Music on next trip to Puerto Rico . . .

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Venturion, Jan 10, 2007.

  1. Venturion

    Venturion New Friend

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    Aug 24, 2005
    New Jersey, USA
    Hi Manny,

    Just got back from a quick trip to PR, had never been there before. What a fabulous place, what little I did see. Just made me want to go back for more.

    For musical nourishment, the highlight was a night of the utterly WORLDCLASS jazz piano of Carli Munoz at his restaurant in Old San Juan. As a pianist myself, I was totally impressed and mesmerized by his deft, intuitive, surprising yet apt renditions of a number of standards and other more obscure tunes. He played a reflective version, with all manner of exquisite harmonic subtleties, of the chestnut Cielito Lindo. It just about brought tears to my eyes, it was that great. He has transmuted the Bill Evans tradition into a unique cross-pollination with the deep undercurrents of Carribbean rhythms, brilliantly.

    The other musical highlight was a lesson in humility: We were at a Mexican restaurant when a Mariachi band showed up to play (consisting of violin, trumpet, guitar and a much larger guitar used as a bass). They certainly looked and sounded authentic to me (but what do I know). In any case, the more I listened to them, forgetting about their odd costumes, I felt the heartfelt power of their songs, particularly while they were being sung. They were seriously giving the best of their hearts. I requested Besame Mucho, a tune I play regularly on my gigs, and one that Carli Munoz had played the night before at his restaurant. They did it in a simple, stately tempo, and the vocalist (bigguitarist) sang like it was the last song he'd be singing in this world. I don't think they were faking it. Again, almost a tear-inducing event.
    This, amidst the clamor and bustle of a busy restaurant. Go figure.

    Even the highly stylized, uniquely vibratoed, clipped-tongued trumpet playing sounded more and more natural to my ears as the night went on. During a break, I chatted with the trumpet player, whose eyes lit up when I mentioned Rafael Mendez. He was so pleased that someone seemed to know a bit about something dear to his musical tradition. "Rafael! -- Mexican! Very VERY good trumpet!" he said with obvious pride.

    Anyway, a question for you: Next time I go, where would you recommend a musician go to hang out? Any music stores that cater to professionals, with scores, charts, brass quintet music from local composers/arrangers? Any specialized music stores with trumpets & mpcs to try, mutes and so on? Also, is there any special city that has noteworthy music or art that the average tourist is not likely to discover on his own?

    Btw, one of the most fantastic drives I've ever driven was Route 52 from Ponce back to San Juan. Stunning scenery!

    Other notes:

    Gained 5 pounds!

    Came out ahead in BlackJack!

    Can't wait to return!

    Stay well,

    --Venturion
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2007
  2. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

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    Sep 29, 2004
    USA
    It make sme happy to know you had such a great time.

    I'm, however, the worst person to ask about such things because when I go it's not as a tourist. Rather, I escape to the hills to see my family and don't do the urban thing, looking for music.

    Quinones 2000 is from Puerto Rico and may have a better take. He has lived there al his life and would be a better source of what's happening. Look for his name under our memebr list and drop him a PM and I'm sure he'll be happy to let you know what he knows.

    ML
     
  3. KJaeger

    KJaeger Pianissimo User

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    Oct 27, 2004
    Colorado Springs, CO
    Manny:
    Where on the island is your family from? Earlier in my career I spent a lot of time in Puerto Rico for business (we had a manufacturing plant there), often 1 or 2 weeks at a time several times a year. I always enjoyed myself and loved to spend time down there with the wonderful people, and made some great friends - most of the time in and near Mayaguez and Aguadilla. A very magical place...
     
  4. Venturion

    Venturion New Friend

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    Aug 24, 2005
    New Jersey, USA
    Thanks Manny. I just sent him a message.

    I figure, regardless of the genre (jazz, orchestral, latin, etc.), if there is trumpet involved, there'd be something to learn from serious practitioners. It's all good.

    -- V.
     
  5. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

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    Sep 29, 2004
    USA
    dear Kevin,

    My family is from a little town near Caguas called San Lorenzo. It's inland a bit and is the home of a AA ballclub that has been the island champions for many seasons but not recently. They are called "Los Samaritanos".

    ML
     
  6. KJaeger

    KJaeger Pianissimo User

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    Oct 27, 2004
    Colorado Springs, CO
    Manny:

    Cool! I know where Caguas is, though I spent most of my time on the west coast of the island. Our plant was in Mayaguez, and I either stayed there or in Aguadilla or Rincon. I made a lot of great friends down there and they made me sort of an "honorary Puerto Rican", LOL...
    I had to be there for a couple of weeks one time for a project and the plant manager found a tiny little house on the beach in Rincon for me to rent. It was not fancy by any means - not anywhere that the tourists go at least, mostly local people - but getting to see that sunset every day was perfect. I didn't want to leave.
    I did have to be very careful when I got home with my driving - the accepted rules of the road are a bit different down there :cool:
    One of these days I will definitely head back :-)
     

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