Aguanko is Latin Jazz ensemble led by percussionist and composer Alberto Naci. Aguanko is a talented group of Michigan based musicians who are steeped in the tradition of jazz infused Son-Salsa, all of them are well-respected, and experienced educators.
Alberto has put together an educational lecture demonstration that showcases the different styles of Cuban Music, from the Rumba complex (Yambu, Guaguanco, and Columbia) to popular and dance music of Cuba (Danzon, Son, Guajira, Son Montuno, Cha-Cha-Cha, Mambo, Guaracha, Afro), and also Carnival music of Cuba, including styles played in Havana, Matanzas and Santiago De Cuba, and also a discussion of the history and performance of Latin-Jazz.
Individual classes and group seminars on both education and instrument-specific instruction are available.
A 1 hr program which showcases the musicals styles is available, with up to a full day or 2 day seminar which goes into more depth and can be customized to emphasize the rhythm section, or the ensemble, or even even an individual instrumental role within the ensemble.
Alberto Nacif was born in the isthmus state of Oaxaca on Mexico’s west coast where Cuban derived rhythms were part of everyday music. He began playing conga and bongo drums at a young age with local musicians in Mexico. He emmigrated to Detroit, Michigan as a teen, and became involved in that City’s Jazz, Disco and Latin music scene, playing in multiple venues, but found the Latin Jazz muse by playing with Saxophonist and composer Jimmy Stefanson’s “La Combinacion.” Alberto initially honed his percussion skills with conga/bongo master Armando Peraza (of Santana fame). Alberto is the consummate student of Afro-Cuban drum traditions, and has traveled to Cuba since 1982 to study and perform.
He led the Latin Jazz group “Cubop” in the early 1990s, and co-led Tumbao Bravo for 10 years, until 2015, and has recorded with the Lunar Octet, Francisco Mora, Marcus Belgrave, Tumbao Bravo, and now with his group Aguanko.
Alberto has composed over 30 Latin Jazz pieces featured with Tumbao Bravo and Aguanko, critically acclaimed by radio hosts and in print media. These CDs of original compositions that have been featured on all the major jazz public radio stations throughout the U.S. Winner of the 2005, 2007 and 2013 Detroit Music Awards for Best Jazz Recording and Best World Music Band.
Jose “Pepe” Espinosa
Born in Havana, Cuba, Jose “Pepe” Espinosa in one of the best known and most versatile percussionists today. A veteran of over 80 recordings, his extensive resume boasts tours with Cubanismo, the Afrocuban All Stars,Arturo Sandoval, Chucho Valdés, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Frank Emilio Flynn, and many other orchestras and small groups. His vast knowledge as a professional musician in so many different settings along with his expertise in the recording studio make him an ideal partner in Aguanko’s debut recording “Elemental”. His musicianship and guidance have helped the debut recording to be a successful, high-quality release. His work in the studio included recording timbal, bongo, and small Percussion instruments, but also in mixing (along with Alberto Nacif and studio engineer Geoff Michael) to achieve the special sound of this recording. Look for Jose “Pepe” Espinosa’s first CD release as a leader later this year!
Wesley Reynoso: Born in La Isabela, Dominican Republic, has studied at the Instituto de Musica Sagrada in San Juan, Puerto Rico; The French Conservatory; Harlem School of the Arts; Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. Reynoso has played alongside some of the greatest musicians in the industry including: salsa greats like Alfredo De La Fe, Rey De La Paz, Paquito Guzman, Herman Olivera, and Hector Tricoche; and jazz greats like James Carter, Café Da Silva, Romero Lubambo, Paul Keller, Joe Lovano, Steve Turre, and Antonio Sanchez. He has also performed with Latin jazz artists such as Memo Acevedo, Richie Flores, Luis Quintero, Roberto Quintero, Alfredo “Chocolate” Armenteros, the late Patato Valdez, and Dave Valentin, and most recently with his Wesley Reynoso Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra in New York City, and also with vocalist Thalia. His stylish playing and profound understanding of Latin-Jazz piano make him an exciting performer to see and hear.
Rick Roe won first place in the Great American Jazz Piano Competition in 1994, was twice a semifinalist in Thelonius Monk International Jazz Piano Competition, in 1993 and 1999, and has been a featured performer in the Jacksonville (Florida) Jazz, Savannah (Georgia) Onstage International Arts, Montreaux/Detroit Jazz, Birmingham Jazz, Lansing Jazz, Flint Jazz, and Hawaii Jazz (with Frank Morgan) Festivals.
Mr. Roe has served as an educator/clinician at the University of Arizona, North Texas University, Michigan State University, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, the University of Michigan, and the Montreaux/ Detroit Jazz Festival. He has given performances with Marcus Belgrave, Donald Walden, Rodney Whitaker, Frank Foster, Andrew Speight, Wycliffe Gordon, Gerald Cleaver, Victor Goines, Louis Smith, Randy Gelispie, Vincent York, Wendall Harrison, Dwight Adams, and many others. His recordings include “The Changeover” (1997), “Monk’s Modern Music” (1995), and “Sphere” (2005).
