Paoli Mejias, young master of the conga and Latin percussion, brings a welcome infusion of new blood to the Latin jazz tradition. Though he is steeped in that tradition, he doesn't follow the old ways by rote, instead pushing the music forward with his own imagination. We would direct you to www.cdbaby.com/cd/paolimejias to sample the familiar Tito Puente/Santana chestnut "Oye Como Va". Pardon our retro-hipster jargon, but what a gas! As is the whole of his self-released CD, "Mi Tambor".
Mejias has certainly paid his dues in building a strong foundation from which to chart new territory. Born in Puerto Rico, he was listening to and learning from Patato Valdes, Batacumbele and Irakere by age 12. His professional career began before he left his teens and his resume reads like a who's who: Tito Puente, Paquito D'Rivera, Dave Samuels, Dave Valentin, David Sanchez, Danilo Perez, Chick Corea and Marc Anthony. His most noteworthy long-term gig was his eight years with the legendary firebrand of Latin jazz, Eddie Palmieri. From the volatile Palmieri, Mejias learned the joys of spontaneity, experimentation and showmanship.
From his ground in the rich history of Afro/Cuban music, Mejias is creating a genuinely new sound. There is a fresh flexibility to his rhythmic approach, accented by surprising twists and turns, and the instrumental solos of his Quintet are exhilaratingly modern. Come hear the future of Latin music and welcome a new star to its firmament.
Appearing with Paoli Mejias tonight are Nestor Toro (alto sax), Yan Carlos Artime (piano), Aldemar Valentin (bass) and Antonio Escapa (drums).
For more information, visit www.paolimejias.com