September 23 concert celebrates Boston’s diverse jazz community
Our Jazz Along the Charles: a walkable concert features strong international influences — particularly a Latin American flavor — on Sunday, September 23rd. The free event invites the greater Boston community and visitors alike to walk along the scenic Charles River Esplanade and enjoy some of the region’s talented jazz musicians performing a curated set of songs that all harken back to our beloved Hub.
The 25 acts that will perform at “Jazz Along the Charles” encompass a wide range of styles and influences but for MIXCLA, Hiro Honshuku & Yuka Kido’s Love To Brasil Project and Choro JP the major inspiration is the flair throughout Latin American culture.
Hiroaki Honshuku of the Love to Brasil Project described his partnership as such. “Meeting Yuka Kido, who was a renowned flutist in Brazil and moved to Boston last spring, along with my decades of love to Brazilian music inspired our music.” He continues, “it’s basically a jazz improvisation on various native Brazilian grooves. Everything I write is passed on the late George Russell’s Lydian Chromatic Concept which is formed in modal jazz through (John) Coltrane and Miles (Davis). The harmony is very unique and exciting.”
For Zahili Gonzalez Zamora of MIXCLA there is a Latin influence on songs from the American traditional songbook that are arranged in diverse Latin American styles. Their own compositions combine playful Afro Cuban rhythms, interesting jazz harmonies and singing as a way of contributing to the canon of innovative Afro Cuban music.
“We primarily listen to a wide range of Cuban composers and arrangers in the Classical, Afro Cuban Jazz, Timba and Rumba genres”, Zamora says. “From pioneers such as Jose Maria Vitier and Emiliano Salvador, to much younger generations of outstanding musicians such as Ernan Lopez Nussa, Alain Perez, and Osain del Monte.”
For Catherine Bent’s Choro JP, the approach combines styles, “when Africa’s rhythms went ballroom dancing in Brazil nothing would ever be the same again!” The Berklee faculty member and classically trained cellist started playing choro, the infectious Brazilian hybrid of European dance music and African rhythms, while in graduate school. Following this initial interest, she dove deep into the tradition and went on to spend many months in Rio de Janeiro building her repertoire in jam sessions and alongside masters of the genre.
The zest of a Latin influence is simply one component, but it’s a spicy one. So many diverse ingredients are sure to make Jazz Along the Charles a special afternoon. Twenty-five jazz ensembles at a series of connected, walkable locations along the Charles River Esplanade interpreting a curated list of Boston-related tunes in one collective concert might be the ultimate showcase of a truly great jazz community in a diverse and exciting city.
Top photo: MIXCLA. All photos by Robert Torres.