"What came out of the fusion of these jazz masters is an explosive display of virtuosity and outstanding compositions with an eclectic blend of texture and sound ... [showing us] new looks and possibilities for the fusion of jazz and Latin music."
Ninety Miles: Stefon Harris, David Sánchez & Nicholas Payton
Stefon Harris, vibraphone
David Sánchez, saxophone
Nicholas Payton, trumpet
Edward Simon, piano
Luques Curtis, bass
Henry Cole, drums
Mauricio Herrera, congas
Ninety Miles is the distance between Miami and Havana, the closest points in the U.S. and Cuba. It's also the name of the ambitious new project from New Orleans-born trumpeter Christian Scott, Puerto Rican saxophonist David Sánchez, and New York vibraphonist Stefon Harris. Released in June 2011 as a companion to a full-length documentary of the same name, the Ninety Miles album is the latest in a long line of artistic efforts to bridge the Cuba-U.S. divide and emphasize the musical, cultural, and historical kinships between the two nations.
Recorded in Havana, the music on Ninety Miles displays the Caribbean roots that connect traditional Cuban music with U.S. jazz and New Orleans, but it looks relentlessly forward. Scott, Harris, and Sánchez, along with the Cuban pianists Rember Duharte and Harold López-Nussa, whose separate quartets fill out the album, are modern jazz players through and through. Their compositions are ambitious, harmonically and rhythmically complex, and diversely influenced.
Although each musician on the album is a virtuosic performer in his own right, the real pleasure in Ninety Miles is when the whole band gets cooking. The interplay between these masters and the expert rhythm sections behind them moves the project well past its efforts in musicology or history. This is a session, not a study.
Tonight at the Blue Note, Harris and Sánchez bring the Ninety Miles project to the Blue Note stage, together with trumpeter Nicholas Payton and a dynamic rhythm section.
A four-time Grammy nominee, Harris has been honored as Best Vibraphonist by JAZZIZ, JazzTimes, and DownBeat. His seventh album and Concord Records debut, Urbanus (2009), received rave reviews and garnered a Grammy nomination for Best Contemporary Jazz Album.
Sánchez is unquestionably one of the finest, most progressive players on the contemporary jazz scene, as more than a decade's worth of bold, brilliant work has already proven. His latest Concord release Cultural Survival (2008) topped many critics' Best Jazz Albums of the Year lists.
Hailed as a virtuoso before he even graduated high school, Payton is one of the most prodigious trumpet talents of our time. A Grammy nominee and outspoken jazz pundit, he recently released his ninth solo effort, titled Bitches (2011).
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