On March 25th Basin Street Records Releases|
Vol. 4: Vodou Dance
from LOS HOMBRES CALIENTES: IRVIN MAYFIELD & BILL SUMMERS
New CD is follow up to the group's Grammy nominated CD, Vol. 3: New Congo Square
" . . . they bring together every imaginable sort of Latin rhythm without losing the essential connection with New Orleans jazz." - Don Heckman, Los Angeles Times
"New Orleans plus Cuba plus funk, as played by Crescent City jazz musicians. How could it miss?" - Ben Ratliff, The New York Times
On March 25th, 2003 the visionary label, Basin Street Records, will release Vol. 4: Vodou Dance, the follow up CD to the Grammy nominated Vol. 3, from the New Orleans supergroup Los Hombres Calientes: Irvin Mayfield & Bill Summers. For the recording of Vol. 4: Vodou Dance Los Hombres continued and expanded their sojourns around the world, erasing musical borders and boundaries as they documented modern and ancient African and Afro-based music in Trinidad, Jamaica, Haiti, Cuba and the capital of the Caribbean, New Orleans. Trumpeter Irvin Mayfield and percussionist Bill Summers are joined on Vol. 4 by Victor Atkins on piano, Edwin Livingston on bass, Ricky Sebastian on drums, and special guests Cyril Neville, Horacio "El Negro" Hernandez, George Porter Jr., Bo Dollis, Davell Crawford, The LHC Horns - Steven Walker on trombone, Leon "Kid Chocolate" Brown on trumpet and Devin Philips on tenor saxophone, and many others.
Vol. 4: Vodou Dance is an epic that documents musical encounters that took place in Trinidad, Jamaica, Haiti, Cuba and New Orleans. Its uniqueness lies in the group's intentional impromptu collaborations with indigenous folk musicians. To make this journey, Los Hombres had to travel without a lot of fanfare or guidance. They had no itinerary and few, if any, prior formal arrangements with local musicians. Bill Summers, the elder statesman of the group, played the catalyst role at almost every turn, using his powers of persuasion to open doors for these recordings. In almost every case, the musicians joyously embraced Los Hombres' curiosity, genuine interest and virtuosity.
Upon arriving in Trinidad, Summers offered this strategy: "Let's go to a record store. I think I know of a steel pan group that we should hook up with." The group went to the nearest record store where they purchased a half a dozen CDs. "I think this 'Steel Pan Orchestra' is the group I was talking about." They were able to contact the group's leader and arrange a meeting. It wasn't long before they found themselves at the Steel Pan Compound several miles from downtown Port of Spain in which nearly one hundred steel pan drums were scattered. Although the two groups had never met, the language of musicianship took over. Professor Bill and the leader of the Orchestra arranged a recording session on the spot. Bill improvised and transformed the compound into a studio. A few hours later, forty or so steel pan musicians from Trinidad appeared, serious and ready to throw down. Irvin wrote the scores on a chalkboard and the result was "Trinidad Nocturne" (track 11).
The next leg of the trip, Port-au-Prince, Haiti, brought about a new twist: a massive language barrier.
Before arriving in Haiti, Bill was told briefly of a musician named Jean-Raymond. The African grapevine took over and Bill and Irvin were greeted at the airport in Port au Prince by two gentlemen, Sanba and Laoka. "Is there anywhere that we should not go?" Bill asked the concierge at The Hotel Montana. "Yes. Do not go to the areas without streetlights at night. You won't be safe." This was the first place Bill insisted they go. Sanba and Laoka escorted them to a small house located in a distressed part of town. Jean-Raymond emerged. "Professor Bill" immediately asked if the group could document authentic vodou drumming. As Summers puts it, "Jean-Raymond graciously allowed us to document this art form, which, for Haitians, is religious in nature." The house, which was without electricity, was wired within a few hours by a friend. Los Hombres documented the ceremonial drumming in pure form. The traditional ra ra songs provided in this album are also from that experience.
Los Hombres Calientes had recorded in Cuba before; however, this time the group reached beyond Havana to find its source material for Vol. 4. They traveled to Matanzas (a west central port city) and joined forces with master drummer Cha-cha Estaban Vega. They also recorded "Baila Oshun" with Obini Abericula, a group of women dancers, singers and drummers under the direction of Bill's godbrother Daniel Alfonso. Additional sessions were performed in Jamaica and New Orleans. In each place, the group found itself welcomed by their hosts as family and were able to continue their quest to document indigenous music of the world.
