Polo Ortí and Palo!, two top acts in the closing stages of the Festival Canarias Jazz & Más Heineken in Puerto de la Cruz

  • The pianist from Tenerife will present his new project on Saturday night together with the groups Powafunk and Tirando Onda (21.00 hours) 
  • The US band will close the Festival featuring his Afro-Cuban Funk on Sunday, sharing the night’s concert with ‘King’ Solomon Hicks

 

Puerto de la Cruz will experience an intense weekend of jazz with five concerts featuring different styles of the genre, but with jazz as the common link between them. The 26th edition of the Festival Canarias Jazz & Más Heineken closes in the northern municipality of the island with concerts staged over two sessions (Saturday 22 & Sunday 23), featuring local groups with fairly extensive musical trajectories, like the Polo Ortí Group (pianist from Tenerife, now resident in Valencia), Powafunk (led by the saxophonist from Gran Canaria Charlie Moreno, based in Barcelona) and Tirando Onda, a local band but with lots of Brazilean musical influences. This concert, under the heading of “D’Canarios” will take place on Saturday ((21.00 hours, public square – Plaza Europa). The stellar closing concert will be held on Sunday featuring two US groups, but with distinctive styles. On the one hand, the rhythm & blues of King Solomon Hicks, and on the other, the Afro-Cuban Funk of Palo! (Sunday, same time & place).

The presence of the Festival Internacional Canarias Jazz & Más Heineken in the ‘Ciudad Turística’ (Tourist City) features as a highlight event within the strategic framework of the ‘Entorno Cultural’ (Cultural Environment) of Puerto del Cruz, a status acquired by the fusion of culture- leisure activities and tourism as an invigorating source of this city in the north of Tenerife, ‘Festival Mueca’, ‘Phe Festival’ & ‘Festival Periplo’ also figure.

 

Saturday

Pianist & composer Polo Ortí studied at the Music Conservatories of the Canary Islands, Madrid & Valencia. He also graduated from the Berklee College of Music in Boston and received private tuition by his idol, musician Lyle Mays (Pat Metheny Group).

In addition to being a brilliant pianist, he was a teacher at the ‘Conservatorio de Música’ (Music Conservatory) in Santa Cruz de Tenerife for a period of seven years. Prior to that he taught at the ‘Escuela Creativa’ (Creative School) in Madrid and the ‘Taller de Musics’ (Music Workshop) in Barcelona, and has instructed & partaken in a number of courses, jazz seminars & master classes, both in Spain and abroad.

In the year 1990, Gary Burton included three musical compositions by Orti in his album Reunion, a disc which also featured musicians Pat Metheny, Mitchel Forman & Peter Erskine. These numbers attained top rating in the US Billboard Jazz chart.

His solo discography starts off with Improvisaciones (1993), followed by Polo (1997), produced by actor Gabino Diego and then Polo Ortí Group Live (2009). In his CD & DVD Suite de la Amistad (2007), he masterfully combined jazz and classical music with the participation of Gary Burton, Jorge Pardo and the Tenerife Symphony Orchestra, conducted by maestro Joan Albert Amargós. In November 2009, he went on a tour with a show called Estrejazz, featuring a luxury quintet that included as guest star, vibraphonist Gary Burton, as well as international musicians, such as drummer Antonio Sánchez, Scott Colley on contrabass and guitarrist Julian Lage.

In 2011, he launched his latest album, titled Boiling Earth with his band Polo Ortí Group. That same year he recorded another album together with Japanese singer & pianist Satomi Morimoto, titled Fuga Dos, which led to staging various concerts in the Canaries and a tour in Japan. In recent years Polo has performed numerous concerts nationally & internationally, leading his own band or collaborating with other musicians. He has been living in Valencia for the past eight years, where he teaches piano in the Master of Contemporary Performance department at the Berklee College Of Music.

The highly trained musicians with their individual extensive experience, forming the Polo Orti Group, will present a repertoire of their own compositions, which undoubtedly will be interpreted with personal vision & great dedication, fruit of many years immersed in the world of music. The band’s members are Polo Ortí (keyboards), Israel Sandoval (electric guitar), Víctor Merlo (electric bass) & Juanjo Ortí (drums).

Five years after the release of Subway to Venus, a disc that won an award in Spain as the Best Bassist Album of 2011 at the Festival Todobajos Bassday, Charlie Moreno presents Powafunk. During this time, the bassist has acutely balanced his work, touring with some leading artists on the Spanish scene whilst creating & establishing his own recording studio, ‘Blackbird Studios’. It was here where he developed the idea to offer a conceptual tour, which has to date accounted for his discography.

A change of direction or flow, to enjoy the different beats & branches of funk, a style that Moreno carries in his blood. Overflowing with energy & positivity, where the voices of singers Alex Delgado and Alba Pérez feature prominently. This work is influenced by the music of classic funk, but with traits of modernity & trendiness with a boldness & nerve that the artist has now got us accustomed to. As added value, the disc has been mastered by Alex Psadourakis at the Sterling Sound Studios of New York.

