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Papo Vazquez and the Beat of Afro-Cuban Jazz Rev Up The Berrie Center at Ramapo College

(PDF) (DOC) (JPG)January 22, 2001

(Mahwah) — Trombonist, composer and arranger Papo Vazquez, who has performed with such legends as Tito Puente and Celia Cruz, Dizzy Gillespie and Wynton Marsalis, will bring the Afro-Cuban jazz sounds of his latest CD, Pirates and Troubadours, to the Berrie Center at Ramapo College of New Jersey Saturday, February 10 at 8 p.m. Tenor saxophonist Willie Williams will be featured.

Vazquez grew up in the heart of North Philadelphia’s Puerto Rican community. With a $5 trombone he bought from a friend’s brother, Vazquez joined his elementary school band. Later his family introduced him to the vibrant music and popular Latin dances of the 50s and 60s. At the age of 13 he decided to become a professional musician.

By the early ’70s Vazquez had moved to New York and before long was working with top names in Latin music like the Fania All Stars, Ray Barreto, Celia Cruz and Eddie Palmieri. He appeared on Willie Colon’s landmark release Siembra. In the ’80s Vazquez played with Batacumbele, one of the most innovative and popular Latin fusion bands of the time. He traveled as principal trombonist for Tito Puente and toured Europe with Dizzy Gillespie’s United Nations Orchestra.

Vazquez has always been deeply moved by jazz and cites the music of John Coltrane and J.J. Johnson as having the most influence. He studied with Slide Hampton and later arranged and performed for Hampton’s World of Trombones. Vazquez’ ability to fuse Afro-Caribbean rhythms, especially those from Cuba and Puerto Rico, with freer melodic and harmonic elements of progressive jazz has insured his popularity on many fronts.

As a composer Vazquez showcased his talents on Ruben Blades Antecedente recording, as well as Hilton Ruiz’ Manhattan Mambo. He played on the soundtrack of Spike Lee’s Mo’ Better Blues and on The Mambo Kings.

Willie Williams, who will perform alongside Vazquez, also realized his destiny while still in grade school. He picked up a clarinet at age six and by 12 was performing and recording professionally. He has performed with Art Blakey, Jackie Byard and Arthur Taylor, among others. Now an award-winning performer, composer and teacher, he works and records with his own ensemble.

Tickets for this performance are $15 general admission, $10 seniors and $5 students and children under 18. For ticket information, call (201) 684-7844.


About Ramapo College

Ramapo College of New Jersey is the state’s premier public liberal arts college and is committed to academic excellence through interdisciplinary and experiential learning, and international and intercultural understanding. The comprehensive college is situated among the beautiful Ramapo Mountains, is within commuting distance to New York City, was named one of the 50 Most Beautiful College Campuses in America by CondeNast Traveler, and boasts the best on-campus housing in New Jersey per Established in 1969, Ramapo College offers bachelor’s degrees in the arts, business, data science, humanities, social sciences and the sciences, as well as in professional studies, which include business, education, nursing and social work. In addition, the College offers courses leading to teacher certification at the elementary and secondary levels, and offers graduate programs leading to master’s degrees in Accounting, Applied Mathematics, Business Administration, Contemporary Instructional Design, Computer Science, Creative Music Technology, Data Science, Educational Leadership, Nursing, Social Work and Special Education, as well as a Doctor of Nursing Practice.


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