Percussionist and ethnomusicologist Bill Summers brings over four decades of experience to Los Hombres Calientes. He has traveled across hemispheres to perform and interact with other musicians. These journeys, coupled with his work with Herbie Hancock's Headhunters, Quincy Jones, Stevie Wonder, Kenny Loggins and his own funk band Summer's Heat, has made Bill's percussive range almost limitless. Summers is internationally recognized, in part for his work on the television series Roots (Emmy Award), The Wiz, and The Color Purple. He recently appeared in and was musical director for the Phoenix Theatre Circle's production of To Be A Drum, a one-act play based on the book by Evelyn Coleman (illustrated by Aminah Robinson). The play takes the audience on a Griot-guided journey of African American history. Bill Summers recently united with fellow Headhunters Paul Jackson and Mike Clark to record The Headhunters - Evolution Revolution (to be released on April 22 on Basin Street Records)
Through his astounding recordings, electrifying live performances and dedication as an educator, Irvin Mayfield has become a full-fledged member of the New Orleans trumpet elite and one of the most prolific musicians of his generation. In addition to Los Hombres Calientes, Mayfield leads The Irvin Mayfield Quintet and is artistic director of the newly formed New Orleans Jazz Orchestra. On January 21, 2003, Basin Street Records released Mayfield's third album for the label, Half Past Autumn Suite; a monumental recording that joins two generations and marks a rare and unique collaboration between a visual artist - ninety year old renaissance man Gordon Parks - and an aural artist - Irvin Mayfield. Mayfield has allotted a portion of his time to composing, performing his arrangements of Spirituals and original works with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra (2001 commission) and the Louisiana Philharmonic String Quartet.
Irvin Mayfield is the Executive Director and Artistic Director of the Institute of Jazz Culture at Dillard University in New Orleans, and the University's first Artist-in-Residence to the Department of Humanities and African World Studies. As Artist-in-Residence he helped develop "Rise Up Singing": Journeys in African-American Jazz Culture, a multi-media, multi-format showcase of live African-American jazz performance. Mayfield also teaches classical and jazz trumpet and has led workshops and master classes nationally and internationally. Irvin has recently been named Artistic Director of Arizona's Chandler Jazz Festival.
Soon after being signed to Basin Street Records in 1998, Los Hombres Calientes was showered with accolades from national press. The band's debut CD made the top 25 on Billboard Magazine's "Top Jazz Albums" chart, and in April 2000 the CD won the Billboard Latin Music Award for Contemporary Latin Jazz Album of the Year. The New Orleans Times-Picayune named Los Hombres Calientes' debut CD the top local release of 1998, and they won "Best New Contemporary Jazz Band" and "Best New Latin Band" in OffBeat Magazine's "Best of the Beat" music awards. Down Beat Magazine's Critics Poll named them Talent Deserving Wider Recognition in both the "Acoustic Jazz Group" and "Beyond Group" categories, and a New York Times article by Ben Ratliff cited Los Hombres Calientes as an example of how regional, indie-jazz projects can rejuvenate the jazz marketplace and included the band's second CD, Vol. 2, on his Best CDs of 2000 list in The New York Times. In addition to having the biggest selling record at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival for four years, recent accolades for Los Hombres Calientes include 2002 Grammy Nomination for "Best Latin Jazz Album" (Vol. 3 New Congo Square), an AFIM Indie Music Award Nominee, #1 Local CD of 2001 by New Orleans' Times Picayune, Gambit Weekly Big Easy Entertainment Award Nominee for Album of the Year and Offbeat Best of the Beat Winner for Best Latin Album. Look for Vol. 4: Vodou Dance in stores on March 25th!
LOS HOMBRES CALIENTES: IRVIN MAYFIELD & BILL SUMMERS
ON TOUR IN SUPPORT OF VOL. 4: VODOU DANCE
March 2 - The Florida Theater - Jacksonville, FL
March 21 & 22 - The Regatta Bar - Cambridge, MA
March 28 - House of Blues (CD rel party) - New Orleans, LA
April 5 & 6 - Blues Alley - Washington, DC
May 2 - New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
May 11 - The St Lucia Jazz Festival
November 8 - Green Mountain Chester, VT
* For updated and current tour date information click on www.basinstreetrecords.com.