domingo, 20 de noviembre de 2011
Aldemar Valentin Interview
A bassist born in Mayaguez, Aldemar Valentin is one of the many young and talented jazz musicians coming out of Puerto Rico.
What music did you listen when you were young?
The first music I liked was Rock but my father listened to Salsa music. So I was exposed to those two music stylesn that are really the same, Fania was basically a rock group.
When did you start studying music?
My family moved from Mayaguez to Ponce and I started studying at the Escuela Libre de Musica with Irving Cancel. An excellent musician and professor.
When I moved back to Mayaguez I kept on studying music and had the good luck of finding a good professor, Nestor Perez who gave me the chance to play with his group. His repertoire was jazz/fusion, things like Santana, Steely Dan, etc. I also had the opportunity to play with Nelson Perez who was playing more traditional jazz. He played in a project Heineken was doing back then called Heineken Feels the Nights. The concept was a house band with guest musicians on different pub around Puerto Rico. I remember that in Mayaguez I saw musicians like Giovanni Hidalgo and Dave Valentin.
I guess you already played in the Mayaguez Jazz Festival?
Yes, I played there a couple of years ago. That particular year was really good because they did it indoor in the Yaguez Theatre, that I think is a more appropiate venue for a serious genre like jazz music. The sound is better in places like that, plus jazz is music for close, intimate places.
What do you think about the jazz scene today?
There always has been jazz in Puerto Rico. What we are doing now, musicians like Fernando Mattina, Ivan Maraver, Hector Veneros and Furito Rios did it years ago but they did not have facebook, twitter to promote the activities. Mattina played in aplace called Cafe Matiz. Amuni Nacer was also playing back then. Jorge Laboy recorded jazz, Batacumbele also. Frank Ferrer did some amazing things. The problem here in Puerto Rico is that there is not a permanent venue for the exposure of jazz. Samuel Morales is trying that on the pub Abracadabra.
Who were your first influences?
Dave Valentin live at the blue note. Chick Corea y Yellowjackets. From Puerto Rico Angel David Matos, Sammy Morales, John Benitez.
How did you get into Berklee?
I did send a tape and the bass department gave me a partial scholarship, later a full one. I studied Jazz Performance there from 1995 until 2003. Then I studied the New England School of Music until 2006.
First album in 2008 recorded live in Arava in Santurce and the new one is Ficciones, that just came out in 2011
Even though you are young you already worked with some of the best musicians in PR?
Sure, Brenda Hopkins, Jorge Laboy, Angel David Matos. I also recorded with Miguel Zenon an album that never was published. Also recorded with pianist Danilo Perez the piece Panama Suite.