jiguani, Granma, Cuba and at the Casa De Cultural in Havana, Cuba. Espinosa performed, taught, and choreographed for many companies in Cuba and Ecuador. He has also performed Afro-Cuban traditional rhythms and dance with Las Manos Del Sol (U.S.) and the Roanoke Ballet Theatre (U.S). In 1996, Espinosa was the artistic director and choreographer for the election ceremonies for the Queen of Ecuador. From 1996-1999 he toured with Havana Express and played in many venues across the U.S.He has been a teacher and instructor for the American Dance Festival (Durham, NC) since 2005.

Cuban born Lázara Martinez began her violin studies in Havana Cuba at the age of 8. After receiving her Honor Diploma from the Amadeo Roldan Conservatory, she emigrated to the Dominican Republic where she was a member of the National Symphony in Santo Domingo. Three years later, she returned to Cuba to perform with the National Symphonic Orchestra of Cuba in Havana, and as soloist with the Camerata Romeu. With the Camerata, she appeared at numerous festivals including the Cervantino in Mexico, International Water Festival in Sweden, International Festival of the Arts, Costa Rica, International Festival of Religious Music, Colombia and the International Festival of Contemporary Music in Havana, Cuba. She was also featured with the Camerata on National Radio of Spain, TV Madrid, Spain Radio Antena, Mexico Artes de Channel 22, and Cuba Vision / Radio Rebelde in Cuba. Before leaving Cuba to live in Mexico, Ms. Martínez recorded the debut CD "La Bella Cubana" with Camerata Romeu. While living in Mexico, she was a member of the Carlos Chavez Symphonic Orchestra, Orchestra of the State of Hidalgo, Camerata de las Americas, and the Mineria Summer Festival Orchestra. Since moving back to Buffalo in 2006 Lázara has been a member of the Slee Sinfonietta, a substitute violinist with the BPO and has had numerous appearances with other local groups in the area.

Cuban-born Armando Arce is a world-renowned drummer and percussionist.  Having played throughout the world, he currently travels between Miami and New York City performing in festivals and clubs such as Blue Note in New York City.  Most recently, as a member of Arturo Sandoval's Latin Jazz ensembles and orchestras. 

RiShon Odel is perhaps one of the most creative talents in this era; he currently tours with 3x-time Grammy-Nominated Saxophonist NAJEE whose last 3 singles have ridden the Billboard Top 10 in two categories, Smooth Jazz and R&B. As part of NAJEE’S 2-year 5-Star band, Odel is a member of the International Society of Bassists and endorses DR “Black Beauties” Strings; along with other bassists like Marcus Miller, Thaddeus Tribbett, Sting, Mike Harrington and more. In addition, Odel has traveled and recorded with a pastiche of great artists throughout his career, such as Marvin Winans, Phil Perry, Me’Lisa Morgan, Donnie McClurkin, Special Gift and (Love & Hip-Hop star) “Stevie J” Jordan.

The “El Coco” CD project included notable Cuban and Latin Jazz stars.  Personnel for the CD included:

  • Michel Ferré – piano, Rhodes, synthesizers, programming, bass, percussion, background vocals
  • Vladimir Espinosa – congas, djembe, didgeridoo, chequeré, bombo leguero, minor percussion, lead vocals, background vocals.
  • Lázara Martínez – violin, background vocals
  • Jeff Hofmann – upright bass
  • Edward Magdariaga – electric bass
  • Armando Arce – cajón , paila, minor percussion
  • Danilo Arroyo – minor percussion
  • Gabriela Teran – background vocals
  • Atiba Rorie – conga , background vocals
  • Bradley Simmons – conga, background vocals
  • Hansel Herrera Dechapelles – trumpet

The two evenings will provide jazz fans a thrilling time experiencing authentic Cuban, Afro-Cuban, and Latin jazz.  And, to hear a live performance of this special CD production.  The concerts get underway at 8 pm each evening.  Tickets and reserved seating are available on Eventbrite (www.eventbrite.com).  You can go here – and soon – for each evening:

Friday, November 17 "El Coco" Concert: Reserved Seating

Saturday, November 18 "El Coco" Concert: Reserved Seating

Keep Jazz Alive!!


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