On paper, the Pedro Pastrana Ensemble might seem like your traditional jazz quartet, composed of a horn, bass, drums and a chordal instrument, in this case, the cuatro. However, it’s the integration of the cuatro that defines the Ensemble’s unique style, connecting the earthy quality of a folk sound with the sophisticated harmony of modern jazz and the syncopated rhythms of the Caribbean. The Ensemble’s sound is not dominated by either of these genres but is defined by their intersection. Simply put: Tower of Power meets Pat Metheny meets Familia Cepeda meets “MapeyÃ©” meets Evel Knievel.
In order to create this sound, Pedro found the right players in:
David Pinto on bass. Known by his work with Susana Baca as musical director and bassist, David brings a sense of stability and center to the band noticeable from the first note he plays. But at the same time, when you shine some light on him he’ll hit you with a melodic line followed by the low-end groove.
Dave Flores on drums. One of the most versatile drummers you will find. He can go from the right lane to the carpool lane without looking through the rear view mirror. Not only can he groove like no other, but he also reacts to the environment, one of the most important skills in improvised music.
Mario Cruz on sax. After graduating from Habana’s National School of Art, Mario went straight to the big leagues, playing with Compay Segundo’s grandchildren. With a vocabulary in soul, R&B, jazz and of course, Afro-Cuban music, now in the Bay Area he is playing with some of the most renowned bands, including QBA and RumbalÃº.
Pedro Pastrana grew up playing the national instrument, the cuatro. His passion for discovery got him to leave his native Puerto Rico and travel to different countries, allowing him to explore other musical cultures. After years as a sideman, all of these collaborations have provided the spark for this original project, fusing all his influences into one story. With a passion for genre bending rooted in folk music, Pedro brings his dynamism to the fore and shows the versatility of the cuatro in popular and world music.
Our events are put on under the umbrella of the nonprofit Bird & Beckett Cultural Legacy Project (the "BBCLP"). That's how we fund our ambitious schedule of 300 or so concerts and literary events every year.
The BBCLP is a 501(c)(3) non-profit...
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Gigging musicians! You have nothing to lose but your lack of a collective voice to achieve fair wages for your work!
The IMA can be a conduit for you, if you join in to make it work.
Read more here - Andy Gilbert's Feb 25 article about the IMA from KQED's site