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Cuban jazz legend helps kick off 'KNKX Presents Northwest Music Mondays at Jazz Alley'

Cuban drummer Ignacio Berroa with SRJO, April 2019
Jim Levitt
Cuban drummer Ignacio Berroa with SRJO, April 2019

Drummer Ignacio Berroa was a guest artist with the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra last April, and he returns to join the SRJO Sextet for the inaugural concert of Northwest Music Mondays, presented by KNKX at Dimitriou's Jazz Alley on Jan. 27.

KNKX and Dimitriou's Jazz Alley are partnering to provide a regular monthly venue to showcase our region's top jazz musicians.  

On Jan. 27, Ignacio Berroa will be featured with the SRJO Sextet, with Michael Brockman (saxes), Milo Peterson (guitar), Jay Thomas (trumpet and sax), Randy Halberstadt (piano) and Phil Sparks (bass).

Berroa began his musical education with classical violin, but when he heard American jazz, he switched to drums. After studies at the National School of Arts and the renowned National Conservatory in Havana, Ignacio started his professional career in 1970. By 1975, he was Cuba's first-call drummer.

Relocating to New York in 1980, Berroa worked with one of Cuba's most famous bandleaders, Mario Bauza.  Bauza introduced him to jazz star Dizzy Gillespie, and that began a friendship and musical association that lasted until Gillespie's death in 1993. Ignacio's gone on to lead bands of his own, and he's collaborated with dozens of jazz masters in ensembles of all sizes. 

Berroa also is an engaging educator, presenting his "Afro-Cuban Jazz and Beyond" lecture and demonstration in clinics and master classes all over the world. He's produced an award-winning instructional video, "Mastering the Art of Afro-Cuban Drumming" and has published a number of essential practice books. I caught his presentation at the 2015 Jazz Education Network Conference, and I found it delightfully entertaining, as well as educational.","_id":"0000017a-8d22-d4f4-a97b-af2b72b50003","_type":"035d81d3-5be2-3ed2-bc8a-6da208e0d9e2"}">","_id":"0000017a-8d22-d4f4-a97b-af2b72b50001","_type":"035d81d3-5be2-3ed2-bc8a-6da208e0d9e2"}">","_id":"0000017a-8d22-d4f4-a97b-af2b72b50003","_type":"035d81d3-5be2-3ed2-bc8a-6da208e0d9e2"}">" class="ytp-share-panel-link ytp-no-contextmenu" href="","_id":"0000017a-8d22-d4f4-a97b-af2b72b50003","_type":"035d81d3-5be2-3ed2-bc8a-6da208e0d9e2"}">","_id":"0000017a-8d22-d4f4-a97b-af2b72b50001","_type":"035d81d3-5be2-3ed2-bc8a-6da208e0d9e2"}">","_id":"0000017a-8d22-d4f4-a97b-af2b72b50003","_type":"035d81d3-5be2-3ed2-bc8a-6da208e0d9e2"}">" style="display: inline !important; height: 28px; margin-top: 18px; text-overflow: ellipsis; font-size: 23.98px; letter-spacing: 1px; white-space: nowrap; overflow: hidden; outline: 0px; color: rgb(255, 255, 255); transition: color 0.1s cubic-bezier(0.4, 0, 1, 1) 0s; font-family: "YouTube Noto", Roboto, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; text-align: center; background-color: rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.8);" target="_blank">","_id":"0000017a-8d22-d4f4-a97b-af2b72b50003","_type":"035d81d3-5be2-3ed2-bc8a-6da208e0d9e2"}">","_id":"0000017a-8d22-d4f4-a97b-af2b72b50001","_type":"035d81d3-5be2-3ed2-bc8a-6da208e0d9e2"}">","_id":"0000017a-8d22-d4f4-a97b-af2b72b50003","_type":"035d81d3-5be2-3ed2-bc8a-6da208e0d9e2"}">

Listen for Ignacio Berroa's version of Los Tres Golpes this week on Saturday's Jazz Caliente, and join KNKX for Northwest Music Mondays at Jazz Alley!

Jazz Caliente airs Saturdays at 5 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.