The Gran Canaria Big Band celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. Active since the year 1997, this senior & respected Canarian ensemble was formed as a result of an initiative taken by a group of different musicians in the field of jazz in Gran Canaria, to get together and begin shaping a repertoire based on standard numbers and subsequently performing these at various concerts, both at festivals and music halls. A somewhat necessary ‘apprenticeship’ that led to their appearance at the “Festival Internacional de Jazz de Canarias” in the year 1999, sharing the stage with the excellent vocalist Carmen Lundy; a performance that had resounding success.
Following that experience, the band set out on a tour of the islands establishing their first important collaborations with artists, starting with singer Cornelius Lund on a television programme in Norway with a high viewers rating; and as a result, the Gran Canaria Big Band got to be known for the first time on an international level. Ever since then they have been in constant demand to appear & record on national & international television.
It’s worth noting the resounding success they have enjoyed at some of the recent editions of the Festival de Jazz de Canarias (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 & 2014) achieving a great reception with both the general public & press; and also high praise from Robben Ford as well as the great Rosa Pasos, with whom they shared the stage.
They also performed at Spañjazz, a Spanish jazz festival organised by the ‘Alfredo Kraus Auditorium Foundation’, together with the singer from Cataluña, Laura Simó at the ‘Auditori de Barcelona’ (Barcelona Auditorium) and at ‘La Noche en Blanco’ in Madrid. The Gran Canaria Big Band was the star attraction at the closing concert of the ‘I Festival de Jazz’ in Telde, in May 2007.
The band have released three albums on the market. The first, titled Gran Canaria Big Band (2007) is a tribute to the band’s progress & track record and to its loyal fans. It was presented in different Spanish cities, such as Barcelona (L´Auditori) and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (Cicca & the Auditorium in Teror). The second is a re-mastered version of the first but with some new numbers, titled Gran Canaria Big Band Straight Ahead (2011), released on the US label ‘Summit Records’. And the third is a live recording of the macro project, titled Gran Canaria Big Band reinterpreta a José Antonio Ramos, which captures the music of the late Canarian timple player in a Big Band arrangement & sound.
The latest shows performed by them were staged at the Pérez Galdós Theatre and their resident venue, the emblematic Cuyás Theatre, where they have been appearing since the year 2008. The band have shared the stage with guest artists of the calibre of Laura Simó, Beatriz Alonso, Carme Canela, Perico Sambeat, Bob Sands, Jamie Davis, Deborah Carter, Francisco Blanco Latino, Pedro Ruy Blas, Soledad Giménez, Thais Morell, David Pastor…
This year, on their 20th anniversary tour, they will perform at prominent festivals & music halls: Canaries Jazz Festival, Valencia Jazz Festival, Lanzarote, Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Madrid, Canarias Jazz Time, Cuyás Theatre, Alfredo Kraus Auditorium …
Gran Canaria Big Band Featuring Frank Greene, Chano Gil & Fasur Rodríguez
Trumpets: Juan Ramón Martín, Chano Gil, Pierre Dutot & José Vicente Araña
Trombones: Juan Bosco Arencibia, Obed García, Javier Navarro & Mario Quintana
Saxophones: Esteban Ponce, José Ángel Vera, Renato D ́Aiello, Claudio Marrero y Néstor Ramírez.
Drums: Javier Montero
Piano: Rayko León
Guitar: Yul Ballesteros
Contrabass: Carlos Meneses