The Gabriel Alegria Afro-Peruvian Sextet takes the stage for the first of a two night stand at Natalie’s that is certain to be memorable!
The ensemble’s insistently inventive program of traditional Afro-Peruvian music transformed by Gabriel Alegría’s highly personal synthesis of folkloric Afro-Peruvian rhythms, jazz, and other musical strains has led to a signature accomplishment: developing the band’s patented blend of deep scholarship and playfulness into a touring experience that conveys a vast knowledge of the music and, perhaps more importantly, transmits black music from coastal Perú as a way of life to its audiences.
Each member of the Sextet is not only a master musician but also a dedicated and experienced educator. During more than ten years on the road together, the mission of the band has incessantly been to spread the joy and love of Afro-Peruvian music around the world. The Afro-Peruvian Sextet has produced five CDs, one DVD and one vinyl record to date.
One of the most influential figures on the current jazz scene in Perú, Gabriel Alegria was born into an artistic family in Lima in 1970. Alegria’s grandfather Ciro was Peru’s most famous novelist and his father Alonso is Perú’s most acclaimed playwright. Freddy “Huevito” Lobatón, founding member of the band, is one of the most important masters and exponents of Afro-Peruvian percussion and a three-time national Peruvian zapateo dancing champion. Drummer Hugo Alcázar creates a type of drumming that superimposes polyrhythm and jazz swing feel naturally, all while seated on a cajón and incorporating those sounds into the drum set’s color pallette. These significant contributions are placed in the context of melodic jazz writing by Gabriel Alegría and Laura Andrea Leguía, also the band’s tenor saxophonist. The bass chair is currently occupied by 5-time Grammy award winner John Benitez and the “llanto” (crying) of the acoustic guitar by Peruvian criollo guitarist Yuri Juárez, himself winner of Latin Jazz Corner’s “guitar player of the year” award.