Percussionist "Chembo"Corniel has seriously paid some dues. For the last 35 years he has been hitting it hard on the scene in New York gaining some serious street credibility as a well as working with some of the most important artists in Latin Music. Growing up in Brooklyn he started his musical journey studying with legends Tommy Lopez Sr., "Little Ray" Romero, Louie Bauza, and Cachete Maldonado.He continued his studies at the Harbour Conservatory for the Performing Arts in New York and at La Escuela Nacional de Arte in Cuba with the great Chucho Valdés.
He has become a master of Afro-Caribbean Rhythms and worked in almost every genre of the music touring extensively and recording with many artists. His debut Release as a leader is long overdue." "Portrait in Rhythms" is a showcase of Chembo’s many influences and musical directions. He pulled the arranging and compositional talents of Oscar Hernandez, David Fernandez, John Walsh and Tino Derado to create a palette of colors to which he added bomba, rumba, tango, danzon, Guiro, charanga and bata rhythmic hues.
There is straight ahead hard hitting Latin Jazz heard on the cuts "Chemboro" and "Age of Pisces". "Nueve Bieke" is Chembo's musical reflection on the political and spiritual situation of the US Military departure from Puerto Rico's Island Bieke. "Primero Rumba" is a burning number which features the melody played on the Congas. On "Nadya" Chembo arranged a Yoruba Bata meditation with Coros by Lisa Maria Salb and David Oquendo. Chembo invokes his youth in Brooklyn with Marvin Gaye’s "After the Dance" augmented by the vocals of Carla Cook. "Adios Mongo" is Chembo’s solo tribute to Mongo Santamaria which he improvised using 5 congas and Bongos. "Café Mario" starts as a danzon and moves into a charanga with a flute solo by Mario Rivera- who the tune is dedicated to. "Innocencia" is a wistful tango with pianist Tino Derado overdubbing a plaintive Accordion. "Papillon" features bassist Yunior Terry as the melodic voice over a guiro rhythm played by three chekeres, guataca and tumbadora.
Every cut is unique and different and the listener is moved through a spectrum of musical moods, colors and landscapes. Also heard are the strong voices of Vince Cherico on drums, Ivan Renta on tenor sax, trumpeter John Walsh, Ruben Rodriguez on Bass and Ray Vega on Flugel Horn.
Originally an independent release "Portrait in Rhythms" is being re-released on the Jazz Maniac Label. Corniel recently recorded a new collaborative CD with flautist Andrea Brachfeld, Pianist Hilton Ruiz and Trombonist Steve Turre and Chembo is heading back into the studio to record his next CD as a leader further expanding the picture of this artist’s musical life and growth
"Portrait in Rhythms" is a mature work with a personal vision. Chembo Corniel is poised to step into the recognition he deserves and has earned. He is arguably one of the most under-rated percussionists on the scene who is finally having the opportunity to move into his true role as a torch bearer of Latin Jazz, preserving the tradition and painting new "Portraits In Rhythm" .