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MP3 Chembo - Portrait In Rhythms

New York Latin Jazz, Afro Caribbean Jazz with nods to Jerry Gonzalez & Fort Apache, Chucho Valdez and Paquito D''Rivera

10 MP3 Songs
JAZZ: Latin Jazz, LATIN: Latin Jazz


Wilson "Chembo" Corniel, Jr.

Born in Manhattan on November 22, 1953 of proud Puerto Rican parents, Chembo was raised in the humble streets of Red Hook, Brooklyn. It was during these years, as a quick-witted youngster, that he had the privilege and honor to study with such percussion luminaries as, Tommy Lopez Sr., "Little Ray" Romero, Louie Bauza, and Cachete Maldonado.

Chembo honed his skills at The Harbor Conservatory for the Performing Arts in New York, and also at the prestigious La Escuela Nacional de Arte in Havana, Cuba under the direction of the great Chucho Valdez. His intense studies with such legends noted above channeled his energy onto a path where Wilson "Chembo" Corniel has now created a reputation for himself among musicians and the public. Today, he is considered as one of the best hard-hitting, versatile percussionists around.

Chembo teaches percussion to students at the SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Music, and leads numerous clinics throughout the United States where he brings awareness to others of the rich Afro-Caribbean traditions.

Among his credits, Chembo was chosen to create his own instructional DVD called, "An Introduction to Hand Percussion: Volume I-Congas". It was released in December of 2000 and with distribution by Warner Brothers it has been a success.

He''s been a vital endorser of Latin Percussion instruments since 1982 as he is currently for Remo drum heads and Instanbul cymbals.

His touring credits are as long as his performing credits. Chembo has toured with many major artists throughout Europe, Asia, North & South America, and the Caribbean. Television credits include an appearance on the "Bill Cosby Show" and a recurring recording gig on Nickelodeon''s children show, "Dora the Explorer".

Chembo continues to perform and/or record with many artists of different genres. He is currently concentrating on leading his own Latin Jazz Quintet, "Chembo & Grupo Chaworo". This is a well-balanced Latin Jazz group that incorporates many rich traditions, such as writer Aurora Flores states, " a sprinkling of be-bop, a touch of swing with a dollop of bomba, rumba, tango and danzon topped with ''un chin'' de charanga."

Liner Notes:
Portrait in Rhythms
Wilson "Chembo" Corniel

Artistic expression is created from that level of reality that lies between the ordinary and the spiritual. In this debut recording from a veteran percussionist, Wilson "Chembo" Corniel paints ten musical autobiographic portraits of the Nuyorican soul. Mirroring his musical growth against the backdrop of the hardcore Latin New York sound of the 70s, Chembo adds a dash of R&B, a sprinkling of be-bop, a touch of swing with a dollop of bomba, rumba, tango and danzón topped with "un chin" de charanga.
Influenced by big band rhythmic masters such as Tommy Lopez, Patato and Little Ray Romero whom he studied with, Manhattan born and Brooklyn bred Chembo has traveled the world with a variety of leaders from Tito Puente to Buddy Montgomery. His percussive rhythms have taught diverse audiences from his workshops in Cuba under pianist Chucho Valdes to his rhythmic patterns over Nickelodeon''s Dora, the Explorer. From Puerto Rican folklore to the searing salsa swing of Bobby Rodriguez y la Compañía, Chembo is a staying force in Latin music.
A humble testament to that development without musically boasting of multiple paradiddles or rim shots, Chembo and his quintet "Grupo Chaworó" instead focus on the various Latin music genres that tug the emotions while tapping the beat. The Coltrane inspired "Age of Pisces," arranged and directed by David Fernandez, features the virtuoso sax playing of young blood, Ivan Renta blowing through the polyrhythmic matrix of rhythms with a driving force reigned in through mature melodic voicings that betray the player''s youth. Followed by master Mario Rivera on soprano sax and John Walsh on trumpet the trio plays a musical "round robin" of solos that bring the piece back to its melodic jazz intro.
Followed by the "Café Mario" danzón penned by Walsh in tribute to Mario Rivera''s artistic space, Café slips into a charanga cha-cha with Mario playfully soloing his flute as if dancing.
An unusually melodic showcase for the otherwise rhythmic bass "Papillon" features the deep, resonant stylings of Yunior Terry over the güiro rhythm of three "chekeres," "guataca" and "tumbadora."
Listen to the "Nuevo Bieke" bomba drum patterns merge with swing, bebop and jazz in deference to a new age for the Puerto Rican island. The tune, as the island, is a progressive take on roots and improvised experimentation that integrates genres with seamless, intertwined motifs interspersed by piano comps ala Hancock and Chick ending in an intricately tight and unified bass and piano dance by Ruben Rodriguez and Tino Derado.
"Inocencía" by Derado evokes a nostalgic tango with the pianist on accordion tugging the heartstrings in a bittersweet expression of love.
An Oscar Hernandez arrangement, "Primera Rumba," highlights the quintet''s broad and tight musical intelligence and visceral swing. This succulent blend features a tasty montuno over Chembo''s extemporaneous "quinto" riffs complemented by Vince Cherico''s drumming.
The Steve Wilson arrangement of Marvin Gaye''s "After the Dance" gives accent to Carla Cook''s cool r&b vocal moves with Wilson''s sax solos smoothly scaling up and down her range.
"Adios Mongo" is Chembo''s tribute to the late master percussionist, Mongo Santamaria. Chembo''s "acapella" conga solo evokes the Afro-Cuban''s spirit with the understated elegance and simplicity that defined the pioneer of Afro-Cuban roots and Latin jazz development.
A battery of Bata drums follows on "Nadya" closing the recording with Yoruba drums and chants. Tagged by a mellow, saxy jazz and piano refrain hovering over the Bata roots, the Latin jazz feel dissipates into a climactic percussive trio of Bata conversations.
The clave based jazz driven "Chemboró" opens this classic recording with a Hernandez arrangement showcasing Renta''s sax stylings punctuated by Chembo''s solid drumming. Both sax and drum solos here define the nature of "Portraits" building the Latin jazz motifs over a rock hard foundation of Latin music percussion.
Coming full circle with this deft and passionate expression of the soundtrack of Nuyorican life, Chembo Corniel has gifted the listener with a work of art that is a "Portrait in Rhythms."

Aurora Flores is a writer, activist and educator residing in New York. Email: aurora@https://www.tradebit.com © December, 2003

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