by Lauren Somers
An exciting brew of Latin jazz and Afro-Puerto Rican rhythms will take center stage at Montgomery County Community College as internationally known trombonist, composer and band leader Papo Vázquez performs with his orchestra, Mighty Pirates Troubadours, on Saturday, Nov. 22, at 8 p.m. in the Science Center Theater, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell. Tickets cost $30. Visit mc3.edu/livelyarts or call 215-641-6518 for more information and tickets.
Heralded by The New York Times for its “jolting energy,” the group’s sound has been described as “high-powered, Afro-Puerto Rican small-group jazz…building jazz harmony on top of bomba rhythms.” The orchestra is led by Vázquez, whose remarkable career spans more than three dozen years. The Grammy-nominated artist, who grew up in Puerto Rico and North Philadelphia, discovered his talent with the trombone as a child and was playing professionally in New York by the age of 17.
A co-founder of Jerry Gonzalez’s Fort Apache Band and of Puerto Rico’s popular Latin fusion band Batacumbele, Vázquez has traveled with Tito Puente’s Latin Jazz Ensemble as principal trombonist and toured Europe with the Ray Charles Orchestra and Dizzy Gillespie’s United Nations Orchestra.
He received composer commissions by Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra and was invited to direct the U.S. Marine Band in its first Afro-Caribbean jazz performance. His expert playing can be heard on several film soundtracks, including “The Mambo Kings” and Spike Lee’s “Mo’ Better Blues.”
This performance is just one of many in the College’s 2014-15 Lively Arts season. Upcoming performances include master guitarist Lionel Loueke on Jan. 24; Grammy-winning jazz-soul fusion artist Gregory Porter on Feb. 8; Thelonious Monk Competition winner Cécile McLorin Salvant on Feb. 21; Latin American folkloric and jazz musician Miguel Zenón on March 21; and legendary harmonica player Grégoire Maret on April 18.
The Lively Arts programs have connected the community for more than a quarter century. In addition to performances from internationally acclaimed artists, each season features a Young Arts Explorers series; student choral, jazz ensemble, guitar, dance and theater performances; the Presidential Symposium and Richard K. Bennett Distinguished Lectureship for Peace and Social Justice; and the Betzwood Film Festival. Most Lively Arts events are held at the College’s Central Campus in Blue Bell, with selected events held offsite or at the College’s West Campus in Pottstown. Tickets can be purchased individually or as part of a season subscription. Season subscription benefits include premium guaranteed seating and savings on regular ticket prices.
For more information, visit mc3.edu/livelyarts, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Box Office at 215-641-6518. Follow the College’s “Destination Arts” page on Facebook at facebook.com/DestinationArts.