A performance to remember, the Riviera Maya Jazz Festival 2018 brings together a collection of the finest voices, musicians and performers here in Playa del Carmen, Mexico for three jazz fun-filled nights – November 30, December 1st and 2nd, playing to huge crowds from all ages. This festival has been going on since 2003 and is FREE.
The lineup this year included:
November 30th – Bebel Gilberto, Lori Williams & Bob Baldwin, Kike Pat, un Maya en el Jazz
December 1st – Norah Jones, Paca Rosas & PK BAND, Christina Morrison, Drew Tucker & The New Standard
December 2nd – Bobby McFerrin, Lalah Hathaway, Pepe Hernandez
If you are fortunate enough to be able to attend all three nights, then you are in for a musical delight.
For those of us (myself included), we couldn’t make all three nights, and this is what we missed.
With her solo debut release in 1986, Bebel Gilberto continues to wow her audiences worldwide. The Brazilian American singer/songwriter has won many Grammy awards. Her breakout album Tanto positions her as one of the top Brazilian artists in years leading the way for her other albums such as Abel Gilberto in 2004, Momento (Six Degrees 2007), All in One (Verve) which brought her a Grammy nomination, and Tudo, released in 2015. She also performed a live concert on the beaches of Rio in 2014.
LORI WILLIAMS & BOB BALDWIN
Williams hails from Washington DC and is a vocalist with show appearances in Western Europe, Austria, Russia, and Germany. Her latest disc is “Out of the Box” and is produced by Bob Baldwin.
Bob Baldwin is a New York Pianist/Arranger, has recorded on 5 continents, and is celebrating 30 years. ‘Abbey Road and the Beatles’ is Bob’s brand new disc featuring Lori on vocals.
Together they create ‘magic.’
KIKE PAT – UN MAYAN EN EL JAZZ (A Mayan in the Jazz)
In this performance Kike Pat, pianist and composer, will be playing with his Mexican band of 3 great musicians (born in the heart of the Mayan Riviera) and sharing the stage with a string section headed by Ukraine Sofia Lych; Jorge Brauet (Cuba) will be heading the section of metals.
Norah Jones, an American singer, songwriter, and pianist, has sold over 50 million records worldwide and is a 9-time Grammy winner. She made her debut in 2002 with “Come Away With Me.” Included amongst her solo albums are 2004 – Feels Like Home; 2007 – Not Too Late; 2009 – The Fall; and 2012 – Little Broken Hearts. Her album in 2016 – Day Breaks features her back at the piano. Her music is a blend of country, folk, rock, soul and jazz.
PACOS ROSAS AND PK BAND
This band is comprised of Paco Rosas who plays guitar, Ivan Barrera on Bass, Ricardo Erdos on drums, Tomas Krumm on the keyboard and Felix Betauncourt on the Saxophone. Their music embraces a mixture of Blues, Fok and Progressive Rock.
Hailing from Miami and currently residing in New York, Christina is an actress, singer/songwriter, and producer. Her accomplishments include graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts; a Founder and Executive-Director of El Socavon de Guapulo Thetre Foundation in Quito Ecuador; a double nominee for Best Vocal Jazz Album and Best Vocal Jazz Song for her second album ‘Baronesa.’
Part of the proceeds of her albums supports ‘Arteducarte’ which is an educational program through the arts in public schools in Isabela Island, Galapagos.
DREW TUCKER AND THE NEW STANDARD
This Florida-based group features the uncommon vibraphone (a percussion instrument with a double row of tuned metal bars, each above a tubular resonator which contains a motor-driven rotating vane, causing a vibrato effect), and the tuba as the instruments to capture their audiences. The vibraphone is an instrument that blends together soul, funk, jazz, and hip-hop. Drew is the incentive behind the development of the Arts Garage in Delray Beach, the Bailey and Ali Cultural Arts Center, and Old School Square.
Bill Muter is “the tuba player that can beatbox to any hip song” and plays in venues such as Tubavisionary. His book, “A Practical Approach: Brass Pedagogy Book” is a best seller.
Claude Louis is the Saxophonist in the group and will be releasing his first album in 2018. Some of his performances include FIU, Jacksonville Jazz, and Ground UP. Using music as a means of education, he is the coordinator of the Miami Music Project, empowering children in the Little Haiti area of Miami.
Rounding out the group is drummer Marcus Grant, who hails from West Chester Pennsylvania and now living in Miami. He has shared the stage with Nicole Henry, Nestor Torres, and Shelly Berg.
This ten-time Grammy winner icon has been entertaining for years. His style is between pop music and fine art and he plays barefoot in some of the best concert halls around the world. You probably know Bobby from his Cappella hit “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.” What you may not know is that he grew up with music – his dad was a Metropolitan Opera Baritone (Robert McFerrin) and was the singing voice for Sydney Poitier in Porgy and Bess; mom was a soprano soloist and voice teacher.
As a child, he learned the clarinet and the piano at age 14 which was the start of his pianist career. Doing his own ‘thing,’ Bobby has improvised on national television, sang songs without words, and impulsively invented parts for 60,000 choral singers in a stadium in Germany.
His latest album “spirityouall” is bluesy and embraces his rock, folk and blues influences.