This year has seen the loss of the giants of Latin Music- Tito Puente, Mongo Santamaria, and most recently Celia Cruz and Company Segundo. It is clear an era has ended in which the music came into being, formed it’s own identity and developed a worldwide audience. The next era of Latin Music has begun and the torch has been handed to the new generation of young and progressive Latin Artists- one notable example is Flautist/Tenor Saxophonist/Arranger and Composer Bobby Ramirez.
Born in Santa Clara Cuba and reared in the vibrant Miami musical community he is an example of the best of what the modern Latin Artists represent - educated, socially conscious and involved, well versed in the history and looking toward the future. His third independent release " Pan Con Bistec" shows his continuous development as an artist and musician. His focus on this recording was to capture the vitality and energy of live performances with the clarity and precision of the studio. This he does perfectly. Pulling from the Miami community he assembled just the right mix for each cut recorded in separate sessions during 2001 although the disruption and heartbreak of 9/11 delayed the release until this year.
Ramirez is a Latin Jazz Artist and the Jazz component is equally considered in his spectrum with a lovely rendition of Bill Evan’s Waltz for Debby - a tune chosen because it hasn’t been recorded on flute leaving the field open for him to craft his own interpretation. The Jazz swing feel is seamlessly incorporated with the hardcore Afro-Cuban sensibility on all the cuts. A beautiful example of this is the title tune " Pan Con Bistec" where the head moves from 6/8 to swing to descarga. Violinist Federico Britos Ruiz - known for his contribution to Charlie Hayden’s Grammy winning Bolero CD- is featured on several cuts and his love of Jazz and ability to swing is also evident. Argentinean Pianist Daniel Zaremba contributed a beautiful arrangement of Besame Mucho, which includes a string section. He also arranged the traditional number Alfonsina Y El Mar on which Ramirez plays Flute and has a which folkloric feel with a waltz lilt. Bobby’s funky composition " Massive Machine" flirts with fusion then breaks into a burning Tumbao. A rich, husky lower register characterizes his tenor work and his flute is bird like and reveals his tender lyrical side.
Also notable are the pianists Mike Ola and Abel Pabon-each featured on different cuts who are killer soloists- funky and strong. Percussionists Johnny Conga and Tony Verdejo make strong contributions. Bassist Ramses Colon completes the rhythm section also showing strong Jazz and Traditional chops.
Bobby Ramirez is passionate about his music and has a vision for the future. He is the originator of the popular website LatinJazzClub.com as well as a new venture LatinSheetMusic.com which assists educators in creating a viable Latin Jazz program in the Schools. He creates his music, markets it, and keeps learning and growing. He has the strength of soul to take on the torch and carry it far. Viva la Musica!!