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The W.E.S. Group Echoes of ancestral and native sounds can be heard in this collective of talented musicians, whose folk jazz and acoustic approach create a distinctive sound of peace and beauty. Exceptional musicians in their own right, the collaboration of these seasoned musicians exhibits the passion and spirit of a "great camp meeting in the promised land" of jazz.

W. E. S. (William E. Smith, Ph.D.) - Through studying, composing, teaching and living music, saxophonist/composer W.E.S. has sought to enrich the lives of others through sound. His family roots go deep into the history of jazz and the African-American experience. W.E.S.'s grandfather and great-uncle, owned a music publishing company in the 1920s and published music that was performed by the great King Oliver as well as Noble Sissle. Many musicians used to come by the family home on the south side of Chicago including Art Tatum. W.E.S.'s cousin Warren Smith Jr. played percussion with the Miles Davis, Gil Evans orchestra and many other notable performers. In the spirit of this legacy, W.E.S. himself has performed nationally and internationally with his group and with jazz greats such as James Moody, Donald Byrd, Kenny Burrell, Wynton Marsalis, and Jon Hendricks.

After leading a quartet under his own name (The Will Smith Quartet) for several years, W.E.S. decided to form a group with a different focus. He wanted the group to transcend the traditional classification of jazz from strictly art music, to music that has a world sensibility and is not only enjoyed but inspires the best in people. W.E.S. is currently an Assistant Professor of music and the Jazz Ensemble director at American University. He also gives lectures on jazz, hip hop and spirituality at the University of Maryland, University of Delaware, and Howard University.

Gerardo Rosales: I had been wanting to meet Mongo Santamaria personally for years and one night in 1993, I had the oportunity to see him play at a Jazz festival in Vitoria, Spain. On top of that, he was Tito Puente's guest of honour. I had my friend Mario Covela with me that day. After the concert finished we decided, like proper fans with camera in hand, to go and find Mongo. I was speechless when I saw him. He was quietly sitting behind the stage with a sympathetic smile on his face. I introduced myself to him and told him that I was so greatful for all he had taught me through his records. With the same smile he responded: "Gracias,muchacho! " ("Thanks,my friend!") That's when Mario said "Whiskeeeeeey!" and took the picture you see here.

It is a great honour for me to pay tribute to Mongo Santamaria, master of the 'tambor' whom I have admired since I was a little boy. Through his recordings he taught me love for music and percussion. It is because of his work that the conga drum has such an essential place in the music of today. I must admit to you that it hasn't been an easy task recording this much deserved tribute to Mongo Santamaria. Performing his music with the necesary understanding and respect is what matters most to me. So you are now holding in your hands this CD entitled "Mongomania" with which we want to pay homage to a man who has left us a musical legacy for all eternity. Mongo deserves to always be remembered. Thank you Mongo, wherever you are. Affectionately yours, your admiror Gerardo Rosales


Ivan Jansen Quartet : The Ivan Jansen Quartet is a contemporary jazz quartet under the experienced leadership of the renown jazz/classical guitarist Ivan Jansen. The quartet consists of seasoned jazz musicians: on trumpet Frank Granadillo; on bass Franky Janga; on drums Richard Holmond; on guitars, Ivan Jansen. The Quartet has been performing together for the past three years at the Divi Links Club House and in various jazz concerts.

All the members of the quartet have vast experience in jazz performance. Ivan Jansen is a graduate of Berklee College of Music and has four CD's to his name. He is a versatile multi-faceted guitar player, mastering a wide spectrum of guitar styles using the jazz guitar, rock guitar, acoustic guitar and guitar synthesizer. Ivan's broad classical guitar background has enriched his musical concept and expression.

After producing two magnificent classical solo guitar CD's (Con Alma I and Con Alma II), he produced "Versatility" a Caribbean jazz repertoire consisting of original compositions. Ivan's fourth CD ("Jazz at the Divi"), just in time for the Bonaire Jazz Festival 2007, is an acoustic jazz production consisting of timeless jazz standards, boleros, brazilian music, even pop jazz, all arranged tastefully by him and performed in an original and refreshing style by the Ivan Jansen Jazz Quartet.

Ivan has performed in international jazz festivals in Aruba, Curacao, Venezuela and as opening act for world renown groups such as Spyro Gyra, Tania Maria, Dave Sanborn, Carlos Santana. He has performed in Aruba with world famous jazz trumpetist Randy Brecker and has played with international jazz musicians such as Randal Corsen (piano), Reno Steba (bass), Lucas van Meerwijk (drums), Casper Blom (sax), Marten Verdonk (percussion), Maria Rivas (jazz singer), Victor Mestas (piano), Giovani Ramirez (bass).

