alto sax, clarinet: Paquito D'Rivera
drums: Horacio "El Negro" Hernández"
piano: Hilario Durán
bass, consiglieri: Roberto Occhipinti
guitar: Rob Piltch
timbales: Rosendo "Chendy" León
congas, bongó, batá, güiro: Joaquín Hidalgo
trumpet: Alexis Baró, Alex Kundakcioglu,
Brian Okane, Jason Logue
alto sax: John Johnson, Luis Denis, Vern Dorge
tenor sax: Quinsin Nachoff, Jeff King
baritone sax: Perry White, Pol Coussee
trombone: Alistair Kay, Phil Gray, William Carn
bass trombone: Colin Murray
vocals: Dione Taylor
strings: Recorded in Moscow with the Globalis Orchestra, conducted
by Roberto Occhipinti
Arranged by Hilario Durán
Produced by Peter Cardinali
From the Heart
is a tribute to the “Golden” era of the great Jazz Band Orchestras
in Cuba. I was very lucky to be around during that time.
My first experience
with a Jazz Band Orchestra as a pianist and arranger was in 1970, during
my years in the Military Service, where I was a member of “The Orquesta
de Aficionados” at the military hospital in Marianao, Havana, Cuba.
The trumpet player Manuel Palau was the Director of that orchestra. It
was a small Jazz Band using the format of three Saxes (2 tenors and 1
alto), three trumpets, rhythm section, and three singers.
At that time, there
were many Jazz Band orchestras in Havana in places like the Tropicana,
Salon Rojo (Capri Hotel), Palermo Club in downtown Havana; Copa Room (Havana
Riviera Hotel), Parisien (National Hotel), Caribe Cabaret (Habana Libre
I used to escape from
the military base to visit all those clubs, so I could see the orchestras
performing at night. I was fascinated with the sound created by the combination
of horns and saxophones. My dream was to one day play in one of those
I finished my military
service in 1973 and three years later, in 1976, when pianist Chucho Valdes
formed his legendary “Irakere,” he asked me to replace him
in the “Orquesta Cubana de Música Moderna.” German
Piferrer was the Director of this great orchestra, and he introduced me
to the art and tricks of the Big Band Orchestras.
I learned orchestration
watching the scores of the greatest arrangers, like Rafael Somavilla,
Armando Romeu, Rembert Egües, and German Piferrer.
Because of this experience,
a few years later I became one of the most sought-after arrangers in Cuba.
I spent most of my time working in several productions at the EGREM Studios,
arranging for the most important singers in Cuba like Omara Portuondo,
Miriam Ramos, Beatriz Marquez, Silvio Rodriguez, while at the same time
working in all the Cabaret-shows in Havana and Varadero with German Piferrer
and Demetrio Muñiz, arranger of Buena Vista Social Club.
I moved to Canada
in 1998 and since then I have become part of the Canadian scene. The great
Bass player and friend Roberto Occhipinti, with all his enthusiasm and
support, encouraged me to make my dream come true. Together, we formed
a Latin Jazz Band with the cream of the best Canadian and Cuban musicians.
Our first performance was at “The Distillery Jazz Festival”
2005, which was successfully acclaimed by the press.
After several performances
in Ontario, Peter Cardinale, President of Alma Records, decided to make
a recording with this wonderful orchestra.
the Heart” is a nine-song compilation written in Cuban Jazz style,
using the Jazz Band format with five saxophones, four trumpets, four trombones,
and Cuban rhythm section with drum kit. In this record, I cover the main
styles of Cuban music, like Guaracha, Bolero, Danzon, Cha-Cha-Cha, Rumba,