Patrick Prouty is a veteran bassist/composer from Detroit. In 1997, he earned the bass chair with legendary blues guitarist Johnnie Bassett. With Johnnie Bassett, Patrick toured the U.S., played his first gigs in Europe and got to work with pianist/organist Bill Heid. As Patrick’s profile as a bassist grew, he became interested in writing and arranging music. Along with his duties as a bassist, he began to write for many of the groups he was working with. He became the musical director of the Lucky Strike Swing Orchestra in 2001 and continues to write and arrange music for this eight piece group. In 2000, the Patrick Prouty Trio was formed as a vehicle to play Patrick’s own original music. The trio started working whenever Patrick was free from his duties as a sideman in the many groups he was playing with. With Bettye Lavette, Patrick toured relentlessly in the U.S. and made 24 European tours playing some of the most prestigious festivals all over the world including Bonaroo and the North Sea Jazz Festival.
Saxophonist, flautist, composer and arranger Russ Miller is currently an Associate Professor of Jazz Studies at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, where his duties include teaching jazz improvisation, jazz lab bands and jazz arranging and orchestration classes. His 30-year professional music career includes performances with Dizzy Gillespie, Buddy DeFranco, J.C. Heard, Rob McConnell, Jon Faddis, Joe Williams, Milt Hinton, Rosemary Clooney and Sammy Davis Jr. among others. In addition Russ has performed with his own group and with others at the Detroit International Jazz Festival, the Michigan Jazz Festival, Music on the Plaza in Grosse Pointe and at various local venues. Recorded performances include: J.C. Heard Orchestra – Some of This, Some of That (Hiroko Records), Bill Heid – Wet Streets (Savant Records), John Cooper Orchestra – Baecker Jazz Worship Service (Baecker Music Productions) and on Jeannine Miller’s recently released recording Two For The Road (PKO Records) which in addition to featuring Russ on sax and flute, features his arrangements of classic jazz standards for big band, woodwinds, brass, strings and jazz quartet.
As a trumpet player, composer and educator, Anthony Stanco is a rising talent in today’s music scene. Anthony’s brilliant trumpet style is exciting and demonstrates his understanding of the jazz tradition. Anthony is equally passionate as an educator and composer.
Anthony Stanco started playing trumpet in the fifth grade in the Fraser Public School System. His musical education was elevated when he joined the Detroit Symphony Civic Orchestra and Civic Jazz Orchestra under the direction of Marcus Belgrave and Rodney Whitaker. When Anthony was in high school, he established himself as a professional musician in the Detroit area. He performed as a leader at the 2006 Birmingham Jazz Festival with his quintet, as well as the 2007 Detroit Jazz Festival. Anthony was also selected as the top high school soloist during the 2007 Detroit Jazz Festival for his performance with the Fraser Jazz Ensemble.
A trombonist fluent in many styles, Chris Smith is also an arranger and composer, multi-instrumentalist, bandleader, and educator. A second-generation jazz trombonist from New Orleans, Smith is one of those rare musicians who plays traditional and modern jazz equally well. He has an enormous collection of jazz trombone recordings, with a concentration on J.J. Johnson, Jack Teagarden and the virtually unknown Hollywood trombonist by the name of Abe Lincoln. In his improvised solos one can hear virtually the entire history of jazz trombone. Coming up on the Southeast Michigan jazz scene in the 1990s, Smith quickly became one of the state’s top-call trombonists, and spent a lot of time on the road with the Detroit area’s great jazz artists. Chief among these must be the late, legendary trumpeter Marcus Belgrave, with whom Smith performed, recorded and toured since 1999. Chris also spent much time with James Dapogny’s Chicago Jazz Band, touring and recording from 1995 to the present. He has also been called upon to solidify the touring groups of New Orleans bandleaders Banu Gibson and Chris Clifton. Former longtime lead trombonist of Ann Arbor’s Paul Keller Orchestra, Smith has also played lead trombone with the Christian McBride Big Band, the Detroit Jazz Festival Orchestra, the Basie Big Band under the direction of Dennis Wilson, the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra, the Dorsey Brothers Orchestra, the Harry James Orchestra, and many other big bands, as well as the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. Other top artists Smith has performed, toured, or recorded with include Wess Anderson, Dave Bennett, Dee Dee Bridgewater, James Dapogny, Nnenna Freelon, Curtis Fuller, Banu Gibson, Wycliffe Gordon, Jimmy Heath, Franz Jackson, Maria Muldaur, The Manhattan Transfer, Dennis Rowland, Steve Turre, Gerald Wilson, and many others.
Along with pianist James Dapogny, Chris co-leads Phil Ogilvie's Rhythm Kings (P.O.R.K.), a 10-piece band that plays jazz, dance, and popular music of the 1920s and 30s. Chris plays Sousaphone in P.O.R.K. but also occasionally trombone or even trumpet. P.O.R.K. can be heard every Sunday at the Zal Gaz Grotto in Ann Arbor from 5:00 till 8:00 p.m.
- Latin Jazz Christmas in Havana (2015) Amazon Website
- Invisible (2015) cdbaby Amazon iTunes Website
- Elemental (2013) cdbaby AmazoniTunes Website