As a classical musician, Ivan has performed various solo guitar concerts in Aruba, Curacao, Holland, and as a soloist with the Amsterdam Symphony Orchestra, and the Symphony of the Americas Orchestra. Visit his website www.ivanjansen.com.

Franklin Granadillo, the quartet's trumpetist, also a Berklee graduate, has performed in international jazz festivals in Aruba, Curacao and Bonaire. He played alongside Luis Perico Ortiz trading challenging solos on stage. He is an excellent improviser with a wonderful tone quality and one of the top arrangers in any style.

Franky Janga attended the Musicians Institute in California and has sat in with Scott Henderson and Joe Diorio. He played with different international jazz musicians in the Caribbean and toured in Europe. He performed in international jazz festivals in Aruba, Curacao, Bonaire and St. Lucia. He conducts workshops in the Caribbean.

Richard Holmond attended a drum clinic at the collective Drum school in Manhattan. He took private lessons in Havana with Enrique Pla, band member of IRAKERE, studying afro Cuban rhythms. He also participated in a drum clinic in Vancouver, Canada, with Greg Bissonnette. He has performed in international jazz festivals in Aruba, Curacao, Bonaire, Medellin, with different jazz groups.





Jean-Jacques Rojer was born in Groningen, Holland in 1976 and grew up in Curacao, off the coast of Venezuela. Jean-Jacques began playing guitar at age 9, and has been playing jazz and latin music since his mid-teens. After receiving his bachelor's degree in electronics, he moved to Holland to study at the prestigious Royal Conservatory in The Hague, graduating cum laude in 2003. He is currently living in Curacao, writing original music and performing with his own jazz trio. Michael Kanan, Izaline Calister, Fra Fra sound Gerardo Rosales and Pernell Saturnino are among the musicians he has worked with.

From a very early age he developed an interest in music and started taking lessons with various guitar teachers. In his late teens, after having played mostly rock music, he started studying jazz and Caribbean music which are still the main musical genres he explores today. After finishing his electrical engineering studies at the University of the Netherlands Antilles he attended the Royal Conservatory in the Hague, Holland, where he concluded his studies in 2003 with a 9, the highest mark given for jazz studies.

Besides the guitar he has also studied classical piano with his father and Cuban tres guitar with Israel Gonzalez, former member of Septeto Nacional Ignacio Pineiro. In Holland he studied jazz with a.o. Eef Albers and Frans Elsen.

He has had the privilege of working with a.o. Phillip Harper, Maruja, Izaline Callister, Michael Kanan, the Simon brothers, Roy Louis, Juchi Cordoba, Pernell Saturnino Gerardo Rosales and most local singers and popular bands. He has performed mostly on Curacao and Holland and a week tour in Guatemala with "Fra Fra Sound", a jazz group from Amsterdam

He currently resides in Curacao where he teaches at the local music academy and composes and performs with his own jazz trio.

In March 2007 Jean-Jacques performed in Carnegie Hall as part of Paquito d'Rivera' young artists concert


Performing for more than 20 years, Paoli Mejías has already distinguished himself as a young master percussionist and is ranked among the best in both salsa and Latin jazz. Paoli is now at the vanguard of Latin jazz as leader of his own Quintet, with two CDs as band leader: “Transcend” (2006) and “Mi Tambor” (2004) which received a Grammy Award nomination in 2005 for Best Latin Jazz Album. The excellent reviews of Paoli’s second release “Transcend” confirm Paoli’s innovative vision, global style and unique sound is capturing the attention of a diverse and growing fan base.

Born in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico on March 7, 1970, Paoli is a self-taught musician whose musicial education started by listening to LPs of "Patato" Valdés, Batacumbele and Irakere. The music of these masters inspired Paoli to purchase his first conga at the age of twelve, and from there he began imitating the rhythms he had been studying, playing along with the records. As an early teen he began participating in jam sessions in the streets and beaches of San Juan, and eventually performing along side many of his mentors. The talented José Ramírez, one of the best Batá players in Puerto Rico, is among Paoli's teachers with whom he studied Afro-Cuban percussion. Over time Paoli has developed a unique style combining technique, melodic rhythmic patterns and his physical strength.

