Produced by Agúzate and SRBCC, Chicago’s Annual Afro-Caribbean Improvised Music Festival celebrates the art of improvisation and its many variants in Afro-Latin music. The festival is a multi-genre, multi-venue undertaking that is now in its third year.
December 11th, 2013
8:30 pm – Old Town School of Folk Music
4544 N. Lincoln, Chicago, IL – FREE – $10 suggested donation
Tribute to Ismael Rivera featuring Ismael Rivera Jr.
10th Annual Tribute to the Improvisational Singer
The 10th Anniversary of the Annual Tribute to the Improvisational Singer is dedicated to Ismael Rivera, known by fans across the salsa world as the greatest improvisational singer to ever grace the stage. His rich repertoire, including hits that go as far back as his beginnings in the 1950s with Cortijo y su Combo will come to life through the voice of his talented son, Ismael Rivera Jr. “Ismaelito,” as he is known in the music industry, started his career in 1977 at the age of 23 with Rafael Cortijo. That same year they recorded El Sueño de Cortijo, which included the hits “Elena, Elena” and “Gotas de Veneno.” His career expands over four decades marked by recordings with the most renowned Afro-Puerto Rican musicians of all time, including Kako Bastar, Jesús Cepeda and Roberto Roena.
Thursday, December 12th
“De todas maneras Tite” – Film Screening of Sonó Sonó
followed by a conversation with César Colón-Montijo
Limited Space. Reserve here.
6:30 pm – Old Town School of Folk Music – Gallery
4544 N. Lincoln, Chicago, IL – FREE
Catalino ‘Tite’ Curet-Alonso is the preeminent composer in salsa. Don Tite is responsible for classic recordings such as Las caras lindas, Periódico de ayer, Anacaona, Plantación Adentro and Marejada feliz, among many others canonical pieces in the history of salsa. The legacy of Curet-Alonso was documented in Sonó Sonó, the yearly christmas special produced by the Banco Popular de Puerto Rico in 2011. Featuring Roberto Roena, Cheo Feliciano, Tego Calderón, Trina Medina, Truco y Zaperoko, Lalo Rodríguez, Calle 13 and Yubairé, among other performers, this musical documentary narrates the musical and cultural transcendence of Curet-Alonso’s career, and refreshes his repertoire with new arrangements and interpretations.
The screening of the movie will be followed by a musical conversation lead by César Colón-Montijo, co-researcher and writer of the script for Sonó Sonó. Colón-Montijo is a journalist and doctorate student of ethnomusicology at Columbia University in New York. His dissertation research explores the multi-layered legacy of Ismael ‘Maelo’ Rivera in barrios throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.
Friday, December 13th
James Sanders’ Proyecto Libre
Opening Act by Las Bompleneras
Grand Opening of Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center
8:00 pm – Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center
4046 W. Armitage, Chicago, IL – FREE – $10 suggested donation
Space is limited. Complete free registration here to save your space.
Violinist James Sanders brings a lifetime of experiences to his music. The son of a Dominican mother and U.S. born father, Sanders grew up in an ethnically mixed Chicago neighborhood. Encouraged by his mother, he began violin studies at the age of ten, culminating in a performance degree from Yale University. He formed the highly regarded Latin jazz ensemble James Sanders’ Conjunto in 2001. The group was the house band at Little Village’s Jacaranda Club for several years and has performed at the Chicago Latin Jazz Festival, SummerDance, Jazz Showcase, Velvet Lounge, Katerina’s and many more, including a 2011 headline show at Millennium Park’s Pritzker Pavilion. Meanwhile, Sanders maintained a parallel career as an in-demand collaborator with musicians from the AACM collective of free jazz improvisers, including Dee Alexander, Harrison Bankhead, Renee Baker and more. With Proyecto Libre, Sanders combines his Dominican roots and command of Latin jazz with a forward thinking, purely improvisational aesthetic by bringing master musicians from both genres together in a freewheeling musical experiment.
For Proyecto Libre, Sanders selected musicians that he has worked with in both camps, including Avreeayl Ra and Conjunto percussionist Jean-Christophe Leroy. Ra’s career began with such legendary jazz masters as Pharaoh Sanders and Sun Ra. The Chicago Tribune said, “Avreeayl Ra shapes the music-making swirling around him with remarkable precision and poise… an indispensable innovator.” Leroy is a long-time practitioner of Afro-Cuban, Afro-Caribbean, and West African music combined with an upbringing in Western classical music and jazz studies.
Holding down the center is bassist and composer Joshua Abrams. His ubiquity in Chicago’s improvised music scene makes him one of the most hard-working, creative, and prolific bass players around. Sanders recently performed on Abrams’ score for the film The Trials of Muhammad Ali.
Saturday, December 14th
Afro-Latin Record Collectors’ Fair and Exhibit
Grand Opening of Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center
2:00 pm – Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center
4046 W. Armitage, Chicago, IL – FREE
More than a Record Collectors’ Fair, the festival finale will be a multi-arts celebration of Afro-Latin music and culture. It will include an art showcase, sets by Chicago’s top vinyl collectors and DJs and a live performance by Buya. Curated by Sonorama and Sobremesa Supper Club.