Michel Camilo, piano
Cliff Almond, drums
Lincoln Goines, bass
In Mano a Mano, Michel Camilo’s dazzling new release and his first on the Decca/EmArcy label (Universal Music Group), the pianist returns to one of his most effective settings – the trio – but with a twist, using congas and small percussion instead of trap drums. Featuring longtime friends, master conguero Giovanni Hidalgo and bassist Charles Flores, Camilo’s trio creates a lighter, more open sound, still powerful, yet also with a certain sweet mango-flavored lyricism that proves to be a perfect vehicle for a wide-ranging repertoire that includes eight original compositions and three standards. It’s a recording that speaks of an artist reaching maturity, connecting personal and professional moments of his past with a fresh, clear vision of the future.
A native of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Camilo studied for 13 years at the National Conservatory, and at the age of 16 he became a member of the National Symphony Orchestra of the Dominican Republic (NSODR). He moved to New York in 1979, where he studied at Mannes College and at The Juilliard School. In 1985, he released his debut album, entitled Why Not?, made his Carnegie Hall debut with his trio, and toured Europe. Spending a significant portion of time back in his native Santo Domingo, he served as the musical director of the Dominican Republic’s Heineken Jazz Festival, a post he held until 1992. His early albums – Michel Camilo, On Fire, and On the Other Hand – all reached the top of the nationwide radio play charts.
Since that time, Camilo’s recordings on various labels have included Rendezvous (1993), One More Once (1995), Thru My Eyes (1997), Spain (2000), Triangulo (2003), Live at the Blue Note (2003: his first live album), and Spirit of the Moment (2007). Camilo also remains active as a composer, writing music both for his own recordings and for other, often larger settings, including works for piano and orchestra and several film scores, among them the score for the award-winning European film Amo Tu Cama Rica.
A Grammy, Emmy, and Latin Grammy Award winner, Camilo has been a featured soloist, arranger and composer with the Danish Radio Big Band and has appeared as soloist with numerous prominent symphony orchestras, often performing classical repertoire and his own compositions. He has also performed at the Royal Albert Hall, The White House, and in various legendary jazz venues in New York, including the Blue Note, the Beacon Theater, Radio City Music Hall, and Avery Fisher Hall. In addition, he regularly tours the Caribbean, Europe, Israel, Japan, and South, Central, and North America.
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