Edgar Abraham releases new album that highlights the splendor of Puerto Rican music in fusion with Jazz
The multi-instrumentalist, composer and arranger released 'La Máquina', featuring saxophonist Miguel Zenon.
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Those who know him may think that the title of his new album refers to the continuous creation of the award-winning multi-instrumentalist, composer, and arranger Edgar Abraham, however, 'The Machine' (La máquina) is a song of the Boricua folklore that serves as the central theme of the production, which fuses Latin Jazz with musical elements that highlight the splendor of the Puerto Rican experience.
'Edgar Abraham, La Máquina', available on major music platforms, is a celebration of Puerto Rican, Caribbean, and Hispanic heritage, with fusions of Latin Jazz, arrangements of popular folklore themes and original compositions. The theme that gives name to the production is an arrangement of the popular song, 'La máquina patinaba', by composer Manuel Jiménez Canario, a famous ‘bomba’, which describes the journey of the train that existed in Puerto Rico at the end of the 19th century, to transport sugar cane.
According to Edgar Abraham, "I worked on this production for a long time, meticulously and thoughtfully. The theme of 'La máquina’ or The Machine' is tradition, history and culture all together, and it takes on a very special meaning because it gave me the opportunity to record it with someone I admire very much, my friend Miguel Zenón, a great glory of Puerto Rico."
In several videos released with the production, you can see both saxophonists as they recreate with virtuosity the route of the train, elaborating musically the popular song in its entirety and creating with improvisations a special 'Intro' for the album, in addition to two 'Interludes', one that celebrates Afro Latin American influences and another theme, where both saxophonists perform articulations of syncopated rhythms, with virtuosity, musicality and high level of creativity, starting from Puerto Rican folklore.
"Although we have known each other since we were young teenagers, when we studied at the Escuela Libre de Música de San Juan, we had never recorded together. Miguel is a genius, a Master who has given pride and glory to Puerto Rico, and to be able to record this piece with him has been a great privilege. It also gives the production a very special meaning. This theme celebrates our Puerto Ricanness, our roots and our tradition, to the rhythm of Jazz," said Edgar Abraham.
For his part, Zenón, added that, "when I saw Edgar in the hallways of the Escuela Libre de Música I remember that use to think... What does this kid doing playing Charlie Parker? I have always had great admiration for him, and I have been able to appreciate his great talent and his work from outside Puerto Rico. For me it has been a spectacular experience to collaborate together in this project. With this theme we have created a fusion between classical, jazz and avant-garde celebrating our Puerto Rican roots."
'La máquina' is Edgar Abraham's 22nd album and it also includes other themes of Caribbean folklore. The record production of 11 songs celebrates to the sound of the ‘rumba’ in the character of, 'Yayabo', which tells the story of a prisoner who has already left prison, in addition to including the famous bolero, 'Dos gardenias', by Cuban composer Isolina Carrillo.
These renowned themes of the popular Boricua music join original compositions of the artist that explore his roots and his musical influences ranging from his classical training, to bomba and plena, flamenco, and rumba.
Other original compositions of this production are: 'El mofongo express’ a modern piece of Jazz fusion; 'Piki Juye', a Jazz arrangement with cha-cha-cha, which is inspired by the mischief of the small insect of the fields that bites and swiftly escapes; 'La gitana del Cabaret', a sensual piece that intertwines Jazz with flamenco; 'El Único', a tribute to a beach located in the north of Puerto Rico, in a small corner where sea turtles nest and 'Plena Vida', a composition he made at age 16 inspired by the famous plena and parrandas typical of Christmas in Puerto Rico.
"On this album the saxophone is the protagonist, and the element of the composition was an arduous work of decades. There are compositions, like 'Plena Vida', which I made as a teenager, at age 16, and played it to my mother. It is an album that reflects my journey and the stability I have at this stage of my life," said the artist winner of three Latin Grammys.
In addition to Miguel Zenón, Alfredo Rodriguez also participates in the ‘tumbadoras’, Gabriel "Gaby" Rodríguez in the Drums, and the timbalero Manolito Rodríguez in percussion. The album was recorded entirely in the artist's studio, Sangre Fría Studios and featured the meticulous work of Kiko Hurtado, as sound engineer.
A multi-medium production
In the digital age, the production has visual elements that include several videos of the recording with Miguel Zenón, made by the filmmaker collective Monovision, as well as original animations inspired by the story of each theme. The animations were created by Puerto Rican artist Yemuel Moreno, who along with Edgar Abraham studied the themes to create the stories and characters.
"Edgar's music is very cinematic, and during the creative process of the animations we talked about the characters that star in each theme. We created ‘La máquina', the train, touring the coast as it did in the days of the sugar cane industry, but we also gave life to 'Piki Juye', and we created a caricature of the insect that is like a mobster who dresses like a gangster of the 30s, and walks the streets of 'Spanish Harlem'', explained Yemuel Moreno, who holds a master’s degree in animation from Barcelona. 'Dos gardenias' shows a couple passionately dancing to the famous bolero, while, for 'Yayabo', the artist recreated the atmosphere of street rumba. The animations can be seen as you click on each theme in Spotify.
Edgar Abraham, winner of three Latin Grammy Awards, has worked as a composer, arranger, producer, and musician with celebrities such as Kany Garcia, Jorge Drexler, Vicente Garcia, Dave Valentin, Giovanni Hidalgo, Cheo Feliciano, Calle 13 and Residente, among many others. He has played in major venues around the world, including the famed Ronnie Scotts Jazz Club in London and Carnegie Hall in New York. You can listen to this and other Edgar Abraham productions, for free, on all of the main music platforms. For information you can access www.edgarabraham.com