Without doubt, Powafunk is the most ambitious project undertaken by Charlie Moreno to date, with a band of six exceptional musicians playing a repertoire consisting mainly of original numbers plus a review of some hits typical of the style where Moreno had wanted to add his personal touch.

Funk, disco, soul, rock & jazz all feature in this work led by Canarian bassist, composer & producer of the band, Charlie Moreno. Powafunk is reminiscencent of Stevie Wonder, Prince, James Brown, Michael Jackson, Bootsy Collins, Parliament-Funkadelic and other great artists of this genre. Jeff Otto on drums, Roberto Albrecia (from Tenerife) on saxophone, Marc Quintillá on guitar and Leo Torres on trumpet are the other members of the band.

The band Tirando Onda, composed of Anna Paula (vocals & percussion), Gabriel Báez (guitar), Pablo Díaz (piano), Cristo Dorta (bass), Felipe Tejera (drums) & Carlos Pérez (percussion), bases its entire repertoire on Brazilean music, and its aim is to bring this rich & extensive traditional element to the public, encompassing all types of styles, which extend beyond just the samba or bossa nova. With a repertoire full of their own numbers, the rhythms touch on a variety of musical genres, thus creating a warm & magical ambience.

Formed about the middle of the year 2014, the group is centred around the figure of their vocalist, Anna Paula, Brazilean singer & percussionist but settled in the Canaries since 1993, who has managed to surround herself with the backing of a strong group of expert musicians, with extensive career experience on the regional circuit. The current band has performed over the last few years at different festivals, from the Ten Samba to the Jazz Festival of La Laguna, Tenerife, including the ‘Festival Hidrosfera de Punta Hidalgo’ and a good many local clubs & music establishments on the island.

At the moment, the group is engaged in the recording of their first disc, in which one can note the band’s attachment & leaning  towards the fiery & passionate rhythms of Brazilean music, but well encompassed by other melodies akin to funk & reggae.

 

Sunday

Palo! is a band that have created their own style of tropical music they call “Afro-Cuban Funk”, which is a mixture of a series of genres that range from salsa to jazzy improvisationes with a funky beat that captures the allure of root  Cuban music.

The group was formed in the year 2003, when producer/pianist Steve Roitstein (Celia Cruz, Willy Chirino, Tito Puente, Cheo Feliciano, Oscar d’ Leon) invited his fellow musicians to join him in an improvised musical experiment combining Cuban music with funky beats.

Palo! began piecing together & playing catchy original songs that were just made to order for the extraordinary sultry voice of Leslie Cartaya (nominated for a Latin Grammy). The scorching percussion and vocals of Philbert Armenteros (congas) and Raymer Olalde (timbales) punctuate the performances with the flavour & fire of traditional Cuban music.

Steve Roitstein was in charge of fusing these elements with a foundation of edgy, unforgettable rhythms akin to soul & funk. And to put the icing on the cake, the virtuosity of saxophonist Dr. Ed Calle, who featured in the band from 2003 till early 2017.

Since it took off, Palo! has become a featured act in Miami’s premiere live music venues, concerts, festivals and private events, and is their base of operations. Success of their many discs has taken the band on tour, performing to packed houses & festivals in major cities in the USA and Latin America, and more recently in Europe.

In June 2016, Palo! released their third album, Yo Quiero Guarachar, with a lead or advance single titled Al Monte, a catchy number that had more than 1.3 million visits on the Internet. In July 2016 the band went on a successful European tour, including París, Luxembourg, Belgium, Amsterdam and the prestigious Tempo Latino Festival in France, where they were named “Padrinos” of the Festival and Best New Artist, 2016.

In spite of his young age, ‘King’ Solomon Hicks is a recognised name in his own right, on the current international blues scene. At the age of thirteen, some saw him as the new B.B.King, George Benson or Wes Montgomery for his guitar skills and also for his special feeling & awareness when playing jazz. He began playing the guitar when he was only six years old and some of his friends in Harlem started to call him ‘King’ Solomon. He comes on tour to Europe presenting his latest disc, titled Carrying on the Torch of the Blues, in which he has the collaboration of saxophonist Jake Clemons (Bruce Springsteen’s E. Street Band), among others.

Jake Clemons took over the role of saxophonist in Bruce Springsteen’s E. Street Band from his late uncle, Clarence Clemons. The disc Carrying on the Torch of the Blues has many original songs written, arranged & composed by Solomon, as well as versions of other well-known tracks, such as the popular Homework by Otis Rush & The J.Geils Band.

An outstanding musician in the band touring with King is bassist & music producer Kirk Yano, winner of two Grammy awards for his participation in the recording of some of the best albums by Mariah Carey and also for his work with the legendary US rap-band Public Enemy. In keeping with this, there are about twenty Grammy nominations associated with different artists in which he has participated in his role as producer, engineer, sound-mixer and/or musician, and has also been inducted in the New York Blues Hall of Fame. To date, he has collaborated with artists as famous as they are different, from Plácido Domingo to Miles Davis, George Clynton & Funkadelic, Pat Martino and Soulive among others.

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