08 May Marimjazzia
For those unfamiliar with latin jazz fusion, you’re in for a treat when Marimjazzia comes to play at the Irregardless Cafe this Saturday lead by Juan Alamo. The name of the band comes from the marimba, which is the instrument of choice for Alamo at Saturday’s performance, though he’s no stranger to many other percussion instruments.
Alamo, not just a musician and composer, also works at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill as an Assistant Professor and the Director of the Percussion Ensemble. He’s originally from Cidra, Puerto Rico and has performed live or on TV or radio in Puerto Rico, Mexico, Venezuela and the United States.
The members playing alongside Alamo are Steve Anderson on piano, Pete Kimosh on bass, Beverly Botsford on percussion, and Brevan Hampden on drums. This Saturday, however, Kimosh, Botsford, and Hampden are replaced by Andy Kleindienst on bass, Orlandus Perry on drums, and Ramon Ortiz on percussion.
When asked why Alamo chose percussion, he answered, “That’s a thing that happens naturally because I didn’t set out to have that happen. I’ve been playing percussion since I was a little kid. I was attracted to the drums by seeing professional bands on TV or live shows and from that point on, I wanted to play drums.”
As a kid in Puerto Rico, he grow up listening to salsa music, the kind of dance-able, upbeat music that has likely influenced his music today. Jazz was also a genre Alamo listened to all his life, though he wasn’t aware of it at the time.
There wasn’t a single song that he can remember that he liked to perform when he first started playing as he mentioned there was a variety that attracted him. “There was so much happening, something new or that came on and it was interesting,” he said.
Throughout his career, there are memorable moments that Alamo can often look back on. One was ten years ago when he was invited to go to Mexico to do a series of concerts all over the country. “On the last stop, I was doing a show and when I finished one of the pieces, I looked up to the audience and in the back of the theatre, I see this group of people holding a flag from my homeland, Puerto Rico,” he reminisces.
This Saturday, the music Marimjazzia will be playing is a mixture of original composition, along with rearrangements of American and Latin standards. Like the Saturday standards at Irregardless, Marimjazzia’s music will be sure to make people get on their feet and start dancing.
“Invite everybody to come Saturday and check the band out,” he mentioned. “We always try to have something new like a new arrangement or a new composition. In fact, I will have a new tune on Saturday that I wrote recently. It should be a fun show and I hope to see many people there.”
Marimjazzia will also be releasing a new recording around October/November.