"Their cadence is so sensual that it's virtually irresistible!"
-Enrique Fernandez, Miami Sun Sentinel
At the first note, you'll want to jump out of your seat. Orquesta La Moderna Tradición transports you to an era of sensual danzones and swinging cha-chasâthe music of the Havana social clubs of the 1950s. The only band of its type in the United States, the 12-piece ensemble captures the romance and style of a memorable era in Cuban dance music.
Violins and flutes weave lilting melodies against the backdrop of driving Afro-Cuban rhythms. The orchestra's repertoire ranges from traditional ballads to the latest salsa and timba grooves with surprising twists: you should hear their spin on the old church tune 'Golden Slippers' As one critic put it: "Imagine a blend of Tito Puente and a tango, and you'll begin to get an idea of the power and beauty of this music."
The Orquesta's equally diverse personnel have honed their talents in the worlds of jazz, salsa, flamenco and classical music. They include:
Orquesta La Moderna Tradición has performed at some of the most prestigious festivals and venues in the United States, including Lincoln Centerâs Midsummer Night Swing, San Francisco Jazz Festival, and the Smithsonian Institution - their tours have taken them from Alaska to El Paso and abroad. Their two recordings, 'Danzonemos' and 'Goza Conmigo,' which illustrate the breadth of their talent.
Tregar Otton (Violin, Musical Director/Manager, Composer, Arranger), born in the Marshall Islands and raised in Corpus Christi, Texas. Otton began his classical music training at the age of four. At 16 he was the youngest member to join the Berkeley Symphony under Maestro Kent Nagano. At the age of 15 he composed a Symphonic Suite performed by the Oakland Youth Symphony, with Kent Nagano conducting.
Tregar has been a part of the Bay Area Latin music scene for the last 15 years, working primarily with Orq. La Moderna Tradición, Los Cenzontles, and Potaje. While living in New York, he played as a regular member of Virgilo Martí y sus Majaderos â other members of this group included Cuban greats Chocolate Armenteros and Patato Valdéz, as well as Joe Santiago. While in New York, he also worked closely with Juan Carlos Formel, and worked with the legendary New York Charanga groups Orquesta Broadway and La Típica Novel. He founded Orquesta La Moderna Tradición with Roberto Borrell.
Michael Spiro (Tumbadoras (Congas)), is an internationally recognized percussionist, recording artist, and educator, known specifically for his work in the Latin music field. He has performed on hundreds of records, co-produced several instructional videos for Warner Bros. Publications (featuring such renowned artists as David Garibaldi, Changuito, Giovanni Hidalgo, and Ignacio Berroa), and produced seminal recordings in the Latin music genre, including Orquesta Batachanga, Grupo Bata-Ketu, and Grupo Ilu-Aña.
Spiro's formal education includes a Bachelor's Degree with Honors in Latin American Studies from the University of California, and three and a half years of graduate work in ethnomusicology at the University of Washington. His practical education consists of a seven year apprenticeship with Francisco Aguabella, and extensive study throughout Latin America. He has studied annually in Cuba since 1984 with musicians such as Jose Luis Quintana ("Changuito"), Esteban Vega Bacallao ("Cha-Cha"), Daniel Diaz and Juan âClaroâ Blanco of Orquesta Ritmo Oriental, Regino Jimenez, Los Muñequitos de Matanzas, and Grupo Afro-Cuba de Matanzas. In addition, in 1986 he spent two months training at G.R.E.S. Portela, the famous Escola de Samba in Rio de Janeiro.
As an educator, Michael is extremely active. He has been a faculty member or artist in residence at the University of California at Berkeley, Stanford University, Mt. Holyoke, University of Massachusetts, University of Missouri, BYU, Smith College, Wichita State University, Banff Center of the Arts, California State University at San Diego, University of North Carolina, Winthrop College in South Carolina and The Cornish Institute of the Arts, and has conducted clinics and master classes at numerous universities throughout North America and Europe, as well as several national and statewide conventions of P.A.S. (The Percussive Arts Society) and the I.A.J.E. (International Association of Jazz Educators).
Mr. Spiro's recording and performing credits include such diverse artists as David Byrne, Dori Caymmi, Changuito, Richard Egues, Frank Emilio Flynn, Ella Fitzgerald, David Garibaldi, Gilberto Gil, Giovanni Hidalgo, Ray Holman, Toninho Horta, Bobby Hutcherson, Dr. John, Mark Levine, Machete Ensemble, Bobby McFerrin, Andy Narell, Ray Obiedo, Chico O'Farrill, Eddie Palmieri, Lazaro Ros, David Rudder, Carlos Santana, Grace Slick, Omar Sosa, Clark Terry, McCoy Tyner and Charlie Watts.