As Sideman Paoli's professional career began in his teens, playing with Rafu Warner followed by freelancing with José Nogueras, Glenn Monroig and Charlie Sepúlveda. Paoli's resumé includes top jazz and salsa artists: Eddie Palmieri, Tito Puente, Seis del Solar, Dave Samuels, Dave Valentín, David Sánchez, Danilo Pérez, Chick Corea, Kip Hanrahan, Paquito D'Rivera, Hilton Ruiz, Marc Anthony, Luis Enrique, La India and many others. Paoli's discography includes more than 20 commercial recordings, among them Grammy nominated "Acuarela de Tambores" by Alex Acuña, and Grammy Award winner "Masterpiece" by Eddie Palmieri and Tito Puente. Paoli gained international recognition touring around the world as percussionist for the legendary Eddie Palmieri for more than a decade performing in the largest jazz festivals.

As Band Leader In 2004 Paoli launched his solo career with phenomenal success; his self-produced CD "Mi Tambor" was nominated for a Latin Grammy Award for BEST LATIN JAZZ ALBUM in 2005.


From the very start saxophonist Yuri Honing entered the jazz scene in the early nineties, he found new ways to move people with his slightly melancholic sound and crystal clear constructions he uses for his improvisations. He started playing a/o with his famous Yuri Honing Trio - which celebrates its 15 th anniversary in 2005 - but also with highly acclaimed Dutch artists such as pianist Michiel Borstlap, trumpet player Eric Vloeimans and saxophonist Benjamin Herman.

The year 1996 is a turning point in Honing's career when he and his trio recorded 'Star Tracks', consisting of jazz arrangements of pop songs. This release caused a momentum: national and international press praised him not only for his capabilities as a saxophone player, but he was also considered one of the new leading voices in jazz. And Honing's interests went beyond jazz and pop, while improvising freely with legendary pianist Misha Mengelberg (their duo CD 'Playing' was nominated for an Edison Jazz Award, the Dutch version of the Grammy) or even exploring new grounds with virtuoso musicians from the Middle East. With this last experiment, Honing made the music of the Arab world accessible and recorded it.

The CD 'Orient Express' received favourable reviews, reached unconventional sales figures and also was nominated for an Edison. American pianist Paul Bley was so impressed by what he heard, that he suggested Honing to do a quartet recording with bass player Gary Peacock and drummer Paul Motian. 'Seven' was released in 2001 at the North Sea Jazz Festival in The Hague, where Honing performed with Paul Bley and bassist Charlie Haden. Later that year the album was awarded with the Edison. In the same year, Honing recorded 'Memory Lane', a ballad album that shows Honing's lyrical side. For this project he invited some of the finest musicians from the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra to create a large ensemble with strings, wood and rhythm. In 2003 world famous guitarist Pat Metheny, Artist in Residence at the North Sea Jazz Festival, chose Honing to play with him and bassist Scott Colley, playing originals by Honing and Metheny. In 2005 Yuri Honing and guitarist Vince Mendoza joined hands for an exciting new project with the Metropole Orchestra. The CD release thereof is planned for Spring 2006. Next to that Honing focuses all his attention on his new electric quartet, called Yuri Honing Wired Paradise, consisting of his trio and featuring the famous German avant-garde guitarist Frank Möbus.

While touring in more than 40 countries around the world and making numerous records, Honing built a unique personal style which is based on jazz, pop music and non-western musical traditions. "Jazz is not a style but a language", is how Yuri Honing once described his music.



Oswin Chin Behilia belongs to that select group of singer/songwriters whose music combines memorable tunes with lyrics that reflect social and personal concerns. Mention his name to a fellow native of Curacao in the Netherlands Antilles and his face lights up with fond recognition. Both young and old consider his song Plegaria, for instance, as the folk alternative to the national anthem, while Sun is universally regarded as one of the classic love songs in Papiamentu, the creole language spoken on the islands of Curacao, Aruba and Bonaire located off the coast of Venezuela.

Born on 15 December 1938, this man of many talents has led an eventful life both in and out of the world of music and was he knighted by the Queen of the Netherlands for contributions in several fields to his native island as musician, broadcaster, politician, impresario and mentor to young talent.

Oswin Chin Behilia's first band Los Tiarucos was founded in 1963. It included Yeyo Calderon who can be heard here on backing vocals and percussion. Los Tiarucos performed in the sixties and seventies at hotel and festival engagements at home and in St. Martin, Miami, New York, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Brazil, the musical influences of which can be discerned in his compositions.

