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Jazz Caliente: Joy and Drama - Dayramir Gonzalez's Grand Concourse

Pianist/Composer Dayramir Gonzalez
courtesy of the artist/
Pianist/Composer Dayramir Gonzalez

The effervescent Cuban pianist/composer/arranger Dayramir Gonzalez makes his Seattle debut on Wednesday July 25th at The Triple Door.  I'll introduce you to his latest album The Grand Concourse this week on Saturday Jazz Caliente.

Dayramir started on piano at age 8, encouraged by his father, trumpeter Fabian Gonzalez, and later mentored by Oscar Valdes, the percussionist and singer from the Cuban supergroup Irakere.  Dayramir's first album, 2007's Habana EnTRANCe, won three Cubadisco Awards (the Cuban version of the Grammy). 

Gonzalez was the first Cuban to receive the free-ride Presidential Scholarship Award from Berklee College of Music, which brought him to Boston in 2010.  His student career was full of accolades, and he won the Wayne Shorter Award for Most Outstanding Composer at the end of his graduating year.

The Grand Concourse is an ambitious, wide-ranging project that is full of joy and drama.  It's the result of the multi-cultural influences Gonzalez has experienced since coming to the US.  "It was a totally life-changing event which exposed me to all different types of music, culinary cultures, wonderful people from different countries," he explains in the liner notes. 

Guest artists like percussionist Pedrito Martinez, saxophonist Yosvany Terry, vocalist Nadia Washington, and the" target="_blank">String Bembe quartet add depth and richness to the recording.  But Dayramir is the standout talent: his multi-layered compositions, sweeping arrangements and exuberant performances at the piano make the entire album a delightful adventure.

Listen for "West Coast Exchange" from Dayramir Gonzalez's The Grand Concourse this week on Saturday Jazz Caliente, and see him live at the Triple Door in Seattle on Wednesday July 25th!

Jazz Caliente airs Saturdays at 5:00 p.m.  The show is hosted by Robin Lloyd and produced by KNKX Public Radio.

Originally from Detroit, Robin Lloyd has been presenting jazz, blues and Latin jazz on public radio for nearly 40 years. She's a member of the Jazz Education Network and the Jazz Journalists Association.