Carlos Caro (Pailas (Timbales)). Carlos M. Caro was born in Havana, Cuba in 1967. In 1983 he entered the Alejandro Garcia Caturla Conservatory in Havana. Later, he attended ENIA ( National School of Art Instructors). Upon graduation from ENIA, he began his professional musical career with the group Clave. Among the note-worthy musicians who played with him in Clave were âPulyâ Hernandez, the current lead singer of Dan Den, as well as the sons of the revered Cuban trombonist, Juan Pablo Torres. 1990 saw him begin a new stage in his career as the first bongocero for Opus 13, a band which eventually metamorphosed into Paulo y su Elite. During his two and a half year involvement with the band, he recorded two albums.
In late 1993, he emigrated to Mexico. Taking up residence in Mexico City, he played with groups such as 40 Grados, La Ley, La Rumbantela and various other Cuban ensembles. The crown jewel of his achievements in Mexico came when he was asked to record and perform a work in the Danzon style with the Mexico City Philharmonic. The work was performed at the Palace of Fine Arts in 1996, shortly before moving to the San Francisco area.
Carlos was recently voted the âBest Bongocero of All Timeâ by Timba.com. He has recently released a great new CD, "Vision Latina", produced by himself, Marco Diaz, and Saul Sierra.
Eduardo Herrera (lead vocalist) was raised on a diet of Afro-Cuban and Afro-Venezuelan music in Caracas, Venezuela. He sang music of camara/opera with The Venezuelan Chamber choir before moving to the Bay Area in 1985 to work with several ensembles including Charanson, QBA, La Moderna Tradicion, Benny Velarde's Super Combo, and La Internacional de Tito Garcia among others. Eduardo has also shared stages with Los Van Van, Larry Harlow, Fajardo, Yomo Toro, Afro Cuban All Stars, Bamboleo and many others.
Ramon Estevez a Cuban born sonero, started singing professionally at the age of 17 in San Francisco California with orquesta La Sonora Moderna. He moved to Miami, Florida and formed his own group, Conjunto Impacto. He recorded six LP's with Impacto, and backed up many famous singers like Celia Cruz, Ismael Miranda, Justo Betancourt, Hector Lavoe, Adalberto Santiago, Roberto Torres etc. Ramon was also used as a back up voice in many of their recordings.
During his time in Miami, he also had the opportunity to record an LP with Alfredito Valdez under the label Guajiro records.
Since his return to the Bay Area in 1985 he has been singing with many bands like Cesar's Latin band, Machete Ensemble, Los Kimbos 90 (which he formed with Orestes Vilato and Julius Melendez), Tito Garcia y su Orquesta, Orquesta Charanson, Julio Bravo, and at the present time he sings with Eric Rangel y su Orquesta America.
Jesus "Chus" Alonso (Flute), born in Zamora, Spain, performs flamenco music as well as Cuban music in Spain and the United States. He is founder and director of Potaje, a musical ensemble that crosses boundaries between flamenco and latin music.
Sage Baggott (Güiro, Bongó), from Berkeley, California, is a classically trained percussionist who actually chose trombone as his instrument in the 6th grade, but within a week discovered the error of his ways and switched to percussion. He plays a variety of styles, but concentrates on Afro-cuban and flamenco music.
Rachel Durling (Violin), started violin lessons in her native Berkeley before moving to New York to complete her training at Mannes College of Music. Since returning to the Bay Area in 1985, she has been a member of Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, Women's Philharmonic, the Hieroglyphics Ensemble, Bay Area Jazz Composers Orchestra, Charanga Tumbao y Cuerdas, San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, Teatro Bacchino, and the Baguette Quartette. This is her second year with Orquesta Moderna Tradición.
Don Gardner (Clarinet), born in Oakland, California, began his musical education with the clarinet and plays the flute and saxophone as well. He has great appreciation of jazz, blues, and latin music from various countries-especially from Cuba and Venezuela.
Robert Karty (Piano, Arranger), Bob has performed most of the top bands on the Bay Area salsa/Afro-Cuban scene. In addition to his work with La Moderna Tradición, he performs regularly with Candela, recorded the latest CD with Avance (with Santana percussionist Karl Perazzo) and has appeared with the Pete Escovedo Orchestra. He also performs and teaches jazz. He is on the faculty of The Jazz School in Berkeley, where he teaches a popular class in salsa/Afro-Cuban piano, as well as jazz piano and music theory.
Bob was born and raised in St. Louis, MO, where he began classical piano lessons at age 5 at the St. Louis Institute of Music. He holds a BA in Biology from Reed College.
Sandy Poindexter (Violin), from Oakland, California, has played violin since a very young age. She is a versatile musician who plays jazz and classical music as well as other genres. Sandy has toured the U.S. and abroad with John Handy playing concerts and festivals.
Steve Senft-Herrera (Bass), born in Sacramento, California, began his musical studies at age fourteen with the piano. Since changing to bass as his instrument, he has dedicated himself to the study and performance of Cuban music and jazz.
Official Website: http://www.yoshis.com
Added by Yoshis on October 12, 2009