Oswin Chin Behilia's songs have been covered by a host of his native island's finest musicians, some of whom include the group Serenada, Konhunto San Jose now known as Arnell i su orkest as well as the rising young star Izaline Calister who has interpreted Sun? Bai and Plegaria in jazz settings with her compatriot, the pianist Randall Corsen.

The songs selected here were taken from three studio albums which Oswin Chin Behilia released independently on his native island, Troubadours of the World Singing Chin's Compositions, 1997, Afrikatumba, 1999 and Bunita/Mahos, 2000. Guesting on three tracks on lead acoustic guitar is Julian B. Coco, a musical giant of Curacao in his own right. Born in 1924 this composer, arranger, producer and multi-instrumentalist, has performed regularly on European radio and television.


The Freewinds Band
The Freewinds Band is a very special band. The experienced houseband of the ms "Freewinds" which visits every week the harbour of Bonaire is a historical jazz home for local musicians and top quality guests like Chick Corea and John Novello. The international guests they will present at our Festival are still a surprise but by experience we know it will be worthwhile listening Patrick Zagury, guitar and leader of the band will surprise us, we are sure.



Students Band Bonaire
It has become a good tradition to have a students band on our Festival. Coordinated by two professionals, Robbie Swinkels and Boy Janga, students of the local highschool SGB an the local Music School will show their early interpretations of jazz mixed with their musical influences from the island Bonaire.The band will be enforced by two professional brassmen: Franklin Granadillo on trumpet and Scott Katzev on saxophone.


The Happy Band
This band is already 10 years one of the most exciting bands on the island. Leader Elmar Nicholas will present his band with Scott Katzev from the USA and play local music with strong Latin Jazz influences. A swinging affair of Krioyo music mixed with jazzy elements


The Stingrays
The Stingrays, originally a local hard metal rock band will show his alter ego on our Festival: rhytm and blues! Together with guest tenorsax player Scott Katzev. The Stingrays: Douwe, Dick, Steve and Orlando will let know you what this almost forgotten corner of jazz means today.


Our special musical guests
Scott Katzev from the USA on tenorsaxophone
Boy Janga from Bonaire, percussion
Franklin Granadillo from Aruba on trumpet
Lida Anthony from Bonaire, vocals


Sound en Light: Loud and Clear Sound Curaçao

Tickets for sale at Plaza Resort, Kontiki, City Café, Bongos Beach, TCB , Bonaire Boekhandel and at the gates of the main concer.

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Persbericht 24 mei 2007

Bonaire Heineken Jazz Festival 2007: hoge kwaliteit en veel ambiance

Met een zeer gezellige beachparty bij Bongos met muziek van de Freewinds band werd afgelopen Zondag het derde Bonaire Heineken Jazz Festival afgesloten.
De organisatoren kunnen terugzien op een zeer geslaagd Festival waarin de kwaliteit van het gebodene opmerkelijk hoger was dan in de vorige jaren.
De sfeervolle opening bij Fort Oranje met Linda Anthony en Oswin Chin Behilia bij Fort Oranje werd door het publiek, waaronder veel eilanders, beloond met een grote opkomst.
Tijdens de hoofdconcerten die plaatsvonden op het met veel gezelligheid omgebouwde strand bij Plaza Resort stal de Bonaire Students Band de show met goed ingestudeeerde stukken , versterkt met muzikanten van verschillende bands uit het Festival.
Hoogtepunten van de concerten waren het optreden van het Trio Yuri Honing, de uit de V.S. afkomstige WES groep en de band van Paoli Mejias uit Puerto Rico die het publiek trakteerde op ongelofelijke staaltjes van percussie gevat in prachtige harmonien van piano en de altsaxophoon van Carlo Pons, een topprestatie!
Het bleef op alle dagen nog laat doorswingen op het eiland door de drukbezochte jam sessions bij Café Little Havana.
De Bonaire Jazz Foundation heeft een donatie bekend gemaakt aan de plaatselijke muziekschool, Skola di Musika, van 2000 gulden ter versterking van het instrumentenfonds. Deze gift is mogelijk gemaakt door een positief financieel resultaat van het Festival 2007 en het genereuze gebaar van de Freewinds Band en Linda Anthony om van hun performance fee af te zien.
Het Festival werd goed bezocht; opmerkelijk was de grote belangstelling van de buitenlandse pers en toeristen.
Het 4de Bonaire Heineken Jazz Festival vind plaats op 16,17 en 18 Mei in 2008.

       
       
   
 

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