Niall McGuinness, leader of the New World Jazz Project:
Born in St. Augustine, Florida, Niall’s musical forays led him to Miami, where he graduated from the University of Miami School of Music, with an emphasis in jazz performance. It was in South Florida where Niall developed an affinity for Latin music. He performed in Central and South America, as well as several long engagements in NYC playing in a Latin show band. Salsa gigs were the normal musical engagement in Miami, and it is in this genre Niall found he could freely improvise, yet maintain a groove the listener can readily relate to: for an improviser, it can be the best of both worlds.
Hand percussion is an integral component of Latin and World music, and its sonic textures are amply utilized by the New World Jazz Project. Brazilian, African, and Caribbean percussion instruments fill Niall’s bag of tricks. He attributes his style of hand percussion to the influences of such percussion greats as Airto Moreira and Dom um Romao.
The giants of jazz music have always been Niall’s strongest musical influences. Tenor saxophone heavyweights John Coltrane, Joe Henderson and Dexter Gordon are his major mentors on that instrument. On alto sax, it was Cannonball Adderley and Sonny Stitt who left huge marks, and on soprano sax, the voice of Wayne Shorter provided beaucoup inspiration. Flute is an important element of Latin music, and flutist Dave Valentin is a continuing contributor to Niall’s musical palette: the tune, Deevee, is a tribute to this Latin flute master.
Niall currently lives in South Lake Tahoe,California.
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